Thursday, 30 March 2006

"Menu! Menu! Gah!"


Sunday, 5 March 2006

100 Things That Exist

So: did you see 100 Greatest Funny Moments on Channel Four last week? Us, neither. But we've heard enough about it over the last week to check out the listing. Oh dear.

According to the website (which keeps crashing our browser), "we all love an iconic laugh-out-loud TV moment, but forget those tired old scenes you've seen a million times from sitcoms and sketch shows, what we really love are those slip-ups, laughs, gaffes and forgotten gags which come from a diverse range of places; from chat-shows to hidden camera stunts, internet viral attachments to stand-up comedy spots, the controversial, unexpected and often unintentionally funny moments."

So, all the comedy that isn't meant to be comedy, then. Oh, hang on, except there are loads of bits from The Ali G Show, Bo Selecta, Balls Of Steel, Adam and Joe, Brass Eye, and lots of other stuff Channel Four presumably doesn't have to pay any money to use clips from (along with clips of Boyd Hilton and Whoever It Is That Fills In For Jo Whiley When She's Off On Holiday talking about them, presumably). And the shortlist is very short. "Pick your 100 favourite things from this selection of exactly 100 things".

The vast bulk of the list seems to be culled from reality TV and things from the news that z-list celebs can sneer at. And Peter Sodding Kay won. Essentially, the whole four hour (four hour!) affair was terrible, even by 100 Greatest Arbitrary Things standards (by all accounts), but we can't help but wonder what Channel Four will scrape from their special 100 Greatest Barrel next.

Well, we're going to pre-empt them. We hereby announce the beginning of BrokenTV's shortlist for 100 Things That Have Been On Television Ever. Not best. Not worst. Just things. Things that we're hoping to get a selection of weak stand-up comedians into a studio so they can pretend they remember them in front of a camera. And then we'd fill the studio with bees. That'd be good.

Here are the first twenty options for the final shortlist (which will, of course, stop at exactly 100 things). Feel free to add your own utterly inconsequential televised incidents to the comments section, and let's see if we can come up with the ultimate listing of 100 Things That Have Been On Television Ever.


* When Danny Kendall was dumped as DJ for Grange Hill's resident rap act in favour of the singer's cooler brother.

* When Todd couldn't get higher than second on the hi-score table in Ghosts 'n' Goblins, in Neighbours.

* The 'using playing cards to represent a horse race' bit from a Bunco Booth segment of The Paul Daniels Magic Show.

* Mark Thomas' heavy rock version of The Wombles Theme in Viva Cabaret.

* The debut of The Great Big Scottish Giant in Jigsaw.

* Bruce Forsyth's first encounter with Martin Daniels in Springer's Day, and the antics that ensued.

* Andrew Sachs discovering there's a pub in heaven, in Dead Earnest.

* When the insufferably smug Payne family have Noel a big comedy jar of aspirin, in order to "take the Paynes away!" at the end of their marathon run as Telly Addicts champions.

* Celebrities playing Pong™ in Bruce's Big Night. Or, as they had it, 'Video Tennis'.

* The bit where James Whale pretended to storm off again in an episode of The James Whale Radio Show, but was only joking this time.

* The bit in Kenny Everett's The Brain Drain where a scientist attempted to prove that mice actually aren't that fond of cheese and prefer sugar-coated snacks, only the see all his test mice head straight for the cheese on a special board he'd brought in especially to make his point.

* The extended Mystery Chefs insert from the first Christmas special of Get Stuffed.

* The jumping out of a helicopter bit from Run The Gauntlet.

* Jackie Stallone and a can of squirty cheese on Saturday Night Clive.

* The bit where a British rock star said 'wanker' in an episode of Sledge Hammer! that went out at 7.30pm on ITV (Central region only).

* The fairly predictable bit from the 10%ers where a temperamental 'artiste' has to be calmed down by his agent, only for said 'artiste' to actually be a weatherman.

* Hilda Braid going on about her goldfish, from same.

