Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Tilda, annoying? Whatever!

Cruisin' through the Christmas TV schedule and finding zip, I settled on a rundown of The Most Annoying People of 2008. These list shows are ideal for falling asleep to - I like to think of them as televisual Diazepam, if Diazepam added painful Jimmy Carr asides to its list of possible side-effects.

Anyway, I was shocked and appalled when they named Tilda Swinton - brilliant actress and all round impressive human - as one of these such people. What the hell? Now, if Swinton doesn't immediately spring to mind as one of the more irritating slebs out there - thats because you haven't really thought about it in detail yet. Clearly you must perservere past all the accolades that make her appear OK - great acting, vegetarian, stylish etc etc etc. You're forgetting one thing - and the thing that makes her annoying in the eyes of this completely crud TV show...SHE DOESN'T WEAR MAKE UP ON THE RED CARPET.

I believe one unknown commentator actually stated "Who does she think she is that she can turn up to the Oscars without any make-up on?" Er...she probably thinks she's Tilda Swinton - who doesn't bother trying to conform to the ridiculous Hollywood prototypes expected of actresses. She should be commended for that, not ridiculed. Jeez.
Incidentally, that programme has been on about 20 times since its Christmas premiere. Next year, instead of criticising women who dare to rebel against type, maybe the show's creator could nominate themself...or at least Jimmy Carr.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Blues Brother

After missing a turn on the board game of reality TV, Celebrity Big Brother is back - cue old fashioned horror film shock music "DA DA DAAAAAAH". Probably only because it's the only component of the tired franchise that people can be half bothered tuning into these days did the producers have the nerve to re-introduce it to an audience still recovering from the backlash of 2007's infamous "race row"/witch hunt/backlash. But there we are...and where to start?
Although I'm loathe to admit it, this year I am actually watching the show on a worryingly frequent basis. Not quite every night, but almost. Had I not made the somewhat overambitious resolution to lay off the nasties for a month, this might have been a different blog entry. As it is, I've had ample time to faux casually browse the channels once Masterchef has finished...and what do you know? Celebrity Big Brother is ALWAYS on.

CBB has always had a different appeal to its civilian sister. Our society's growing obsession with fame was always going to prefer the voyeuristic allure of a show designed to expose people we've already got an opinion on. To dismantle the ego and pretension of the contestants is what people want to see. This does happen to a certain extent.

Big Brother (in all its guises) has lost sight of its original manifesto, which was to observe the actions of normal human beings in a totalitarian environment. Not much comment is made on the behavioural trends that the show provokes in groups of people and this is the aspect that most fascinates me.

When Jade Goody, Jo O'Meara and Danielle Lloyd ganged up against Shilpa Shetty, the first thing that struck me was that it was unlike any altercation that ever occurs amongst the male participants. There's something about women's behaviour in an isolated group environment that shunts them back eons - or into the animal kingdom.

This year, we are faced with the same behaviour. Ulrika Johnsson - who 50% of Daily Mail readers claim they wouldn't trust to left alone with their husband (and the rest) - has found an unlikely sidekick in Tina Malone, who apparently has been in Brookside and Shameless. Its fascinating to watch the hierarchy of women develop in the house...and there always is one.

My take on this follows. I have named the tiers after the groups of women in my favourite book, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. If you substitute the commodities in the book (ability to bear children) for the one on offer in Big Brother (fame and glamour) these types seem to transfer quite well...she knows what she's doing, does Atwood!


La Toya Jackson - 52 year old pop royalty...therefore untouchable. Is also incredibly sweet- natured. Likes observing.


Ulrika Jonsson - presenter of TV. States that she is most famous for either a) shagging Sven or b) having 4 children by the same number of fathers. Lovely.

Tina Malone - apparently an actress, with OCD, but as far as I can tell the only thing she's obsessed about is talking about herself. I challenge anyone to show me a person with OCD who bites their own toenails off on national telly.


Mutya Buena - ex-Sugababe. Much quieter than expected. Early twenties.

Lucy Pinder - Right wing Page 3 girl with the most famous natural baps in the country...according to the daily star. Didn't cause too much of a stir. Twenties.

Michelle Heaton - ex-Liberty X pop singer. Mid twenties. Nicknamed by the press of late as "Cheatin' Heaton" due to reported indiscretions during her marriage, which was sold to OK and documented on ITV2. Emotional and intimidated. First to cry.

Like in the book (if you haven't read it, do so immediately) females tend to turn against each other in situations of pressure, as opposed to turning against the situation itself or the individual or body that put them there. That's a common reaction in any inferior group, be that in the racial, physical or sexual sense.

When Shilpa Shetty was victimised by Jade Goody and the gang, jealousy was a word bandied around as possible motive. Almost correct I think. More accurate a word is probably "competition". The line between cost and reward when appearing in a show like this is a thin one to tread, and for these individuals it is a case of "survival" - its the closest they'll ever get to defending their cubs from a predator anyway.

And the show encourages this behaviour. You may think the tasks set for housemates are unoriginal - but they fit a very clever prototype. They all involve splitting the larger group into packs of two or more, and one is always disadvantaged in some way. If the original idea was for there to be one autonomous being - that being Big Brother - and the rest an indistinguishable group of "proles", these sorts of tasks are the polar opposite of what the programme should be all about.
However, left to their own devices the group will almost always split anyway and the people who display this the most will always be women. Privileged by fame or not, the idea that women are more socially disadvantaged is still a prevalent one and whether the women in question realise it or not their behaviour will always reveal it.

Happy New Header!

Happy New Year to my as yet indecipherable number of readers - who I fear may have deserted me due to an unforeseen 2 month hiatus. Er...sorry about that.

However, much like Celebrity Big Brother, there's no getting rid of me, however offensive and unpopular. Anyway, along with abstaining from alcohol in Janvier and watching every single episode of Saturday Kitchen, blogging more is defintely a resolution for 2009 that I should be able to stick to.

So to start it with a bang...I've refurbished a little bit. Spot Offred in the very poorly designed header...I reckon a chimp could've done better. I have to admit I am still learning the ropes of blogging...forgive the sloppiness!