I'm In Ur Teevee, Stealing Half An Hour Ov Ur Life

  • 8/07/2008 01:17:00 am
  • By Mark Gibbings-Jones

A couple of consequences of BrokenTV's (three frigging month old) PC deciding to go tits up. ONE. We've had to resort to using the ropey old laptop that we've just had back from the friend we'd borrowed it to. It's quite slow, it has a small screen, we've got to try and remember all of our internet passwords again, and the keyboard annoys us. TWO. We've been unable to bring you all of the marvellously insightful and inventive opinions we've had about television over the last seven days. And they've been really good ones, like we used to have about fifteen months ago, and not rubbish like what we've done since then.

But now we're back. And we've seen an episode of Tonightly, this years attempt at copying The Daily Show. And while The 11 O'Clock Show, Gash, Not Tonight With John Sargeant, News Knight, The Live Edition and What Is The Problem? With Anne Robinson might have failed, they've not tried shoving Jason Manford behind a desk until now. That's sure to make a half-arsed format work!

Now, there are a number of things we could be saying about Tonightly.

We could say that we think Manford gets a bit of a bad press - while he clearly tries to crowbar a lot of material from his stand-up act into his pretend ad-libs on 8 Out Of 10 Cats, he does come up with some genuinely amusing comments. He was quite entertaining on Would I Lie To You the other week, too. Sadly, he isn't at all suited to this kind of format. Adding suffixes of "-yeah?", "-right?" and "-eh?" to the end of every sodding sentence was a device ignored by noted satirists such as Swift, Cook, and (*tries to think of comically implausible third example of Great Satirist*) Bremner for a very good reason. It's annoying.

We could say that there was one gag that made us emit an audible chuckle - a throwaway comment about the number of TV shows being remade these days, such as Doctor Who, Minder, The Prisoner and... The Eleven O'clock Show. Sadly, this self-depreciating nod was roundly ignored by the audience, and the gag died on it's arse. Don't worry, the audience were soon exercising their chuckle-muscles a minute later, when the reason for this set up was played out. A sketch pretending that a fondly-remembered 1970s sitcom was to be updated for the 21st century. "Some Motherfuckers Do 'Ave 'Em". You can guess the rest, and just how many comedic barriers were shattered by it.

We could say that the makers of the programme weren't just content to ape The Daily Show. There were also several minutes wasted on getting The Tonight Show With Jay Leno wrong as well, with a look at some clippings from local newspapers. Clippings where marriage announcements resulted in some vaguely rude couplings of surnames. Never mind that the writers had needed to go back to local newspapers from the last century to fill a couple of minutes, with some of the wedding photos practically being in sepia FOR CHRIST'S SAKE THIS IS THE COUNTRY THAT USED TO BROADCAST YES MINISTER YOU FUCKING FUCKS. But, hey. 'Beaver-Wetter'. LULZOR.

We could wax lyrical about how many chances the Television Creatives actually need at making a "regular satirical swipe at the events of the day" before realising that without a popular and affable presenter capable of carrying less than great material, it's not worth bothering. As getting someone like, say, Frank Skinner, Sean Lock or David Mitchell to do something like this would cost a lot more than Channel Four would be willing to pay, it's not going to happen. The Creatives could at least move on to copying The Colbert Report instead. Why have millions of people ignoring Tonightly when they could just as well be ignoring "Michael McIntyre's The Daily Mail Show" instead?

So, yes. We could do doing all of those things. But instead, the thing we have elected to do is to fight fire with fire. Or more accurately, fight 'half-arsed tenth-rate news-based television humour' with 'half-arsed tenth-rate internet-meme based humour'. The fact that none of the pictures is funny actually makes for a laser-targetted strike against unfunny television comedy, actually. We can keep doing this until TV companies stop commissioning this rubbish, you know . Or at the very least, until they take the sensible option and just show Newstopia over here.

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