Thursday, March 16, 2006

Michele Hewitson: Desperate dearth of mirth

That was quite a good joke Jon Stewart, host of the Oscars, made about being able to see all the stars "and not have to donate to the Democratic party. And it's exciting for the stars as well. This is the first time many of you have ever voted for a winner."

Not many of the audience seemed to laugh. What a horribly serious, worthy lot they are with their earnest little speeches about how movies can make a difference and so on and on.

I may have nodded off, on and off, because the Oscars coverage goes on for an awfully long time. Actually, on E! TV it seems to go on until the next time the Oscars roll around again (presumably sans Jon Stewart. You can't be doing with a host who is actually quite funny.)

I do love the red carpet nonsense though. "Who are you wearing?" ask those hard-hitting E! Reporters. "I'm wearing Versace," or "I'm wearing Christian Dior," gush the stars.

Actually, I was wearing some indescribably tatty track pants and socks with holes at the time but nobody asked.

But what is this who? It's what. And wouldn't it be quite heavy to wear a bloke?

Anyway, it's all very silly and I really don't believe E!'s catchcry: "We watch the stars and the stars watch us." Everyone knows the stars don't have time to watch TV, they're too busy doing important, earnest, world-changing things like having frock fittings.

I've been very busy lately watching things like the Oscars and other quality television. The truth is that I haven't been at all busy which is why I've been watching quality television.

Wasn't Fred Dagg funny? Watching the Dagg Sea Scrolls made me think that those much-pilloried oldies who came up with the bizarre idea of petitioning to bring Gliding On back might have been on to something.

Nothing as funny as Fred Dagg has been made by us in a very long time - but little as funny as Fred Dagg has been made by many other people since, I suppose, The Office.

And here's an idea for a programmer with a brain and a sense of humour: to help alleviate the tedium of the viewing that will be the Commonwealth Games, we'd really like to see John Clarke again in a repeat of The Games. Thank you very much.

I watched a thing called Wild West which is supposed to be funny. It involves Dawn French talking in what is supposed to be a Cornish accent. She has a sidekick sheila who is ditzy.

In the first episode French's character ate a lot of chocolate. This is not the Vicar of Dibley, apparently, and it is about as funny as a political party convention.

Which, in turn, is about as interesting as Commander in Chief in which Geena Davis plays Hillary Clinton as a brunette.

If the theory that Commander in Chief is a ploy by the Democrats to get American voters used to the idea of a madam president is true, then the joke's on the liberals.

What it says is: put a woman in the White House and you'll end up with a soap opera with a bad script. This should be compelling viewing, but it's cringingly drippy.

It has a hard act to follow though. The last time Hollywood liberals voted for a winner outside the Oscars the result was a show nobody could have written a script for. And jokes too filthy to be told at the Oscars.


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