* The time somebody guessed the Odd One Out after only seeing one of the three options in an episode of Odd One Out.

* Captain Ribman being listed as one of the options in an episode of Wipeout where a round had been to identify comic strips, despite it (as far as we know) never been published at all in the UK.

* Paul Morley unsettling Barry Took.

Saturday, 4 March 2006

Get Off The Internet (I'll Meet You In The Pub)

Note: You get poker on television quite a lot these days, don't you? Well then, that means the following isn't off-topic.

Thanks to managing to get to the cinema just in time to miss the first half-hour of Lucky Number Slevin a few days ago, I ended up joining a few friends at a small pub in Llangollen to try my hand at this Poker Not On A Computer lark. And I had a great time. Making the transition from playing online poker, where everything from posting the blinds to shuffling the cards is done automatically, to real-life poker in front of people you don't know, has led me to make the following observations:
  • Gleefully admitting that you're a cackhanded buffoon when it's your turn to shuffle and deal is probably preferable to copying the actions of Johnny Sunglasses on the other side of the table, as accidentally flicking a dozen cards accross the room is a bit of a poker 'no-no'.

  • In online poker, you never have to pester other people with "does anyone want to swap a 'fifty' for ten 'fives'?" every few minutes.

  • Not really being 'up' with all this poker lingo, means that listening to other people going on about a 'gutshot draw' or 'Findus crispy pancake draw' (or whatever) can be confusing. Smiling politely and chuckling in a 'too right, mate!' manner generally works well enough here.

  • The bar staff will happily take orders for drinks, then bring them to the table for you. This is excellent.

  • If you really need to go to the toilet after downing all those drinks the bar staff have happily delivered to you, you'll suddenly get ten great hands in a row, meaning you'll have to fold on a great set of cards if you want to relieve yourself ("Gah, another potential flush. Flush? Christ, I need a slash"). Clearly, Lady Luck is tremendously amused by the thought of people pissing in their pants.

  • If it's your first game in a poker league, and being a really obvious newbie, you're a bit crap at first because you're self-conscious about messing up putting down the right blind at the right time, about being a rubbish shuffler, about being unable to remember what your cards are - all two of them - for more than two seconds at a time, then finally settling down and playing your normal game just when everyone else thinks you're really easy pickings, is a tactic that works surprisingly well.

  • You can get away with shouting "you miserable fuckers, I had three aces!" at your monitor when everyone else folds after your first raise (nothing massive, just a 'teaser' raise - I'm not a total poker idiot) when playing online. In real-life poker, you've got to try and pretend this was exactly what'd you'd wanted them to do, a bit like Sawyer in Lost probably would, if he were playing poker, I'd imagine.

  • When the numbers are diminishing, and some other people come to join the table, and they're two irritating squalking chavettes from the beginners' table, with Chavette One knowing quite a bit about poker but had been on the beginners' table (loudly) coaching her idiot friend Chavette Two, who knew nothing at all about poker, meaning that effectively Chavette One had two seats with which to clean out the beginners' table in next to no time, meaning they turn up with armfuls of chips, and they proceed to loudly squalk at each other in between texting people in the middle of their turn, and Chavette Two is utterly incapable of grasping the fact that when dealing, the cards need to be face sodding down so that everyone can't see them, and they go off to the toilet for ten minutes together for more loud squalking holding everyone else up, but then stay in the game for ages because Chavette One is quite good at poker, and Chavette One is still telling Chavette Two what to do, and they'd arrived at the table with more chips than anyone else in the first place, is quite annoying. But, thankfully this won't happen too often.

After all that, I still did fairly well for a first go. Not anywhere remotely near winning the prize (an expensive looking professional poker set in a smart aluminium case), but I'd seen off most of the people from my original table, which was better than I'd been expecting (and by then it was 10.30pm, I was 40 miles from home, it was snowing, and it was a school night, so I'm saying I would have won if my subconscious didn't want me to go home at that point).

In summary: Real-life poker is good, especially when you're not about to lose a bunch of real-life money.

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