BBC America has graced us with an "exclusive" show that is on here before it is on in England (or at the same time) (or it ain't even on in England). The program is Chef Race. It has two magic words in it. "Chef" and "Race". How can a TV show with these two words in it fail?
Hard to say -- but they are doing their level best to test the question.
One character on it is Rebecca. Her infectious catchphrase that she says with conviction and undaunted regularity is this: "My name's Rebecca and I'm nineteen years old. There's so many people that fink I'm nineteen and I don't know what I'm doing."
They "fink" she is nineteen -- and they are apparently right.
She is nineteen.
Another character is Johnnie Mountain who you might remember disgraced himself so manfully on The Great British Menu. He has distinguished himself as a madman here already. He seems to be delicately balanced and yet he has thrown himself wholesale into this crass, crude scramble across the United States. I wonder why they don't call it "Authentic Meltdown of a Madman" instead. I wonder why they don't call it "Egg and Spoon Race Across This Fine Republic Of Ours Where The Egg Is a Man And His Head Is Going To Get Hard-Boiled and Cracked Quite Asunder." Suppose Mister MOUNTAIN aims to out-Gordon Gordon in this, the country where Gordon is on television almost constantly.
When Gordon is not on TV it is only because Top Gear or Doctor Who is on instead.
Doctor Who, or as I know it, What The Fuck?
I have known two men in my travels who actually wrote Doctor Who novels. Neither man impressed me with their, let us say, Goethe-like genius.
I must point out that I am not tediously following British reality shows from New York. I am not yet quite that pathetic. I saw Great British Menu while I was in England earlier this year.
(Incidentally read an online review of this show where the reviewer explained his sole reason for watching the show: "It's on after Eggheads and I watch Eggheads while I have tea. Dreadful admission I know." This says more about the British psyche than perhaps any single sentence yet written.)
Nevertheless there is a peculiar specimen of humanoid in the world that indeed does do this strange thing -- following foreign reality shows by tedious often illegal means. People watch TV shows from across the world (or indeed they don't even watch them, just "follow" and "like" them) and enter into heated discussions of those shows with pen-pals abroad in "chatroom threads".
I was looking online to see what the vox populi said about Gallery Girls one time and I was astonished to find, among the hundreds of vituperative statements calling for the destruction by hanging of the odious CHANTAL CHADWICK, people from Australia were pitching in saying "I haven't actually seen the show but I know the type and I hate them. We have them in the Bungle Bungles too." A mad world, my masters, when people take the time out of their day to pitch in on a television program they haven't even seen.
Similarly there are people from all over the world pitching in their "two penn'orth" on the minutiae of The Amazing Race -- and they live in the unsullied magnificence of rural England. Nevertheless they seem to love to be accepted in the worldwide community.
These people are unusual and unwell and should go far.
"Words With Friends" -- or as I know it, "Mind-Games Against My Enemies."
"Vicious, Conniving Machinations In Abject Opposition to My Foemen"
After the Paralympics ("The Paranormal Laff-A-Lympics") ("Paranoid Olympics"), what is to follow from the English, those champions of the challenged? The English have enjoyed expressing their benevolence as a nation and they don't want to let up now the "Games" are done with. Perhaps now can come a contest between middling and indifferent sportsmen and women. Perhaps I can humbly throw my hat in the ring and enter the Games.
I would like to play Olympic tennis please.
My tennis "game" is poor, even abhorrent, but I want to play Olympic tennis.
Can I please do it.
After this, what.
A sexual tournament in which unpleasant, unattractive men are allowed by the beneficent English public to get laid, with the beautiful women of their choice. The English after all love to be seen to cheer on those who have been shall we say compromised by the Fates who in their cruelty are said to be undaunted.
It's funny because it is said that I grew up in this country England and in my day I don't quite remember it being that way.
"Latest Annoying Trend"
I have noticed recently a worrying trend in etiquette. People are ostentatiously being thankful and humble by clasping their hands together as if in prayer and waving the praying hands up and down to denote gratitude, heads lowered the while.
