Something for the Weakened

Deadline Distraction

Monday, May 19th, 2008 by

Over the weekend I happened upon three ‘geek’ based entertainments for the first time. I don’t mean Doctor Who, Iron Man or the like, but programmes that actually focussed (supposedly) upon the lives of the ‘geek’, a demographic to which I find myself often associated and thereby find myself able to comment upon. All three were supposed to be comedies. You can probably guess which is the most important word in that previous sentence. Let’s see what I thought, shall we?

Channel Four have been showing US import The Big Bang Theory for a few months now. Having missed any previous episodes, the situation mystified me a little. Presumably they’re supposed to be in university, which for me begged the question of how old the one-what-went-out-with-Darlene-in-Roseanne was supposed to be. Come on, he was older than me during the nineties and I doubt that that’s changed much since. Am I now supposed to seriously believe that he’s suddenly in his early twenties, or is there some contrivance that he’s doing some absurd postgraduate studies that last him into his mid thirties? Maybe it’s set in the mid-nineties and I just didn’t notice. Seems doubtful. There was also no refernece as to how ‘obligitary hot girl’ ends up sharing a flat with the ‘geeks’. The situation itself was fairly obvious, though I found myself wondering how those early episodes forced that contrivance. I found myself wondering many things in fact, as the show itself didn’t really hold my attention and certainly didn’t elicit so much as a chuckle from me. Quoting Spock’s dying words from the Wrath of Kahn does not a joke make. Piss weak would be my personal assessment (and I’ve not been drinking over the past couple of days, so my piss is uncommonly weak).

The day after that I was mucking around with my On Demand facility, and noticed an episode of The Inbetweeners. I’d heard a little about the show and, with it being produced by and for E4, I was a little dubious. Much of the commentary on CAB (I am not Lala!) had been surprisingly positive, pointing to it being slightly more than another retread of the execorable Skins, so I decided to give it a whirl. To me it felt less like what I’ve seen of Skins (little, I’ll admit, but I was not amused) and a bit more like Grange Hill with added nob gags. Following, as it does, some of the ‘geekier’ members of the sixth form (is it still called that? or are they year twelvers? Christ but I’m out of touch with the youth of today . . .) of some anonymous middle class secondary school, I was surprised to see that it featured some actual jokes. Surely this must be a first for any show that E4 has ever produced. Anyone think of anymore? No? Me neither. It wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but there was definitely some potential there and, apart from the odd duff delivery, the three leads proved surprisingly competent for some so young. Give it a go, it’s not that bad.

The last bit of the weekend’s ‘geeking’ out occurred when I accidentally caught the tail end of the second part of Toby Hadoke’s Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf on BBC7. Speaking as someone who gets a bit starry eyed everytime the theme music starts and found himself uncotrollably weeping at the appearance of Bernard Cribbins (“Don’t you understand? He was the voice of my childhood! Plus he was in the TARDIS with Peter Cushing in Dr. Who & The Daleks and . . .” well, you get the idea) this autobiographical tale had a great deal of resonance with me. It dealt with the themes of obsessing over something that’s generally seen as being deeply unfashionable at large, that suddenly gains acceptance among the general public. This is something I’ve dealt with far less successfully with the greater acceptance of the ‘graphic novel’ (yecch) over the past few years, but which Hadoke handles far better than I. The scenes with his young son’s blossoming enjoyment of Who were remarkably touching and interspersed with resonant gags (for me at least) about not allowing him to touch his DVDs as he’d just alphabetised them. Should it be repeated again (it’s on 7, it will be and soon) I’ll try to catch both episodes.

Now I must try and finish that review I promised to finish by yesterday. I hate deadlines and will always endeavour to distract myself from them in anyway I can. Hence this ramble. Sorry Colin.

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