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Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

The Hour; or the BBC does Mad Men

Posted by idetest on August 5, 2011

Greetings Possums.

Well, it’s a warm day outside,  my landline won’t work so I can’t ring the tax department and demand money from them (a pastime I’ve grown to love), so instead of going out and getting a life I’ll stay inside and write to my non-existent readers on the internet.

Because they won’t judge me.

 

Today, we shall speak of the BBC’s latest attempt at pretending it’s not a vacuous, populist shadow of its once great self and can still churn out TV shows that don’t want to make your eyes vomit blood.

This show that they’ve made is The Hour; nineteen-fifties set period drama about the backstage drama of the first ever current affairs show on the aunty. It takes place with the Suez crisis as its backdrop and also seems to have a whole Cold War/espionage/secret spy murder story going on as well.

 

They are very pretty though. And at least they got the smoking in.

Its first episode, I’m sad to say, was crap. It was annoying, clichéd, had terrible music and presented its two leads (Romola Garai and painfully weedy Ben Whishaw) as little more than walking vox pops for the plot devices they were shoving down our throats. Did I mention the irritating incidental music?

It goes as thus: Spunky, posh bit of a crumpet Bel wants to be hard hitting journo but is bored to death in fuddy-duddy newsreels showing debutantes, so she and man boy Freddie decide to pitch a current affairs show that’ll have middle England gasping into its cocoa.

Unfortch. Freddie is a pleb and Bel has breasts so they aren’t good enough and need the help of slimy, mediocre but oh, so posh and connected Hector. Who, despite being married to a brain-dead trophy wife, spends a good thirty seconds trying to seduce Bel; before she drops her knickers and they make sweet nylon sheeted love all over her ugly nineteen-fifties Formica table.

Ugh.

Coupled with this is the actual plot of the Suez Crisis which it keeps on forgetting to include properly and the murder mystery thing. Which is so bland and so generic  a spy thriller that I can’t even remember it. Oh, wait; someone got thrown down a stairwell last episode.

 

Anyway, some thoughts about plot and the show in general;

1) It has Anna Chancellor, Romola Garai and Ben Whishaw. Three actors I love. Why is it not better? It could have been fabulous but they’ve obviously dumbed it down and focus grouped it out of any depth or originality.

2) Is Freddie supposed to be a virgin at nearly thirty? That’s the way they make him sound in the conversations.

3) Regarding the plot; was brain-dead wife’s hunky brother supposed to be the gay lover of the secretly-flaming actor/fiancé of the deceased debutante in the bathtub? Who knows?

4) That blond guy from Green Wing is ageing terribly.

5) I know it’s the BBC and so therefore has a budget of £2.70 and a bus fare but if they’re going to set something in nineteen-fifties London could we get a look at nineteen-fifties London, please?

6) Next time do better.

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Your Wintertime Nigel-No-Mates-Television-Extravaganza (Sponsored by Snow and Ice)

Posted by idetest on February 1, 2011

Hola bitches!

Yes, like the turning of a cheap soap opera hourglass the seasons keep a-turning and so I keep a-churning out these pieces of trash so as, you, my esteemed, probably socially awkward, overweight readers with little-to-no social life sitting in your bedrooms in Chlamydia, Georgia, can fully understand the brilliance of my views on television.

First off we go continental

The Killing (BBC4, Saturdays)It's the death of fashion too.

SCANDINAVIANS IN CHILLING, BLEAK, MINIMALIST SHOCKER! Yes apaprently the beeb has decided that it quite likes them there Scandie cop dramas and has bought us another one. This one comes from the flat as a pancake, Muslim a-bating land of Hamlet himself: Denmark.

Plot is thus: Sarah Lund, a tough as nails single mum who’s about to fuck off to Sweden with her nineties throwback teenage son to start a new life in a pine clad sauna with her Swedish boyf. gets us all coitus interruptus when a grisly murder of a teenaged girl is uncovered.

It’s all very stylish and bleak (Seriously! Does it rain every day in Copenhagen?) and the acting is brilliant – unlike that failed abortion of a police show (I actually despise the word ‘cop’. Anyone using it in my presence will find 50 points being taken from Gryffindor) Wallander.

