Comedy

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Inspire A Generation: Arrested Development Seasons 1-3

Published 23/05/2013 by crimsonghad

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I’ve made a huge mistake…Arrested Development Season 4 hits Netflix all at once on 26 May. I am going to be at a Wee Brain wedding for Les Cousins Dangereux and my party piece will be walking over a pool of water and setting fire to the bride, again, so I will listen to my hermano and be a Motherboy for a day. *claps like a chicken* yes I know I sound like ‘Frightened Inmate #2’ when I should open my big pink mouth to say, come on! then go and watch The Trial of Captain Hook with a loose seal but ‘family love Michael’ so I must open the family chequebook one more time rather than go to Phoenix, work for Sitwell Enterprises or even use my Aztec Tomb to escape to the Milford Academy where I’m seen and not heard, so I can watch some Caged Wisdom in the peace and quiet of The OC (don’t call it that)… worse still the wedding is in Reno, so it’s a huge, tiny mistake…

…so, yes, if you’ve never seen Arrested Development before that first paragraph is the most convoluted nonsense written since Dan Brown’s Inferno was released the other week *zing* and if you have seen it but thought ‘meh’ then I’m sorry, Ted? Is it Ted? Did Ted make an appointment? No? Well, then, Ted can get the hell out of this office! YOU GET THE HELL OUT!!!! And that’s how you keep out unwanted visitors…so that’s enough of the quotes. I have demonstrated I am a hopelessly obsessed fan of seasons 1-3 and the only people left are you, me and the tumbleweeds.

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Arrested Development is unique. It is written, by Mitch Hurwitz, as a fly on the wall documentary comedy without a laughter track based around rich, spoilt, obnoxious and deeply unlovable characters who have fallen from grace as their greed and power has broken the law in a nationwide scandal that has ruined the company they own. And yet you can’t help but love them. This is because the comedy is so slick that the people you perceive to be arrogant end up as hilarious parodies of the type of individuals you see in real life. It’s like watching The Apprentice in an actual sitcom style and it works wonderfully well. And it is basically a bunch of posh knob gags. And it is impossible to fail with that.

Of course, it would never have been cancelled if this were true. The sad fact is that it requires a lot of attention and patience to watch AD. There are literally hundreds (slight exaggeration) of in-jokes per episode and the sheer amount of call backs demand that you watch each programme in order of broadcast to fully appreciate the comedy that flows. Indeed, I have watched all 3 seasons of AD approximately 6 times now and each episode brings me a new joke that I had not spotted before, whether it be in the dialogue, an extra in-joke, the visual background or a reference that I had previously ignored. The richness and depth of AD makes it an immediate cult classic and that is why I love it so much. It is also why it was cancelled due to a lack of popularity – that and poor marketing.

As well as the brilliant writing the main characters are all fantastic. It is impossible to go in to depth or wax lyrical with enough justification so here is a one line overview of the best of them:

Michael Bluth – fulcrum of the family: reliable, kind and handsome yet selfish, arrogant and vindictive when it’s as plain as the Ann on egg’s face

Lindsay Funke Bluth – Michael’s ‘twin’ sister and supposed activist in a sham marriage to Tobias and an unhealthy obsession with men, money and herself

GOB Bluth – failed magician and self-loathing womaniser with a unique interpretation of how a chicken dances

George Michael Bluth – nervous, obsessive, obedient son of Michael who yearns his father’s approval in exactly the same way as his father seeks his father’s approval. Loves his cousin

Buster Bluth – Motherboy who cannot escape the confines of his childhood due to constant panic attacks, crippling self doubt and various contests with his adopted brother. Dates Liza Minnelli

Tobias Funke – possible closet homosexual, never nude, actor, author, sometime Blue Man, doctor with cat-like reflexes, Analrapist and an insatiable thirst for unwittingly scandalous double entendres

Maeby Funke – compulsive liar and rebellious daughter of Tobias and Lindsay who is probably the most successful and smartest character in the family

