Friday, 13 November 2015

Another Superior-Sounding TV Review: The Great Pottery Throw Down

This review presages The End Times.

“Why did one straw brake the camel’s back?  Here’s the secret: the million other straws underneath it – it’s all mathematics.”
Mos Def, Mathematics

This review is reviewing something the reviewer hasn’t seen.  (Watching the thing would, once again, would make the superior tone of these things a bit harder to maintain, and would also make it harder to tease out a few hundred words about how a few shit TV programmes herald The End Times because the reviewer is generally disapproving of them.  One day there will be enough of these scathingly pompous and misanthropic pieces for a book, (like those by Charlie Brooker, or Jeremy Clarkson), which will be entitled Dispatches From The End Of The World, or The Slowly-Unfolding (And Entirely Deserved) Death Of Western Civilisation.

It would be comforting (for the reviewer, at least) to believe that the whole thing is a satirical comment on certain tabloid newspaper columnists with an agenda against a certain state broadcaster.  But it isn’t.  It really isn’t.  It really, really isn’t.  That’s probably the saddest thing of all.  Now sit back while this review waffles on about all this for a thousand bitter words.  Feel free to check out now and concentrate on something more useful/positive.)

At this stage, what with impending environmental catastrophe, we look like spoilt Victorian children, delighting at brightly-coloured toys and crying when our desserts don’t set properly, while an army rampages across the world, paid for with our taxes, subjugating every last inch of earth and every last person to the idea that what is important is the system that makes all this not just ok, not even desirable, but absolutely inevitable.  Natural, even.

So, in keeping with the hubristic bullshit of which our culture is full, competitive pottery is now A Thing.  And, of course, it’s on the telly.
So, that’s it: I’m done with television.  (Yes, the Reviewer is well aware of having said this before, and no, this probably isn’t as bad as Made In Chelsea In LA, or any of those X Factor shows where Simon Cowell lounges in a billion-dollar mansion with his seven quid haircut and blithely crushes young dreams, trying to conceal his erection.  But something about this….it just feels like the last straw.

It’s years since somebody worked out that since they don’t rely on the availability of miles and miles of costly film, TV makers can also save money on tiresome stuff like scripts, actors, new ideas and creativity.  So they just started filming hour after hour of people being themselves.  It must have seemed novel, even daring, to put “normal” people on telly.  Exciting, even.  Like the internet used to seem.  I remember those heady days, in fact.  And we let advertising and mediocrity spoil it, like they spoil every fucking thing else.
And suddenly, a mere couple of decades later, it’s all crass emotional manipulation, non-diegetic music and making people cry on camera.  (This review will sound like all the arseholes writing about how punk was ruined in the 1980s, or shouting at young people about how it used to be genuinely radical, a real challenge to power.)  
And now the whole fucking world is a soap opera, simultaneously mawkish and chirpy, like a badly-written play about Londoners in underground tunnels during The Blitz, but without the genuinely interesting story to inspire it.

I could cope with competitive cooking and baking, because I really like cooking and baking; even then, it was hard to watch a lot of the time, so I dipped in and out.  But, of course, then I wouldn’t be able to keep up with it.  And that’s just the point:  these programmes are soaps without the hilariously shit acting and awkwardly unnatural dialogue.  Well, almost without.

I’m not sure why competitive sewing wasn’t the final straw.  I really don’t know, except that each one of these things has been a little bit more shit than (and yet exactly the same as) the last.
Anyway, it turns out pottery is the last straw for me.  So I suppose I’ll miss televised competitive taxidermy, shoe sales or sheepdog trials (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA u shud write for Channel 4 mate amirite lol #taxfundedstatebroadcaster).  This review is well aware that one of those was a real TV programme years ago; but it was harmless and easy to ignore.  Now it seems like they are taunting the audience with the knowledge that they pay for all this nonsense, and that the papers and social media will be full of it for the next six weeks.

The male judge (this review has no idea what his name is, obviously, having not watched it) hasn’t let going bald spoil his quest for a wacky haircut.  His determination to look like a twat, despite his age and lack of hair is inspiring (HAHAHAHAHAHA what is he liiiiiiiike? Amirite? #lastdaysofrome)
The voiceover (brought to you by Sara “I’m just a normal Northern bird, me” Cox) uses words like “disaster” and “catastrophe”.  If I’d written it, the words frippery, trifle, bullshit and reprehensible would feature a lot more.

Christ, even the name…they’ve tried to be cool, to prove some kind of commercial point about how the BBC can appeal to young people, as if that were possible, or desirable in any way.  But they’ve made ‘throwdown’ two words.  Cunts. 
This programme is like a Geography teacher dancing at a 6th form disco. 

As if it matters, this week Nigel went home.  They were “soooo saaaad” to see him go, they “wish he could’ve stayed”, even though he obviously could, but, alas, “someone has to go”, to be marched up the mountain and sacrificed to the TV gods.  There’s a whole phalanx of new platitudes associated with these programmes, which are basically an ever-so-slightly more grown-up version of The X Factor.  Contestants go on “an amazing journey” before being slain on live television by a chirpy presenter with crocodile tears who is “so so sorry” – and yet stony-faced at grinding out another of these bowel movements –  to see them go. (but why nige tho? #sadface)

(Still, it was a wee bit less depressing than seeing thirty seconds of the Mock The Week twats bracing themselves to go through the motions again.  (They look like a works’ night out, desperately trying to act like they’re having a good time and can bear each others’ company.))

The competitive programmes wear their influence like a badge of honour, because they’ve “caught the public imagination” – a public who would apparently never have thought of sewing or baking or potting if it hadn’t been a televised competition first.  If we really needed a televised competition where somebody wells up because their cake falls to remind us that making cakes is possible, what would that say about us?

So, anyway, the world is ending and it’s entirely deserved and if Humans On Earth was an intergalactic Reality TV show (as in an episode of South Park), would anyone still be watching? 
Time, tide and shite TV wait for no one.  This reviewer will, just like everyone else, be moving on to something else, something more interesting, like counting the cracks in the pavements of Broadmead.  Or professional sport. 

So, to sum up my review of this programme, and this kind of programme: I don’t care for it at all.
There’s nothing surprising about any of this, obviously.
The real surprise would be somebody doing something well and not making a TV programme out of it.


  1. non-diegetic? pretentious fkin cnut!

  2. That's right, take it out on the baldies! Judging us as you attack the judges on the programmes you claim not to watch!

    Your sort make me want to snort Ed Milliband's faeces through a bendy straw and puke it into your face.

  3. "Watching the thing would, once again, would make the superior tone of these things a bit harder to maintain"

    Would that Mr. Blizzard (an otherwise genuinely talented writer) would refrain from constant reliance on the conditional tense.

    P.S. *monotonously
    P.P.S. "phalanx of platitudes" - f'realz?