Also it’s only one murder over the course of a twenty episode series. Holy hell, that’s almost realistic to the amount of murders that occur in your average major western city and the amount of time it would take the real life police to solve one. Props for that. Because a new serial killer every week is so 2006.

Also slightly annoyed that Denmark, which like New Zealand has approximately four people living in it can afford to make television where the cameraman can swing the machine around and take in whole rooms rather than the two metres of wall behind the actors they could afford to paint. It’s not fair. How come New Zealand always looks like a banana republic? I bet even fucking Iceland has bigger budgets for its TV shows.

Zen (BBC1, Sundays)

I'm hot, you're hot. Let's make Pasta!

The BBC seems to be liking its foreign bobbies atm, so has made a televisual adaptation of some books written by a Brit guy but following the life and times of an overly moral and righteous Roma police officer called Aurelio Zen. Cool name, Good actor, Bad Show.

Seriously, scenery porn about Rome and hot Italiano love interests will only get you so far. Eventually you have to drag your plot out of the cliché storm and actually give us something fresh. Particularly if you’re going to put this on in the wintertime whereas you put Sherlock on in Summer.

But alas three movie length episodes did not give us this. Instead we got such new and original ideas as SECRET VATICAN CONSPIRACIES (not to be taken seriously even without one of the guys from Coupling as the lead character in that subplot), AMORAL BILLIONAIRES GETTING DEADED IN LOCKED ROOM MYSTERY and my own personal favourite HIGH CLASS CALL GIRL/ROMANTIC INTEREST (Because cheap, STI riddled hookers don’t exits in TV. Every one is always a high-class hooker, dripping in diamonds and only servicing members of the government).

In short, looks pretty but short on substance. Very short. Nearly as short as an Italian man.

Being Human (BBC3, Sundays)

First off , I love this show. Or at least I did. I’m not so sure though now. me thinks it would have been better as one of those “One Series” type things. Or even as a movie. As a protracted story now entering its third season it’s starting to get a little bit, um…y’know. Rubbish.

Basically this the set up for new season: They’ve moved to Wales.

That is all.

So now we have to deal with them living in Barry, and every Tom, Dick and Nessa who was in that FUCKING AWFUL PILE OF SHIT Gavin and Stacey turning up as a minor character. Augh! Why does everything have to be set in fucking Wales? No one even lives there!

Also, am over Mitchell’s tortured soul. Not even Stacey Slater telling him he’s going to be killed by a werewolf will make me interested in his vampire antics anymore. Actually I’m not sure why I’m still watching this show as everything about it now annoys me…

Huh.

Glee (E4, Mondays)

It's like Heroin for the soul

And then there’s this. Oh, lor’ I think I’m gon’ die. also the new blond guy keeps taking his shirt off. Of this I approve whole heartedly.

That is all.

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A Selection of Audio Visual Treats For Your Entertainment

Posted by idetest on January 9, 2011

Hola, well welcome to 2011.

Yeah, it’s pretty shit.

Anyway, here’s some funny youtube clips to make up for it.

 

Because life is better with Chloe.

 

 

My beloved Downton Abbey is premiering in the USofA soon and this is the only way Americans will understand it.

 

In other news:

  • Sudan will become two countries. So twice the civil wars and genocide!
  • Thousands of birds are falling from the sky and fish dying in rivers in America. This proves Obama is a socialist apparently (Oh, and it’s the end of the world).
  • Glee comes back to UK television on Monday. And I’ll see you all in July.

 

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Best TV of 2010

Posted by idetest on December 29, 2010

Exactly what it says on the box kiddos

1. Downton Abbey. Yes despite the fact that it all went a bit skewiff as it went on and began to look more and more like every other British drama about posh people with lots of ‘funny’ moments where they played jaunty music in the background and everyone smirked (a la Mornach of the Glen. Yeesh. There’s a show no one should admit to ever watching. Even though him what wrote THIS starred in THAT. Ew.), it was still able to ram it home in a few ways.

Kudos for the gay character, who was an evil Machiavellian bastard and well done for getting Maggie Smith in period costume, which should be required for every TV show. However, less well done for being in general too nice: servants takin’ all sorts of liberties, class warfare played as ‘rich girl in impolite, cute male servant gets upset, rich girl apologises, they have steamy eye make outs.’ Yes, I’m sure in 1914 a good decade before the first set of miner’s strikes which was one of the first times the plight of the working class had ever been shown they were already well on their way to Blair’s dream of ‘everyone being middle class now’.

