I wouldn’t want you to think I’m a slave to habit but I do get into routines, particularly when it comes to tv viewing. Take mornings. C and I get up around 6.30 – 7.00 and we spend the next hour or so (well I do) browsing online whilst watching C4. I love their morning scheduling of US comedies, even though I’ve watched them all before. It begins with a couple of episodes each of Will & Grace, then Everybody Loves Raymond and finally Frasier. We’re showered and off to work before the final episode but it’s a fun and harmless way to get me going and smiling in the morning (though not necessarily my favourite!).
The problem I suppose for the schedulers is that even though the titles ran for several series, running 2 or 3 programmes each morning soon churns through the available episodes. I don’t mind that every few months the programmes re-start from the opening episodes. But not everyone will agree. So what have C4 done? To eke out the scheduling they’ve only gone and introduced, between W&G and ELR, a couple of single episodes of two other series. The second is King of Queens, a comedy about a New York delivery driver and his sassy wife who have to share their home with her irascible dad. I’ve written about this programme in the past and I really enjoy it so thumbs up on this one C4.
However the second interloper is the most inane, puerile, non-funny sitcom it’s been my misfortune to witness, since Saved by the Bell. In fact it’s worse. Called ‘According to Jim’ it’s about this knucklehead bloke, played by Jim Belushi, who lives with his dopey wife and 3 kids somewhere in the ‘burbs. There are two other characters – a witless fat bonehead bloke and another woman who I think are brother and sister to his wife but I’m not sure. Knucklehead and bonehead appear to work together and occasionally play in an unlikely blues band with a bunch of even more wizened old men. Knucklehead Jim has all the comedy lines in the programme but they are written for him by someone who’s got to be emotionally aged no more than 12. Bonehead is the butt for all the humour. None of the characters can act or be funny beyond the level of slapstick. Every pay-off line is telegraphed 3 weeks in advance. It is truly, madly, deeply awful. Coming after W&G with its sharp arch gay humour it is like being asked to eat fish paste after Cromer crab. I can’t stand it and I find my personal schedule is now out of synch with both of us dashing for the shower whilst it’s on or switching over to watch Susannah Reid on ITV’s latest limp attempt at breakfast tv. I don’t like that either. It’s hopeless too but not quite as grim, and on balance I’d rather watch svelte Susannah than not-so-slim Jim even if we no longer get to see la Reid’s legs these days.
So thank you C4 for spoiling a perfect morning’s viewing. Sigh. The problem is compounded by the fact that mid-morning is a desert for interesting tv programmes. I like to have the box on as background noise when I’m writing. But even though I’m not focused on the programmes I do like to have something interesting on to stimulate the creative juices a bit. And in the past few weeks I’ve found myself watching repeats of Top Gear. Yes I know, I promised myself I’d not do this but I was intrigued to find out if my feelings about the presenters were justified. Was the programme actually engaging and the main guys more appealing back in the day?
I have to admit one thing; I don’t mind James May. But Richard Hammond seems to have always been a little prick and Clarkson is just a total tw*t. Sorry folks but I cannot find any other ways to express my feelings for them – well I can in Clarkson’s case but the word I was thinking of is OK in Scunthorpe but not in this parish. I’ve done a bit of research on the chaps. According to Stewart Lee, who was at school with the Hamster, he used to ingratiate himself rather creepily with the biggest bully as a safety mechanism from getting bullied himself. Clarkson on the other hand was always the rebellious naughtiest boy at his public school. Smoking and larking around and getting up to daft pranks. By all accounts he was a complete pain in the arse from a young age and got himself excluded, or whatever they call it in private education. So what’s changed? Hammond still sucks up to top geezer Clarkson and is happy to share the ritual bullying, prankstering and name-calling of the hapless James May, so enjoyed by jolly Jeremy. May’s a nice chap and an easy target and just right for Clarkson’s barbs. I cannot think of any other chap who has matured into manhood but failed to develop beyond the emotional age of a 14 year old quite like Clarkson. Every episode of TG that I’ve watched sees him ignore the rules, cheat, swear, make stupid comments, do silly pranks, and bully his way to win every race all in the cause of being the only centre of attention. Even the cars aren’t allowed to outshine him. It should be called Top Git because it’s all about him – the cars are a vehicle (see what I did there?) for his schoolboy humour. Who gets to open the show, interview the main guest, introduce the Stig, drive the fastest car, win the races, allow Hammond to climb up his anal cavity and close the show on a bombshell? Clarkson of course. The other guys pad out the show with their caravan conkers features and that’s about it.
What he must be like to live with is anybody’s guess. He’s always dicking around so it’s no wonder his wife gets papped out and about with other men. Imagine inviting him round for a neighbourly drink; he’d be criticising your choice of holidays in France, choice of car, choice of schools, even your choice of wife before he stepped over the threshold. How he doesn’t get lamped on a daily basis is a mystery to me.
I will say that I do admire his way with words and writing style even if I don’t share his often trenchant views on foreigners etc (I think a lot of that is for effect anyway – that ‘look at me’ syndrome again) and he does have two great jobs and an army of fans out there. He’s even Noel Edmond’s hero don’tcha know! They’re both about as likeable as anal warts (you may disagree of course) but that’s just according to my way of thinking.
ps Well I’ve just been watching the 10pm news having done this posting earlier this afternoon. Almost on queue the headline news is that Clarkson has been found, it is alleged, to have used the ‘n’ word on a TG feature filmed some time ago but which was never broadcast. He’s denying it of course though asking for forgiveness at the same time. Umm. I wonder if he’s capable of being truly offensive and insensitive? Maybe he’s just misunderstood. Yeh right. Do the decent thing Clarkson and resign immediately. That loose mouth of yours may be your undoing after all. Tw*t is too good a word for him.