Tag Archives: the Simpsons

From Corrie and Family Guy to The Chase and Christopher Jefferies: What Our Man has been watching this week

soaps-eastenders-4973-06While I have been nursing my throbbing, swollen, pus filled tonsils back to health during my annual Winter blogging hiatus, I have characteristically managed to keep up with what I normally would have written about, had the lovely germs from Jack Frost allowed me to do so.

Rather than spam the site with a ridiculous amount of articles at once, therefore, I am taking the concise and genius steps of merging my thoughts together in one post so that it’s easier for those of you who tend to skip my articles (I know who you are!).

From glittery costumes  and a very pregnant and non drugged up Kylie on The Chase to Homer Simpson beating up Peter Griffin, my viewing pains and pleasures have been as varied as the voices Emmerdale’s Belle Dingle is currently hearing. So let’s press on folks…the quicker I start, the quicker this will be over for all of us.  Continue reading

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The Simpsons: Krabappel of my eye

krabappel-simpsons-goodbye-660While there is much debate over the quality of this generation’s Simpsons episodes, fans of the show, both current and former, were united in their respect for much loved voice artist Marcia Wallace, who recently passed away.

Last week’s new Simpsons outing, an otherwise relatively bland affair involving another reprise by Kelsey Grammar as Sideshow Bob, officially laid Marcia’s beloved alter ego, Edna Krabappel, to rest, in a surprisingly apt and touching closing scene.

Mrs Krabappel has been a constant in The Simpsons since its  early conception and, over the years, the writers and Marcia managed to create a complex and layered character, riddled with flaws, but who was ultimately a warm hearted person. Edna was a sour, sarcastic and pessimistic teacher, who had lost her passion for her vocation long ago. But as we delved deeper into her barbed psyche, we discovered a lonely character, desperate for affection who, beneath her bitter exterior, showed lovely moments of genuinely caring for her students; even mortal nemesis Bart.   Continue reading

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Downton Abbey: soothing Sunday wallpaper telly

Hugh 'Mr Sausage' Bonneville

I was talking to my mum on the phone recently and she was extolling the virtues of Downton Abbey. She feels some sense of ownership, perhaps because she lives near Highclere Castle, where it’s filmed. Also she also somehow (she’s the owner of a failed Guide Dog, canine whispers may be the source) knew that the reason Hugh Bonneville’s retriever follows him around like a devoted, well, dog, I suppose, is that his pockets are stuffed with chipolatas. Or that’s his excuse for having sausages in his trouser pockets anyway. Can you imagine poking your hand in looking for a hanky? Eugh.

Anyhow, she says she tends to watch Downton Abbey twice because she often falls asleep and ‘misses bits’. My mum has been snoring through Sunday evening dramas as long as I can remember, and certainly decades before the invention of i-player. There she slumped, in front of the fire, missing scenes of huge emotional resonance in The Brothers, Poldark, and the Onedin Line. The Duchess of Duke Street too, but I think that was on Saturdays. And frankly, I’m dubious as to whether it really matters. I am really enjoying Downton Abbey too. I love Julian Fellowes, all the downstairs politics and intrigue, the upstairs machinations and dusky skinned Turkish Casanovas popping their clogs inexplicably (sort of) mid coitus. The costumes are fantastic too, and I particularly love the kitchen scenes, (and now I think of it, it would pep the format of MasterChef up no end if they went ‘period’ and set the Professionals a task where they have to produce a banquet using only those old fashioned devices that look like torture implements. I would do love the look on Jay Raynor’s face served a plateful of something nasty in aspic in a chrysanthemum mould).

But you know what? I’m not asleep, but I watch it half focussed. It doesn’t seem to matter. As with the Simpsons, other than dead walk-on priapic Turks, everyone largely remains the same at the end of the episode as they did as the beginning. The allure of a good Sunday night drama is exactly that. I don’t want to be mentally taxed or stressed. Monday will do that by itself. I need to be soothed by Dame Maggie Smith and Penelope Wilton sniping over who whether peasants (AKA the nice old chap from the village who creates the most divine roses) ought to be allowed to win the cup in the village Best Flower Competition on merit. And hurrah for that. It’s utterly brilliant.