3.5/5

2. Misfits. Rude, crude, lewd, and all round wonderful. Misfits‘ second season doesn’t make sense if you think about why on earth it all happened; every time there’s a big plot development it’s all over at the end of the episode because of time travel. Like why the hell did future Simon come back? How did he come back? How did him and Alicia get together when they had to turn back time to save everyone therefore stopping her from telling him?

Whatevs, the main reason to watch it is the one lines and amazing chavvy brilliance (note; this is the only time the words ‘chav’ and ‘brilliance’ will be together in a sentence on this website. Unless the word ‘murder’ is in the middle.) complete with Lauren Socha (her what plays Kelly) put on a gangsta accent which makes her brilliant lines ever better.

4/5

2010 Christmas special

2.5/5

3. True Blood.

Sookie

Everyone thought Sookie's secret was she was telepathic. No one knew it was really that she was from Naenae.

Even though here in the UK we still are yet to get Series 3, because…because, well the British don’t trust anything that came out after 1954 and so therefore move at a glacial pace, I did however get to see series 2. So that’s what I’m judging on. Despite the fact that show has so many plots and characters and a fairly rigid formula of starting the next episode/series exactly where the last finished it does manage to pack a fair bit in. Even though at some points you’d just like them to slow it down and let us revel in it.

But whatevs, Maryann was a psycho hell-demon/Greek goddess thing. Awesome. Southern Religious Freaks got mocked and satirised. Awesome. Sookie…is from Lower Hutt. Ew. Eric the Swedish Viking Vampire. Awesome.

4/5

4. Sherlock. Now I must say even though this show was highly enjoyable I found myself unable to overlook many of its major faults – it’s just too British to really be as slick and cool as it wants to be. I’m not saying they need to have random explosions everywhere and bring in ‘zany’ characters but it just seems to be too big for its budget and the constraints of the BBC. As long as the budget has been ramped up for the second season and the denouement done slightly better I see no reason why I shan’t fall in love with it.BC

3.5/5

Snooki 5. All reality TV anywhere, anytime! Admit it, you love it. Whether it’s Snooki and her pouf, the real housewives of Nebraska having a cat fight and yelling out “Prostitution Whore!” at each other, or one of the British entries (Young, dumb and Living off Mum, The Only Way is Essex, Snog, Marry, Avoid) reality Tv constantly excels itself in its brilliance and originality. Long may it reign!

5/5

Honourable Mentions

Mongrels: A hilarious satire with puppets playing urban wildlife. I eagerly await Series 2.

Glee: Brilliant songs, witty one liners, terrible, terrible plots that scar the mind.

Upstairs Downstairs: It got good. Mostly because episode 2 gave us Jews and fascists.

Worst TV of 2010- where to start?

X Factor

Anything hosted by Vernon Kay

Two and a half Men

Strictly Come Dancing

Most evening fare on BBC1 (It’s a sad state of events when ITV1 is offering more drama than the beeb)

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Period Drama Fanboy

Posted by idetest on December 27, 2010

HOLY OUT OF WORK ACTORS GON’ GET A PAYCHEQUE BATMAN!

No, in all seriousness this will be a post about the new BBC remake of the 1970s classic Upstairs Downstairs.

Some thoughts.

  • It’s lost its comma, and is now just Upstairs Downstairs. Kind of like Kylie.
  • The kid who was the schizo emo (it’s okay, it’s not un-PC to call those mental freaks that) on Hollyoaks got a new job and is now a poor northern child with a dark secret. Big career move for him then.
  • Keeley Hawes got a job! She no longer has to try and flog Boots make up. The poor lass, she looked so miserable in those ads. and now look at her, she gets to wear hats and boss servants around! Is that a cool gig, or what?

I never watched the original, obviously; I was born a dozen years after it finished and unfortunately it did not remain in consideration for ‘television’s greatest masterpiece of all time’ like Brideshead Revisited or that one about the Indians (Indians Gone Wild? The name’ll come to me) so I can’t compare. But on reading some of the commentary about it one can say that it would have frustrated me.

It spanned thirty years yet no one aged or mentioned the fact that they’d never had a an ounce of character development over several decades. It’s that sort of thing which pisses me off about tv shows. That and token ethnic characters. But I digress.