Lucille Bluth – drunken matriarch who hates her family but can’t survive without them in spite of her protestations

George Bluth Sr – overbearing selfish patriarch guilty of tax evasion who has committed multiple affairs and attempted escaped from prison on many occasions

Narrator – Ron Howard, an integral character to keep the flow of the show and link each segment

Oscar Bluth – George’s hippy twin brother with fabulous hair like a lion and an obsession with Lucille

Carl Weathers – Carl ‘fucking’ Weathers…baby we got a stew going

Ann Veal – George Michael’s plain, dull Christian girlfriend with a hot mum

Annyong Bluth – Korean adopted by Lucille to teach Buster a lesson

Barry Zuckerkorn – George Bluth’s terrible lawyer with a questionable personal life and even worse ability to practise law

Kitty Sanchez – George Bluth’s crazy secretary who tends to all of his needs and likes to show you her breasts as long as you don’t look at them

Lucille Austero – Lucille Bluth’s best friend. Buster’s sometime girlfriend. Liza Minnelli

Wayne Jarvis – replacement lawyer for Barry Zuckerkorn. What a pro

Bob Loblaw – replacement lawyer for replacement lawyer. Lindsay wants him badly

Marta Estrella – GOB’s Colombian or Mexican or whatever girlfriend. Famous actress

Franklin Delano Bluth – GOB’s puppet. Has much in common with Michael Jackson and likes to knock people out

Steve Holt – STEVE HOLT!!

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In conclusion, Arrested Development is amazing. The writing is uniformly superb. The characters and acting crazy, varied and brilliant. The storylines are surreal, silly and yet so complex they demand repeat viewing. If you’ve never seen it before don’t watch season 4 yet. Go and buy seasons 1-3 (or watch them on Netflix I guess) watch them all at once, laugh yourself silly and then join the cult. If not you will essentially be pulling your own arm off. And that’s why you always leave a note.

Election 2012 – one negative reaction and one positive reaction

Published 07/11/2012 by crimsonghad

Obama wins!!!!!

Suffice to say that @KristenNeel_ was not a fan of the Obama victory. And by the way Australia has a Prime Minister…who is a woman…and not religious. But hey, 0/3 isn’t bad.

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For more please visit this page

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/07/twitter-us-election-funny-republican-tweets_n_2087229.html#slide=1730441

…And the postive reaction is this incredible article from David Simon. It is mindblowingly good and you MUST read it. I insist.

http://davidsimon.com/inevitabilities-and-barack-obama/

I am a heterosexual male and I freely admit: I LOVE DAVID SIMON

A True Story

Published 25/10/2012 by crimsonghad

This is a TRUE story about something which happened to me literally hours ago and could easily have taken place in How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory or Peep Show. Enjoy.

I was making a wonderful homemade bacon cheeseburger for dinner when from out of our top floor window I observed one of our neighbours standing outside his kitchen door, strange given the time of 8pm and the cold of the night. I stared listlessly at him for a few seconds mesmerised by this half-man, half hobbit before he turned around and saw me. I immediately slinked away – the spell broken by his piercing gaze. I thought nothing more of it.

10 minutes later as I was eating my food there was a knock at the door. My flatmate and I flashed a confused, slightly panicked look at each other. I had been to my parents’ house earlier and assumed that perhaps I had left something behind.

‘I’ll get it. It might be for me.’

As I descended the stairs I switched on the lights unaware of what was awaiting me.

I opened the door to find my unnamed neighbour whose bizarre visage had haunted me merely 10 minutes previously.

Now I have spoken to this man once before when I was on the way to get my hair cut. He stopped me to ask the about the weather – when we were both standing outside – and various other slightly disturbing, mundane questions in a mildly simple manner. He waited there outside his house. And waited. I returned from my hair cut and there he was looking like a clean-cut version of Cousin Itt from The Addams Family and with a fragrance of stale smoke, sweat and something that can only be described as weirdness. I walked around town for a further 20 minutes just to avoid this man. I came back. He was still there. I went for another 20 minute detour and he was gone. I had escaped. But not this time…

‘Hello,’ He greeted me.

