What do you get if you mix Paddy from Emmerdale, Colin Firth and spotted dick, throw in a bit of Miley Cyrus, combine a group of dirty minded pensioners and add a prize of a year’s supply of baked beans? No, this isn’t the start of one of my world renowned hilarious jokes but a fair enough summary of Bradley Walsh’s new Sunday night show, Keep It In The Family.
With the terminally declining and infuriating mammoth-turned-baby-elephant contest that is The X Factor and the thoroughly enjoyable but sleepy Downton Abbey, ITV’s schedule needed something lively and exciting to chase off the impending Monday blues and Keep It In The Family does a good job of fitting the bill. Admittedly, I spent the first ten minutes of the show sitting with my mouth agape in horror and my brain plaguing me with the question: ‘What the hell are you feeding me with?’ There is simply no getting away from the undeniable fact that Keep it In The Family is a hamfest of epic proportions; but once you get your head around it and realise that it is supposed to be that way, you can go on to embrace the cheesiness of the show and really enjoy it.
Can you have too much glee? I don’t honestly know, but Glee seems to be a little short of glee right now and suffering from diabetes-threatening levels of sugar instead
Three story strands were woven through the episode: Rachel losing her voice through laryngitis, Kurt trying to win his dad back from Finn and Puck trying to get his popularity back after losing his mohawk (it was shaved off after his mother found a mole on his head while washing his hair).
Puck got all the best lines. Talking to Santana about losing his hair – “They maimed me over a freaking mole. I feel like that guy who lost all his hair, then lost all his power.” Santana: “Samson?” Puck : Agassi.”; working out that dating Mercedes could make him cool again: “Get ready black girl from Glee club whose name I can’t remember right now. The Puckster is about to make you his.”; When his initial bid to persuade Mercedes to date him is failing: “I’m a sex shark. If I stop moving, I die.”
And having turned a bit Robbie Williams (confession reader, it might not be cool, but I do love the Robster), with a hat and a Sammy Davis Jr song, he wins Mercedes over. (Frankly, I like him a lot better without the dumb haircut – I’m hoping the writers find a reason to stop the damn thing growing back.) This puts Mercedes on a collision course with a possessive Santana and cues a passionate sing-off of The Boy is Mine and near-fisticuffs in the rehearsal room. Thankfully Mercedes dumps Puck – because she is too good for him – leaving the writers room to set him up with someone else next week.
You know you’re getting old when American Idol mentors start looking, like, rilly young. This week we had the rather strange sight of the wannabe-superstars being mentored by a 17 year old girl.
Say whut? The girl in this case being international superstar and tween phenomenon Miley Cyrus, there was a bit of sense to it. Though I did think that her best advice would be “Have a dad who is Billy Ray Cyrus.” Miley came across as a very nice girl, sweet and eager to help, and to be fair her insights were occasionally quite pertinent. But I don’t think her input will have altered the outcome for any of the contestants.
This week, as I love a baseball metaphor as well as the next person, Crystal Bowersox not only knocked it out of the park, she knocked it clear to Nevada. She sang ‘Me and Bobby McGee,’ and half of the song was just Crystal riffing away and getting carried along on the music and it was the first time in this season’s Idol that you could really see the crowd getting right behind a performance. Crystal is a little bit of a hippy. She plays her guitar, she loves her Janis Joplin, she performs on a little brown carpet. “The stage is so cold,” she explained, after inviting Ryan Seacrest to join her for a little sit down on her mat. “This just warms it up.” Yes it does.
Crystal and the dependable Michael Lynche aside, there were some woeful performances this week. Paige Miles staggered through ‘Against All Odds’ like melody was a new concept to her, and if she stays this week it will, indeed, be against all odds.*