This one however, lacks the original leftist bent that the two ladies what wrote it had originally intended and instead is portrayed as a glossy new drama full of Jane Austen moments of escapism from the drudgery of recession and snow blighted England circa 2011, dawn thereof.

The first epeisode…well, it was all a bit nice. The matriarch’s a bitch but she’s just old-fashioned and respects the servants, the wife is a bitch but she’s in over her head and feeling out of place-and probably (gasp) infertile and I’m sure by the end of the season her sister (her of the holey knickers. and not in the Catholic way) will have gone all political and banged and boffed the rather hunky blond chauffeur. Lucky cow.

Also what is it with hunky, blond politically aware chauffeurs? (cough theIrishoneinDowntownAbbeywhowastotallydoable cough)

Other than that, I can’t say I care a jot for the tweeny romance between aforementioned Schizo emo and the maid who is all crying and really overacts and does an incredibly annoying Cockney accent. Srsly. Bitch needs to sort that shit out.

I will of course wait patiently on the fence before I cast judgment though, it could be better than Downton Abbey, which drifted off course terribly towards the end of the season, it could be worse. But at the moment I’m just left thinking “Is there a point? Will they get to it soon? And why is everyone being so nice? Will someone say something CLASSIST?!”

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Winters Warmers and WhatFuckingEvers

Posted by idetest on December 2, 2010

Hola chicos, how you been?

Some points for contemplation

1) We have snow in London. If I could be bothered I’d put up photos. I cannot be however. Anyway, the fun part has now finished and now we are just at the ice, ice baby stage of not being able to walk on the pavement for a fortnight without doing some sort of crazed Benny Hill-esque comic act and ending up arse first on the ground. Sigh.

2) Listening to Alanis Morissette, as everyone should, the wonderful, crazed barefoot and pregnant woman she is – Canadian though, but acceptable. Like Dion, Celine  and Reynolds, Ryan- I noted in her song “Oughta Know” she says the line “Does she speak eloquently?” which as a child, when my parents bought me the 1995 Grammy Nominees cassette (‘member those?), I thought she said ‘Eloquenee’; some sort of strange, secret North American language not known by us in the Southern Hemisphere. It was several years before I discovered the actual word. We shall not mention the fact that I was seven and listening to songs that included lyrics about giving blowjobs in a movie theatre. Blame my parents. God knows I do.

3) Tonight I worked at the launch party for the BBC’s Winter Programming Schedule. It included Little Britain, Eastenders and Doctor Who. Ugh, I hate the poor.

Also I eavesdropped on their conversations. They were all talking about X-Factor. Make of that what you will.

4) How fabulous are the Wikileaks Us Embassy Cables? I’ve been reading them incessantly. They’s brill. If you haven’t read them I demand you go here and catch up on what Prince Andrew’s been doing in Central Asia, how the Chinese aren’t quite as insane as well all first thought and how Americans are actually slightly more astute than they are given credit for (except for that whole letting them get leaked thing).

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I wish I was Pretty and Thin.

Posted by idetest on October 11, 2010

Omg y’all I know lately that I’ve been showing you a lot of videos and we’ve been talking about TV (and not TV that is sacrosanct…a la soaps de la Jesus) but one of my fav. shows of all time the last few months is back on the television

Prepare yourself.

For Vampire Diaries.

*I just wet myself a little.*

Anyway, for those of you what don’t watch this televisual adaptation of the combined works of Pinter, Plath and Proust and are so therefore all “Que?” at my love of this show I shall explain the plot to you.

There is a girl. Her name is Elena Gilbert. She lives in a nice big house (What? It’s American. Americans don’t let the poor on TV) in a well to do little town somewhere in deepest, darkest Virigin-ia (Hah!). In real life she is played by Nina Dobrev who wins at everything in life because she’s a Hungarian BULGARIAN-Canadian who played a single ‘mom’ on Degrassi. Degrassi, people! O how I love thee.

Anyho, Elena’s ma and pa get deaded in a car accident and then a few months later after Elena is finished crying her skinny white girl ass down to a size -4 she goes back to school and encounters a HOT, studly, beautiful, HOT, manly, pectorially blessed young man named Stefan (say it like Bill from True Blood if it makes you feel better). Anyway turns out Stefan is actually a Civil War vet or something and him and his so-evil-but-so-damn-hot brother Damon, who must have not a complete conversation since puberty…why? Let me show you;

Him: Hi

Anyone human with a pulse: Hell- oh, wow!