‘Hi,’ I replied.

‘I’m your neighbour and I saw you a few minutes ago looking at me and I felt I should explain,’ My first thought, of course, was, ‘Explain what?’ But he continued.

‘I was urinating in the corridor beside my house because my toilet had too much tissue in it.’ Alarm bells started to ring at this point. ‘ I feel I should apologise because I wouldn’t normally do it but, you know, there was too much tissue in the toilet and I didn’t think it would flush so I just had to go outside. I feel bad that you had to witness that.’

‘That’s ok,’ I said, ‘I hadn’t actually noticed. I wasn’t looking that closely.’

I didn’t ask him why he had not tried to flush his toilet to get rid of the tissue paper that was blocking it – the last time I checked that was the sole purpose of a toilet – as it didn’t seem like the right time to question his logic. I also failed to ask him why he had not used his own bath or shower, rather than an alley, to relieve himself. Again, I was not prepared for such a situation to arise. This is my fault. I freely admit this.

It continued.

‘I’m Tom, your neighbour,’ He attempted to engage me in a non-urinating context which given the news he had just provided me with was not high on my priority list.

‘Well,’ He said, ‘I’m sorry. It’s Ollie isn’t it?’

‘Erm…No,’ I replied, since that isn’t my name.

‘You’re Ollie. You live here right?’

‘No, I’m Gary,’ I corrected him.

‘And you live here with Ollie?’

‘No. I live with Robbie. My flatmate,’ Who was (hopefully) listening upstairs ready to save me at any minute.

‘Oh. Ok Ollie, well, sorry once again. I don’t normally urinate in public it’s not like me but the toilet was, er, full of tissue.’

‘Yeah, Ok,’ I desperately tried to end the conversation as the end game suddenly flashed in to my mind.

A slightly awkward pause ensued as I tried to usher him away like Jehovah’s Witnesses were on my doorstep. Surely he wouldn’t? After what he had just told me? No chance. I tried to pull away with a petrified smile on my face half closing the door.

‘Well, ok, Gary. Good to meet you.’ And there it was. He reached out his piss soaked hand toward me.

So what was I to do?

Can you just shut the door on someone who had the balls – pun intended – to confront their indiscretion in such daring terms?

Or do you shake the hand of someone who has just admitted to weeing outdoors by their own house for reasons that I will never understand?

I did what ANY of you would do. I shook it…then slammed the door and ran upstairs to wash my hands. Many, many times.

Robbie was waiting upstairs and, needless to say, he had the last laugh.

The Sapphires – Review

Published 16/10/2012 by crimsonghad

I’m going to make a prediction: The Sapphires will be the sleeper hit of 2012.

Last night saw the UK premiere of this enchanting film charting the trials and tribulations of the first female Australian Aboriginal vocal group. I was in Australia during September and watched a film that had been hyped as ‘The Australian Dreamgirls’ and ‘the film Dreamgirls wished it could be’. While Dreamgirls was probably a more rounded Hollywood style movie, The Sapphires ticks many of the same boxes but with a story far less well known and does it in a more pleasing manner for me.

It is based on a true story of four talented Aboriginal girls (in real life this included writer Tony Briggs’ grandmother) who suffer from the segregated society pervading Australia in 1968. The film juxtaposes powerful imagery and footage of the US Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam War and Australian unrest at the time to great effect as it creates an emotional link inside of the audience.

Standout performances come from the continually impressive Chris O’Dowd as the gloriously ramshackle Dave Lovelace who provides wonderful comic relief throughout. He also maintains real gravitas in spite of this and to his credit never roams into hackneyed drunken Irishman territory. However, equally as good is the matriarch of the group Gail McCrae, played by Deborah Mailman, who brings a fabulously tender intensity to an at times dislikeable character.

