Monday, 8 September 2008

BrokenTV presents: Dream Adequate


BROKENTV is sitting at a desk leaning over a Rainbow Brite writing set, scribbling furiously on a glitter-flecked sheet of A5. Posters of Victor Lewis-Smith, Charlie Brooker, Clive James and Jim Shelley look down from the walls, and a Guardian Guide replica shirt can be seen in the foreground.

BrokenTV (voiceover): Dear Mr Lewis-Smith. We are writing this from the smallest television website in the world. The standard of writing about television on Blogger, where we are from, is not that high, and it has been well over a week since our last update, because we haven’t got any opinions about telly right now, as we haven’t really watched any of it. We can’t just put out another graph about football or embed a couple of YouTube videos, that’d just annoy everyone. Please could you fix it for us to be really good at writing about television just like you used to be, or at the very least merely adequate yet tremendously pretentious like Mark Lawson. Yours, hoping it will lead to an entertaining montage of some sort, BrokenTV.



Close-up shot of a gloved hand ringing BROKENTV’s doorbell. A tinny rendition of the theme from Soap can be heard from inside, and the blurry outline of BROKENTV can be seen approaching the door through the frosted glass. As the door opens, the view is shifted to reveal the visitors. It is VICTOR LEWIS-SMITH, CHARLIE BROOKER, CLIVE JAMES, NANCY BANKS-SMITH, JIM SHELLEY, tyro Brooker apprentice JON BLYTH, THE TV CREAM COLLECTIVE, The TRANSDIFFUSION MASSIVE, MARK LAWSON and somewhat implausibly defensive midfield lynchpin for Liverpool and Spain XABI ALONSO.

Victor Lewis-Smith: Hello. Nice to meet you, I’m Victor Lewis-Smith.

BrokenTV: OMFG etc!!! [Makes astonished face as if to signify this wasn’t all pre-planned by a marketing executive in charge of the account for a gigantic multinational corporation.]

Victor Lewis-Smith: I’m here to show you how to get your television commentary mojo back on track. And so is my team of experts in the field… [Gestures behind him as the camera sweeps along the line of experts in the field, who thanks to clever editing the viewer thinks are all standing in a line, and not as is actually the case a bunch of individuals unable to attend this shoot at the same time due to scheduling conflicts.

BrokenTV: [Maintains astonished expression, emitting only a barely audible squeak of excitement.]

Clive James: So, come on cobber! Let’s get out there!

BrokenTV: Squee!


Jim Shelley: Okay. We’ve brought you here, to a football pitch, in order to help you make acerbic comments about everyday moments in television programmes. Now I’ll admit that bringing you here was a bit daft, as there’s nowhere to plug in a television set, but it does help to highlight the series of commercials we’re desperately trying to satirise for any readers a bit slow on the uptake. And now that’s out of the way, we’d be better served by retiring to your lounge.

BrokenTV: Okay.


Jim Shelley: Better. Now, here’s a clip from Coronation Street where Emily Bishop is referring to how she has found a knitting pattern for some legwarmers. How would we refer to this? Remember, I’m trying to keep this at a level readers of the Daily Mirror will understand, so you can’t be too verbose!

BrokenTV: Erm, aren’t you undervaluing the intelligence of Daily Mirror readers a little? Even under the editorship of Piers frigging Morgan it was keen to eschew its status as just another red-top and make a return to the intelligent journalism of the…

Jim Shelley: Come on, I haven’t got all day!

BrokenTV: Oh. Okay, how about “Special award for subconsciously attempting the enfostering a sense of longing for day-glo keep-fit related 1980s…”

Jim Shelley: Bzzt! Wrong! No wonder you’re only on the internet. Babbling on like that is hardly going to leave any room for my excellent insights into how the contestants on Big Brother are a bit thick, is it? “Fashionista of the week” is what you were looking for. And if there’s room left over for droning on about how Michael Palin isn’t, as any right-minded person might think, a fantastically talented broadcaster with an impeccable pedigree in the fields of comedy with Monty Python, Ripping Yarns, Do Not Adjust Your Set, A Fish Called Wanda and many other examples, proper drama with GBH, and numerous documentaries, but rather an insufferably smug git, all the better.

BrokenTV: But that’s an utterly preposterous thing to claim. Not only was he arguably the best of the Pythons, he… [BROKENTV is punched in the face by JIM SHELLEY].

Jim Shelley: Bzzt! Who used to be Tapehead in the Guardian Giude? And who had an anthology of television columns published in paperback form? Me or you? ME OR YOU?

BrokenTV: [Staring at its feet] Well, you. But Michael Palin…

Jim Shelley: Yeah, me. So, shut up.