Him: How are you?

AHWAP: DO ME! *jumps on him and tries to rape him*

Anyway, they all get in one big love triangle of angst. Damon is pretty. Everyone on this show is pretty. It’s on the CW so no surprises. But seriously they pretty much just raided a “these people are too good-looking to even be models. They just sort of drift ethereally around LA not eating” catalogue.

Even the High School History Teacher looks as such:

My high school teachers all wore clothes from K-mart and were over forty. I'm not bitter.

So, they move into town and are soon outed as vampires and go around killing people (which is pretty progressive for a show aimed at 11 year olds in Missouri). Also, Elena’s mop-haired younger brother is a druggie. And Elena and Stefan have sexuals after like two episodes. So this show deffo ain’t written by no damn Mormons.

Other things:

1) Nina Dobrev clearly had botox over season 1 and 2’s break. Her forehead has a vein running the length of it that could double as a new Berlin Wall if them commies ever get feisty again.

2) There is a black best friend. Lose points. Black best friend is not sassy at all and is very well spoken and bourgeois. Points gained. Black best friend is a witch…yes, an actual witch…which she gets from her ancestor who was a slave to a vampire back in the good ole days. Points…nuetral. BBF routinely goes “Listen hear vampy chaps, I gosh-darn do not approve and refuse to deal with your insufferableness except you are shagging me best mate so I gotta be nice to y’all. But I’ll be passive aggressive about it. And make bitchy one liners.” For actual originality in a teen show (What? You mean having a BF isn’t more important than the fact him and his bruvva kill half the town? FEMINISM OVERLOAD)  points a million.

3) Nina Debrov’s bff on Degrassi is Shanae Grimes from 90210. Aww, look who got the better show.*

4) Tyler, the hot jock who is Elena’s ex bf’s bff and the son of the werewolf (Guessing here) evil conspiring mayor is Latino. No biggy, except his family are supposed to have helped found the town back in the eighteen-something or others. No biggie – there were Latino people living there back then…right? Yes, well that would be fine except the actors playing his parents are obvously Whitey McWhite and  his wife Mrs Whiteonia Von Whiterson. I’m pretty sure this means one thing: In a later season we’ll find out Whiteonia was shagging the gardener Jesus, Desperate Housewives style. And the gardener was some new type of vampire what can breed and has a rare superpower where he can murder people with the beat. The beat and even some rhythm (Cos they’re Latino get it? And Latin people are really good dancers… Oh never mind.).

4) I feel fat and ugly watching this show.

5) Did I mention she has a stoner younger brother? Who shags around and is supposed to be 12? Yeah; I want their lives. And their houses. They all live in huge manors. Just to add to the realism.

*Obvs. on a heavy sliding scale of quality.

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Swoonalicious

Posted by idetest on October 4, 2010

Hola. Today, unfortunately I am going to show you more videos. Howevs, I know you will thank me in the long run.

This is a show called Downton Abbey and it’s by the guy what wrote Gosford Park.

While Gosford Park was a glossy, expertly honed and sharp as knives satirical swipe at the class system, Downton Abbey…is a tv show, with several more hours to fill. And it’s on ITV.

However, despite some sloppy moments, some soap opera moments (I like my costume dramas and my soaps separate thank you. Well, actually no I don’t but ITV has forgotten how to do them properly, so until they do…) the drama is still squarely on. True, the occasional moment of dumbed down filler in storyline appears. But you can ignore that, though the second episode has me worried that maybe the brilliant slick first episode has led me to be hooked on something a bit shit. Sigh.

Though consider this: Maggie Smith complaining about electricity and these new fangled things and then delivering bitchy put downs in an accent that could cut glass. TV bliss. But that is neither here nor there compared to the sub plot of THE GAY FOOTMAN. Yes, the gays have infiltrated mainstream bonnets and horses Sunday night suburban TV. And they’ve done it so well; the scheming, social-climbing gay footman was shagging the Duke of Madeupsomewheresville and then got his heart-broken and is now a bitter, chiselled jaw queen out for a bit of revenge on everyone. Also, next week in episode three he tries shagging another Duke except this one ain’t a mary and I think it ends badly. Still, two dukes? For a rural, Edwardian northerner he’s doing better than Prince Charles.

