Published on September 5th, 2012 | by TAY0
TAY’S TV Guide
I’m going to get the shittest one out of the way because it’s a little painful to write: Dom Joly’s new sketch show Fool Britannia (ITV1) is fucking dreadful. It has a shitty laugh track, shitty music for the segues and shitty, bland jokes in Dom’s narration. I’m genuinely upset! I’ve loved the rest of his stuff – this isn’t like him at all. It’s crystal clear that he’s tried to make a formula from other mainstream, successful shows and has turned out with an insipid unwatchable mess. Instead of this utter dross, look up ‘World Shut Your Mouth’ on YouTube. It’s criminally under watched and he deserved much more credit for it.
Bad Sugar (Channel 4) is just bizarre. Its American style melodrama made by an English comedy supergroup. Written by Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain of Peep Show fame, it stars Peter Serafinowicz (Look Around You), Julia Davis (Brasseye), Reece Shearsmith (The League of Gentlemen), Olivia Colman (Peep Show), Kayvan Novak (Phonejacker), David Bradley (Harry Potter) and Sharon Horgan (Monkey Dust). Which is a lot of people responsible for a lot of quality work. The plot is this: David is the elderly patriarch of a mining dynasty. His children (Peter, Julia and Olivia) are on tenterhooks waiting for him to die. Peter is gay but closeted and for some reason about to marry gold digger Sharon. Reece is the frustrated paraplegic husband of Julia. Olivia is the simple and oppressed younger sister who lives in the shadow of her brother’s death, which her other siblings imply she was the cause of.
In all honesty I was a bit delirious while I was watching this and frankly stupefied most of the way through. There’s some fantastic quirkiness and the whole thing is a really surreal; actually the programme which I think it’s most comparable to is Psychoville which was one of Shearsmith’s. This isn’t completely my cup of tea, but I’m going to re-watch it because I’m willing to be convinced that I missed something great. It’s absolutely worth catching it though, if only for the fact that you won’t have seen anything like this before.
Little makes me happier than when authority is challenged by compelling facts and juvenile mischief. Which is why my face was aching from the devilish smirk I had throughout the second episode of The Revolution Will Be Televised (BBC 3). Heydon Prowse and Jolyon Rubinstein go around tormenting government officials, activists and corporations for as long as they have the audacity: which is a long time. The character Dale Maily (wish I’d thought of that name) winds up the general public by ‘civilizing’ them and leaning on them with his blinkered beliefs. They’re really rude to the powerful who are unscrutinised by the general public, and their sketches are spliced with statistics about corporate and government profit ratios and wastage which are frankly shameful. Or at least they would be if our overlords had any shame.
In order to draw out some humanity from EDF energy, they quietly install their grannies in the lobby of the head office to ‘defrost’ them. It’s done with such peaceful and sincere vigour that security don’t manage to stop them (‘The slow blade penetrates the shield’ – Dune. Just kill me). Another of their protest skits is the Guantanamo games, which they hold outside of the front gates of the American embassy. It has events such as ‘inmate stacking’, ‘water-boarding’ and ‘who can throw the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the furthest’. I particularly like the way that they target the big boys who actually deserve this kind of flak rather than picking the low hanging fruit of the celebrity G list. Sure, it has its weaker moments. But those are equivalent to the high points of most of the other acclaimed programs on telly. This is only a glance at the many things they get up to and it’s witty, relevant stuff which I’m sure will only get better. They’ve created the program on a low budget and the BBC will have taken a risk in commissioning it, so watch this because it really deserves some support.