Sunday, April 11, 2004

So Easter Sunday, and what do I do? End up watching the CBBC channel, because we were trying to find programme one of my brother's friends works on.

So first up is SMARTeenies, which has a woman in the bottom right corner signing the programme. So there's a blank smile as the presenter is finger painting, and then it gets interesting. Do you know what sign language is for pipe cleaner?

Then the presenter starts doing stuff with glitter. So there's masses of glue going everywhere, and huge amounts of glitter being liberally shaken from a great height. The presenter helpfully says that having a tray underneath means you can catch the glitter and put it back in the pot. Only, as most children soon discover, glitter from a red pot, a blue pot and yellow pot, does not stay red, blue or yellow. It goes an unusual colour, as do the children's parents when they see the multicoloured glitter going back into a single colour pot. But it doesn't matter as the presenter sprays the glitter everywhere when he lifts the artwork up to the camera.

Meanwhile Corner Woman is mouthing energetically (with a "why, oh, why?" look in her eyes) as she signs glittery, twinkle and sparklely.

And then it's the Tiny and Mr Duk show. Which apparently the friend worked on once upon a time. When I met him at a party, he described the show as a rip-off of Shooting Stars. At the time I smiled politely, and tried to figure out how that was possible. Then I saw it, and heard my brother's version of his friend's views. Oh dear.

It is Shooting Stars in a much-maligned way. There's two Jim Henson Puppets replacing Vic and Bob. There's two team captains - The dim arty CBBC presenter, and Joe Pasquale (annoying squeaky voice, and that's all there is to him). But there's only one celebrity per side. And that's celebrity in the children’s television sense of the word. So a guy from Grange Hill (from the looks of him, I'm guessing the gritty east-end borough has become the latest yuppie ghetto. Either that or GH has dropped the realistic approach) and a girl from something else. And there's a tea-lady to keep the scores, who is closely modelled on George Dawes, in a tea-ladyish way.

And there's random questions (that dippy art girl can't even give the "right" answer to), and stuff flying round, and skits involving puppets.

Puppets that include a gherkin and a dustbin-bin bag cunningly mocked up in various plasticky foams. They have a certain "don't know what I'm doing, so I'll look it up in Google" charm about them.

Other information extracted from the source:
- One of the puppeteers that came with the puppets from Jim Henson's company has the ability to fall asleep with his arm above his head and inside a puppet. This ability was not greatly appreciated by the crew, as the puppet kept missing his cues.
- He was very glad to get off the show. As he said, there was a hole that needed filling. The BBC had two new children’s channels and very little to go on them. So they commissioned stuff, any stuff.

The show is at best a patische of a show which the intended audience won't know about. It's not as good as that show, and it exudes the impression that everyone connected to it wishes they weren't.

I think it was only the fact I was Cadburyed up to the eyeballs that made it just about bearable. Or maybe it was because my blood sugar was near saturation level that I didn't think of turning it off.

Something completely different - in a follow-up to me bemoaning adverts that rip-off films, I have been informed that the new Volvo ads are playing upon the theme of Momento. Which I haven't seen, and so didn't realise. I assumed it was derived from David Lynch stuff like the Lost Highway and Mullholland Drive - both of which are stunningly good films, if not for the films themselves, then for the conversations they generate.


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