I saw cheftestants on Top Chef Masters doing it a lot. Then when GUS FRENG from Breaking Bad was on the Emmys he did it and in an instant ruined a stellar career. (He has only compounded this loathsome gesture and this headlong decline by appearing in the risible new show Revolution). Designers are doing it on the catwalk ("A Comeback Jil Sander's Way," New York Times, 27 September 2012).
Reading it semiotically, it looks as if they are saying "Like me. Accept me in your inner heart as a benevolent person. Let me goe through the tabernacle of your Christianly inner sanctum as an one untrammeled. I love the Paralymoics [sic] and flashmobs and I am humble. Please 'like' and 'follow' me in all my banal misadventures."
This is a new generation for whom Facebook and Twitter are de rigeur -- my generation I regretfully suppose -- and for whom it is perfectly natural and not in the least bit pathetic to actually plead with strangers (or whole communities) to like them. People are concerned with being above all well-liked. They beg: "Like me. Be nice to me. Please don't hit me."
That will be the next thing you can do in social networking. Click a button that says "Please don't hurt me."
"Don't be mean to me."
"Honour my frailties and let me bide in my shortcomings on this day called the Feast of St. Crispian."
FOOLS THEY MAKE ME LIKE TO LAUGH. I for my part have four "followers" and I am quite confident that not one of those four is actually "following" a blessed thing I say.
A humiliating feature of the host site to this mess ("Blogger") is that it allows me to see the statistics of this weblog. That is, to gauge in ungentle figures just how well-liked I am. Vexing. Humiliating. How many people have looked at which entry. Demoralizing. I feel like the characters on Market Warriors: why don't the public (-- like the uncultured, cheap attendees at an auction in Columbus, Ohio --) appreciate the deserving squibs? Why do so many people read that one entry about Storage Wars which is read by the hundreds? Why are certain Dog the Bounty Hunter entries so popular when others are completely neglected? And why does that flip entry about Sleepy Eyes of Death fare so well?
I shall say nothing here of the poverty of the online criticism of chanbara jidai-geki.
Nobody has looked at the following entries -- or only one or two people, which is pathetic when you see that I ostensibly have a full four people "following" my feuilletons.
FINDINGS OF THE ACADEMY FOR THE ACADEMIC YEAR 2012-2013. The texts listed below are underrated and need reevaluation ("reinvigoration") by future scholars. Get 'em while you can because I might just remove them and ritually delete them in a childish purple snit:
"Mysterious Can" (2 September)
"Alain De Boton is Not James Franco" (2 September)
"Stay-At-Home Moms -- And Corpse Mutilation" (30 July)
"Samberg" (30 July)
"Twelve Against Thebes" (25 July)
"Knee Jerk" (15 August 2010).
"I Am Not Going to Share My Mac and Cheese With You."
"TV Show Review -- Including a Good Insult To One's Wife"
Wife and I were watching the new crop of shows, trying them out. This required Christianly good patience and right Christly tolerance hitherto unseen. But you see I went among ye as a penitent this day. I had been wrong before; I had written off Hell On Wheels prematurely after seeing one episode of the first season only to discover that the second season was a beaut. So as penance I was trying out the new shows Vegas and Revolution.
Vegas is silly and fatuous and poor but it's okay viewing. "I'd watch it if it was on after Eggheads." Vic Mackey is back, playing himself. (Who else can he play, after all? Hamlet?!) Vic is not convincing as an Italian-American gangster however, which is somewhat regrettable because that's what he is meant to be in this program. Almost as poor as -- well -- almost as poor as casting poor Steve Buscemi as a cut-throat gangster kingpin!
Revolution, meanwhile, is ill-conceived post-apocalyptic cobblers and simply can't be done. The actors are generic (Gus Freng excepted) and the story is cribbed from any number of Marvel or DC titles (Kamandi... Hex...) and from David Mamet's Wilson (id est, my own favourite fantasy: that the internet would crash and the power go out and never be regained.) If this show makes it to the end of the first season without its being pulled, then Pan-Am was Shakespearean must-watch teevee. I was watching it in misery with wife. I said "It's so bad it's revolutionary."
I was perversely insisting on seeing it through to its natural terminus.
Wife goes, "Come on, turn it off. It's an insult to your intelligence."
I shot back, "It's so bad it's an insult to your intelligence."