At times the writing seems clichéd and takes a simplistic linear approach but this should not detract from what is a wonderful experience as a viewer. Indeed the audience I saw it with ranged from the very young to the very old, albeit with a heavily female dominated demographic. The dramatic scenes are not for the faint-hearted and some of the racism is hard to watch – indeed the reveal that the government stole Aboriginal babies that could be ‘turned white’ genuinely shocked me. That said the film generally kept a light-hearted attitude and the cinema abounded with laughter throughout. The woman sat next to me (in her late twenties to early thirties) had a fixed smile on her face almost entirely throughout.

As things stand The Sapphires is due for release in the UK on 7 November and has no release date in the US, although, with the backing of Harvey Weinstein and a gathering momentum of praise expect that to change. While not the most groundbreaking piece of film making in history – despite its unique subject matter – I highly recommend viewing what is a wonderfully uplifting cinema experience that I guarantee will leave you smiling all night long.

Ross Noble – Mindblender Review

Published 03/10/2012 by crimsonghad

Last night I saw Ross Noble’s Mindblender show, his 13th major tour to date and my 7th opportunity to watch this master in action. For the uninitiated it is very difficult to review a Ross Noble performance as he does not adhere to the formal model of stand up comics. Light hearted audience participation, on the spot improvisation and seamlessly linked, superbly written surreal observational stories make up his performances. Last night followed this well trodden formula.

He launched in to a dreamlike Celebrity Deal or No Deal re-enactment with Derren Brown convincing Noel Edmonds to blow his face off met by a rather sinister round of applause by the crowd, including myself it must be said. A cavalcade of current references – Jimmy Saville included – and improvisation with the audience ensued including Underwear Antiques Roadshow, sticking hot spoons up your arse and a centaur pottery lesbian knocking the Queen’s hat off with his/her cock (don’t ask). Probably the first actual written segment came when trying to understand The Dark Knight Rises dialogue. Batman’s ridiculous whispering during a riot scene and attempting to receive some ‘dark’ biscuits from Alfred drew many laughs. This was matched by Bane morphing in to Kenneth Williams and Sweep from The Sooty Show. Noble’s dislike of Frankie Boyle was another part of the show almost certainly pre-written with allusions to new events that could be incorporated in to the Paralympics veering on dangerous Boyle-like territory at times.

The second half began as always with a parade of gifts that allowed for more improv with the spectators which once more proved enough of a success for the pre-planned material to be shelved. However, it must be said that my friend, experiencing his first full Noble show, was no longer finding the show as laugh out loud funny as he had pre-interval. Perhaps this was due to a more conventional style second half where an interaction with an audience member saw Noble talking about his daughter in a pre-written sketch about her clothing habits. While the story was clearly heart-warming and demonstrated how he and his daughter were very much alike, it was perhaps tailored towards the new-found viewers Noble has gained recently from his joining Twitter (@realrossnoble), and appearances on more mainstream shows such as The Graham Norton Show (alongside Katy Perry and Cheryl Cole) and Something For The Weekend. As someone who has followed Noble’s work for 8+ years it felt more like a Michael McIntyre or John Bishop story and left me feeling somewhat uncomfortable. However, I can fully see how this would endear him to others.

As with all Noble gigs the lavish set represented a combination of the inner workings of his mind and absolutely fucking nothing.

The sell out crowd certainly helped propel the show along and some provided perfectly timed comic aides but at times others caused problems where audience members felt compelled to participate by shouting out references from past shows – this is one of my major pet hates – in a vain attempt to become famous and impress (monkeys wearing trilbies, meat on the face, Aussie wife) although Noble, as a man with 20 years experience in stand up, was able to put down the hecklers very quickly. However, this added somewhat to the disjointed nature of the show. Even so if you’ve never seen Ross Noble live then ‘you’re a fool to yourself’ as the Cramlington born genius is fond of saying. His wit and energetic comedy is likely to enthuse throughout and the 2 hour plus set is certainly value for money. Highly recommended if not his best show in my opinion.