Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Modern Lolz

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  • Peter Ashby,

    Having watched both the new Reggie Perrin and the new Red Dwarf I can tell you not to bother. The RD was weak and the cast clearly were going through the motions, it was also not funny, in the slightest.

    Martin Clunes is manifestly not the right person to play Reggie, I presume he got it after his performance as a grumpy country doctor. But Reggie was not just grumpy, not just fed up, he was incandescent with barely controlled fury at the pointlessness of it all. He actively schemed to bring it all down but was undone by his affection for his family and his colleagues. Therein lay the comic tensions that made it both very funny and scathingly satirical about modern life. Clunes is simply too mild, he comes across as simply bemused and that is not enough. It also is not funny.

    Over here we live in fear of a rehash of Fawlty Towers. We have got the American disease, the commissioning producers are too scared of funding unknown novelty that they cling to remakes of old hits. Just look at the US film industry endless remakes and ever decreasing sequels. On their TV they buy in show ideas and scripts from the UK like The Office. Where are they going to go when the UK's comedy disappears up its own fundament?

    Any culture that sits around just rehashing the classics is one that has ceased be interested in itself as it is and thus will miss important movements and developments.

    Dundee, Scotland • Since May 2007 • 425 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Any culture that sits around just rehashing the classics is one that has ceased be interested in itself as it is and thus will miss important movements and developments.

    I dunno. If we have continual, evenly-paced innovation, how will we recognise "important movements and developments?" Only when we have stultifying conformity can it be smashed.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    Christine Rankin as the head of the Families Commission

    .. makes satire redundant.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 828 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    (I meant because of her tireless campaigning against Section 59 repeal rather than her action-packed private life)

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 828 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Strictly-disciplined families do not have enough people speaking out for them.


    You're right, it is redundant.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    Huge fan of Alan Bennett, who (IMNSHO) is painfully funny but not one of life's little joy germs.

    I'm totally with you on this Craig, I adore Alan Bennett. I loved the way he turned down an honorary degree from Oxford when they established the Rupert Murdoch Chair in Language and Communication.
    You probably saw this already:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2009/may/07/alan-bennett-birthday-writing

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 828 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I'm totally with you on this Craig, I adore Alan Bennett.

    Stephen Fry channeling Patricia Routledge may take some getting used to though. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    In general, I agree, Paul. In this case though I believe Rankin's marital status compared with her pronouncements over the past few years about the good old nucular family are fair game. TV news had some footage of her stridently slagging Helen Clark for not having had children, so she's obviously not averse to dishing it out.

    I understand that Sacha. I think she's a hypocrite and I find her piousness hard to take and they're all valid reasons to criticise her appointment. My concern is that it's simply "scarlet women, thrice-divorced" that rings through and that discredits anyone who's marriage has ended; not fair.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr,

    Thanks Sacha - he's gorgeous! Wilson Dixon, I mean - not Craig.

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 395 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr,

    And thanks Craig for Stephen Fry - it took me no time at all to get used to. :)

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 395 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    On their TV they buy in show ideas and scripts from the UK like The Office.

    Although... the US version of The Office is excellent, and a very different beast, not just a rehash.

    Oh, and in relation to that early bit of this thread, about Sweetman: dude is part of a long tradition. The intertubes is filled with douchebags waffling on about how Women Aren't Funny. (I'm not totally resentful about this at all, you understand.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    @Peter

    Having watched both the new Reggie Perrin and the new Red Dwarf I can tell you not to bother. The RD was weak and the cast clearly were going through the motions, it was also not funny, in the slightest.

    Martin Clunes is manifestly not the right person to play Reggie, I presume he got it after his performance as a grumpy country doctor.

    The Red Dwarf reunion three-parter was painfully self-referential and basically a channel promotion. I'm inclined to be a bit kinder to Reggie Perrin.

    Over here we live in fear of a rehash of Fawlty Towers.

    And doesn't all the past week's 'Fawlty Towers Re-opened' hoopla point rather chillingly that way?

    If that happens Peter, we'll need to travel to London and drive your car into the BBC headquarters. It'll hurt, but someone has to make a stand, right?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Black & Decker nose drill?
    They still making those?
    I often wonder what effect negotiating the Broadcasting Standards has when NZ comedy goes on the tele.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • David Cormack,

    The intertubes is filled with douchebags waffling on about how Women Aren't Funny

    This mentality really upsets me. Like I said many pages ago, Sweetman is never seen at local comedy nights. If he did bother to haul his ass in he'd see some great local comics - male and female!

    The likes of Michele A'Court, Justine Smith and Jan Maree have shown for many years that NZ churns out not just great female comics but great comics in general. And there's a whole raft of newcomers out there, Heidi and Rose from Auckland, or the Comediettes from Wellington are fantastic.

    I'm quite passionate about standup and when I see dickheads like Sweetman bag it from a point of complete ignorance it really pisses me off.

    Suburbia, Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 218 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    being a fan of the more absurdist and wordist realms
    I'm surprised there are no Mighty Boosh boosters out there,
    it's is the closest thing I've seen to a modern day, visual Goon Show. with a touch of a more cerebral Young Ones

    Good comparisons, especially to the Goons, though I understand that The Boosh see themselves more as a contemporary Goodies.

    the new Reggie Perrin

    Oh no, I hadn't heard of that! Only yesterday I was discussing with someone about how quintessentially 70s Reggie Perrin was, and unless any update is truly updated to respond to current social trends, it will be a horribly irrelevant mess.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Possibly my biggest problem with Twilight being popular is that I happened across Robin McKinle'sy bite 'n bonk (thanks) book Sunshine and found it rather quirky and enjoyable. Now it's like the pitch has been queered by another vampire book named after light conditions.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    And doesn't all the past week's 'Fawlty Towers Re-opened' hoopla point rather chillingly that way?

    If that happens...

    Seems that it won't.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Possibly my biggest problem with Twilight being popular is that I happened across Robin McKinle'sy bite 'n bonk (thanks) book Sunshine and found it rather quirky and enjoyable. Now it's like the pitch has been queered by another vampire book named after light conditions.

    Light conditions seem to be real popular for titles in this genre, for some reason - I can think of several other titles by various authors along this theme (Dead Until Dark, Black Dawn, etcetera.) But Twilight really doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as anything by McKinley, who is *excellent*.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Seems that it won't.

    Man. Time has caught up with some of the actors of that show. Glad they're not touching it again, too good to be redone.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Light conditions seem to be real popular for titles in this genre, for some reason

    bags first dibs on Crepuscular_
    (and Creepuscular )
    it's just so redolent of latent horror

    and Dappled while I think of it
    ...you can lead a horse to culture...

    and the sheep version ?
    - Lambent
    of course!

    excited photons never wave goodbye...

    yrs Mr Ron

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7948 posts Report Reply

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