Posted by Inkface

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Chain Reaction: and do-si-do your partner

I think it would be sensible to listen to these celebrity radio interviews in order, then the whole person-interviews-someone-who becomes-the interviewer-of-the-next person dance would slot neatly into place. I’m tuning in randomly using i-player from both radios 4 and 7 which means I’m getting in a pickle about who is doing what to whom, if you see what I mean. But a good pickle, I’m enjoying it even a little confused. Of course, many of these people are not accustomed to interviewing other people (not as easy as it looks, as Davina M discovered a while back) and the amount of prior knowledge they have of each other varies.

I like Lee Mack on Would I Lie To You? very much, but found him a bit too reverential as an interviewer of Ade Edmonson. Edmondson was lovely interviewing his old friend Ruby Wax – intimate and just rude enough, but warmly so.

Wax is an experienced interviewer of course, and when it came to her turn to interview someone, it transpired that she’d once dated him. It was Harry Shearer, the Simpsons chap and the prior intimacy spiced the exchange up, in a slightly unnerving sort of way (but that’s what Wax is always brilliant at anyway).

Today I listened to Shearer talking to Stephen ‘The Office’ Marchant (who didn’t ever seem to have lived or slept together) and it still worked very well. Both came across as being unassuming and down to earth, and had the ability to listen. Not always a skill the newby interviewers have. Neither is the knack of following where the conversation goes in a flowing way, instead of asking a series of pre-prepared questions as if you’re conducting a MORI poll.

But all in all, this is a very interesting series. You often get something different and unexpected coming out of the conversations, because no-one is ever too on their guard when interviewed, or too slick when interviewing.

Posted by Inkface

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Family Guy: 10 reasons to keep it on BBC

As the BBC plans cuts in its overseas imports, arialbold offers 10 reasons to keep Family Guy.

I’m tempted to say ”Stewie Griffin, Stewie Griffin, Stewie Griffin …” but that would be too easy.  Here’s my top 10 reasons.

1.    Stewie Griffin: an absurdist one-year old who speaks like a louche 35-year-old, is smarter than anyone in his home town of Quahog (bar Brian), dreams of world domination, a butch gay teddy bear Rupert and killing his mother, yet is simultaneously also a naive child – will this work as a character?  You betcha.

2.      Brian Griffin:  likewise, a talking dog with a drink problem, who has never got round to finishing his novel and lusts unrequitedly after Lois.  Treated both as a normal member of the family sitting down for coffee at breakfast, and yet against his better judgement barks at Hoovers and chases sticks. Plus a great singing voice. Which allows for number 3.

3.     Musical numbers:  when most shows flirt occasionally with musical numbers – I recall a great Scrubs episode where the whole thing was what Lloyd Webber would pretentiously call a singspiel – Family Guy uses these as a regular feature.  Highlight being a tap sequence with Gene Kelly, which acted as down-payment on a helicopter to get them to Denver.  (And set up the line after they crashed:  “think of the number we’ll have to do to get our deposit back”.)

4.      It’s not PC:  primarily embodied and enacted by Peter Griffin, this plays out jokes which make liberal sentiments turn flip-flops, simultaneously enjoying and being alienated by the humour.  “Is it OK to laugh at these jokes?”, you ask as you find yourself laughing at them.  There’s probably a good composite German word for this – “liberalenlachenschuld” or some such.

5.      It’s PC:  a regular show that features blacks, whites, asians, wheelchair users, mentally ill, old, young, vast range of sexual preferences,  etc.  Could you get more inclusive?   Happily it’s just a good excuse for being non-PC (see 4) Continue reading

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