And between this and Sir Gwain turning up on Merlin on Saturday and spending half the episode with no shirt on I don’t think I could take much more excitement (In case you were wondering Gwain looked like this. Yeah.).

All this is a polite way of saying WATCH IT. WATCH IT NOW.

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Your Autumnal Nigel-no-mates TV watching extravaganza.

Posted by idetest on September 29, 2010

Hola chicos and the people who love them.

So it’s raining. And it took me two hours to get home from work today. And I’m wearing a polo neck in light grey. If I voted for the fascist party I could totes be Swedish. So all this leads me, in a thinly veiled attempt at segway, to what’s new, what’s hot and what’s just grand on the telly this time of year.

Spooks.

Omgz. Spooks. I love it so. It’s so ridiculous – remember the first season when such plots included a) a cat escaping while trying to wire someone’s house b) An old school friend seeing you on a bus when you were tailing a suspect c) using your spy powers to up your credit rating?

Now plots include a) heavily tattooed hunks with false identities reliving their four years in a Russian torture chamber and having affairs with homicidal American traitors who end up getting deaded by a sniper b) blowing up hotels with politcians in them to start a nuclear war between India and Pakistan.

Yeah. Still, on the upside: The new guy what plays Dimitri is lovely and needs to start taking his shirt off, also the guy what plays Lucas wearing v. tight jeans that the camera lingers over while he bends over. Which is a much better use of his talents than those silly Period dramas he used to star in.

Also- Harry and Ruth! THE ANGST. I seriously cannot believe this is this show’s 9th season. That said it is a British show so it’s still only in a single digit number of episode.

Merlin

I love Merlin. It reminds me of being eight when my family would watch Briscoe County Jr. together on a Saturday night (my father found it funny, my brother like the action and my mum fancied him. I was there for the sausage rolls she’d make. SAUSAGE ROLLS, PEOPLE!).

Basically it’s the same sort of thing; ramp up the plot to twenty but never, ever progress it. Every time something happens make sure it’s all back to the way it was at the beginning of the episode. Never, ever allow it to move forward. Cos that’s the quickest way to cancellation.

Also, Morgana is a HOT, EVIL, BITCH. And I love her. She perfected ‘turning to the camera and grinning evilly’ over the summer. Also did I mention she is hot? And Irish? And wears fabulous outfits and high heels (it’s like the 4th century AD. Who knew they even had shoes?) whilst doing her evilness.

ALSO – him what plays Arthur be fine. And the writers know this and he spends several scenes an episode without no shirt besmirching his fine manly chest. Damn straight. Also Lancelot be packing too, but in a greasy Spanish sort of way. But I’d still tap that. Also Merlin is tappable as well (you could just hold onto his ears).

This is England ’86

Haven’t actually watched this. Haven’t seen the movie what proceeded it either. Howevs. a cute boy at my work (tall, muscular, blonde, wearing skinny jeans and with those black rimmed glasses that are so in right now- basically picture Justin Timberlake in his “I’m in a move about facebook” get up he’s been wearing lately and then make him a 23-year-old middle class English guy. Yeah. That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout.) recommended it.

From what I can tell it’s got naturalistic acting (Ugh. A polite way of saying nauseatingly bad) and is set in the ’80s. Now God knows I love the ’80s: ‘Two Tribes go to War’ is my fav. song of all time. Right above Kesha’s ‘Tik Tok’ (I lie. It’s a Kelis song actually). But even I know the ’80s should only be relived with irony and bad outfits worn to student nights. Not in serious award-porn type television. Though as this about skinheads and the working class…and y’know the unwashed poor, maybe it could work. Ew. Poor people – why is that still allowed?

(Also, instert your own “This is Sparta!” joke here).

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I know everything. It’s why my hair’s so big.

Posted by idetest on August 10, 2010

In my very first post I told Joe McElderry (amongst many, many others) to come on out and join the party.

Toothy, but doable.

He did.

I know everything (btw Joe: YOU’RE WELCOME!)

Also. I’m coming for you Chace Crawford!

What would Blair say?

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