The whatever-the-collective-noun-of-television-commentators-is are scattered throughout the pub, partaking in a number of generic pub-type activities. The TV CREAM COLLECTIVE are playing table skittles against each other. NANCY BANKS-SMITH is trying to claim the one-shot-but-a-free-ball-after-a-foul rule applies against CLIVE JAMES at pool. CHARLIE BROOKER is telling JON BLYTH that going higher than a four is worth the risk in order to get that elusive ‘exchange feature’. XABI ALONSO is playing table football with the TRANSDIFFUSION MASSIVE. MARK LAWSON has taken BrokenTV to one side in order to dispense some avuncular advice.

Mark Lawson: Look here. It doesn’t hurt to get overly previous about utterly trivial broadcasts.

BrokenTV: Hey, we somehow spewed out the best part of a thousand words on a PlayStation3 advert. You don’t need to tell us.

Mark Lawson: Yes, all very ‘impressive’. But don’t forget, you don’t even have to be in the right when you’re writing about television. It’s only telly, after all!

BrokenTV: Again, fact checking is something we hardly ever bother with. That’s what the ‘comments’ field is for.

Mark Lawson: You say that, but have you recently tried to circumvent all possible logic by trying to claim the brand new Channel Four programme Wogan’s Perfect Recall is “remarkably, this is the first TV quiz show in which knowledge is optional”?

BrokenTV: Wow! But what about television quiz shows such as PokerFace, where being able to convince the other contestants that you merely knew the right answers might well bag you one million quid, or daytime ratings juggernaut Deal Or No Deal, where even a cursory comprehension of the rules of probability can help you take home a five-figure sum? Not to mention the several other recent gameshows that might fit the specification were we to conduct twenty minutes or so proper research?

Mark Lawson: Ha ha! Why bother with those when you’ve already written something which completely ignores the fact that they exist? You get paid the same amount either way!

BrokenTV: But we don’t get paid for what we do. With good reason, if we’re honest with ourselves.

Mark Lawson: Really? Good lord.


BrokenTV: Gosh! Thanks for all of your help, everyone! It’s a little bit disappointing that we only seem to have received advice from the people whose assistance we’ve been able to lazily mock, leaving the people we genuinely respect as little more than peripheral characters, but we suppose that’s the way it is. We’d have loved the chance to shoot the shit with Xabi Alonso.

Xabi Alonso: Granted, but we are not engaged in hypothetical scenarios. And sort out that links section. The whole 'share prices' joke didn't work at all, man. And the 'four letter abbreviation' thing only applies to shares listed on the Nasdaq, you big twonk. Repair those links now.

BrokenTV: Sigh.

Victor Lewis-Smith: Never mind that. We’ve given you three hours worth of on-camera training in the time we’ve been here. It’s time to make with the insight, blogmonkeys!

BrokenTV: You’re right. Here goes…

BROKENTV furrows its collective brow.

BrokenTV: The thing about modern television is….

Victor Lewis-Smith: Yes! Come on…!

BrokenTV: Is…. The BBC is… erm, putting a show called Britain's Really Disgusting Foods on BBC One is…

Victor Lewis-Smith: You can do it…!

BrokenTV: [Sighs] Hey everyone! Here’s an embedded YouTube clip where a topless Jim Rosenthal confronts a naked man in the shower and is subsequently called a twat…

The MASSED RANKS OF TELEVISION COMMENTATORS AND XABI ALONSO slap the palms of their hands into their brows as one in a collective display of mass exasperation. BROKENTV shrugs whilst displaying a comedic expression on its face as the curtain falls.

Pause for commercial break.

BROKENTV, wearing a post-performance dressing gown finally emerges from behind the curtain once the meagre smattering of audience applause finishes.

BrokenTV: One update a day for the rest of the week. We promise. You’ll see.

The safety curtain falls. There is no applause.

8 .:

elcondor said...

Evidently I've missed out on whatever's being parodied here but I see the point. As did Rosenthal

(Sorry, that was pitiful, I apologise)

Mark X said...

It's based on this - - and other adverts from the same campaign. This must a bit like how, if you're watching a [Genre] Movie film, and you haven't seen any of the movies being lampooned, it just comes across as being a piss-poor excuse for lazy reference comedy. When, if you have seen the films in question, it still comes across as a piss-poor (etc.)


elcondor said...

Ah, I see.

BTW, the 'pitiful' reference was directed more at myself for the godawful 'point/todger' line which implies too much exposure to Birds of a Feather, rather than your missive.

elcondor said...

Ah, I see.

BTW, the 'pitiful' reference was directed more at myself for the godawful 'point/todger' line which implies too much exposure to Birds of a Feather, rather than your missive.

elcondor said...

Double post, what happened there?

Sorry all.

Mark X said...

Not to worry. All these comments are making this post look really popular. Well, by BrokenTV standards, anyway.

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