Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Grumpy Young Blogger

Tonight, I had enough. Even though I was sorting through Beatles CDs and only heard about a third of it, I now officially despise Grumpy Old Men.

In fact, looking back over it, I struggle to undertand why I even tolerated it in the first place. For those blessed enough to have missed the half hour of time wasting parasitism, the idea is this: a bunch of middle-to-old-aged British celebrities bitch about how much their lives suck for half an hour, randomly cutting from one to another as we're expected to recognize them on sight. The series is narrated by Geoffrey Palmer, who sounds as sick of the whole damn business as I am.

Dear God, it's beyond a joke.

It started out with a point, though, there's no denying that. Basically, the individuals interviewed were there at the 1960s which was apparently the only point in the entirety of human history that civilization could have been reshaped. And they got the world we live in today. Well, that's a lesson for humanity then - when trying to restructure the basis of western society remember NOT to get blissed out on LSD first. As Dylan Moran pointed out, nostalgia may be an illusion, but the 1960s rocked in a way nothing has rocked since. Which is fair enough. A series of respected old men acting like Victor Meldrew with a grain of bitter truth had an appeal, though finding out the likes of Don Warrington or Nigel Havers had literally two cents an episode to throw in was doing more harm than good.

Then some bright spark decided to create Grumpy Old Women.

I nearly broke the television after the first episode and my screams of "GET A LIFE, YOU BITCHES!" caused a small but notable deviation in the Earth's orbit.

Now, if there's any way for me to prevent being labeled as a brainless sexist (and honestly, some of my family are women!) I can best sum up the situation with Christmas.

The Grumpy Old Men At Christmas was a moving, deliberately depressing piece on how their struggle to create nostalgia for a druid holiday has lead to a callous consumerist generation that doesn't actually appreciate the whole point of love and understanding.

The Grumpy Old Women At Christmas was 50 minutes of bitching that the housewives have to do all the cooking and no one thanks them.

Boo. Fucking. Hoo.

Women of course were as much as involved in the 1960s as the men, more so, but do the likes of Shiela Hancock or whoever get asked what THEY think about the society they suffered to create? No. Instead, whole episodes devoted to their pubic hair going grey and their bras getting baggy.

So, I had little patience for a series of sour women complain that, NO!, they were actually GETTING OLD because they HADN'T DIED YET. Like I care? Is it my fault she can't fit into a size six any more? Should have thought of that before you ate all those pies, bitch. Oh, you want to lie down in the afternoon but there's some one at the front door? WHAT THE FUCK!? The worst thing is that Grumpy Old Men was about society and the unstoppable march of time. How can anyone fix an increasing Big Brother world of surveillance and information obsession? There is not a single moment in Grumpy Old Women which could not be solved with the advice "Shut the fuck up!"

And they actually came out to Australia, a tour of Grumpy Old Women moaning on about stuff that bothers the post-menopausal British television industry stars, with the most embarassing ads ever, with some woman (I dunno her name, but she was a time-wasting parasite in The Bill last week) shouting "Australia, we're old, we're grumpy and we're here!" and clearly expecting Australia to be impressed.

But now Grumpy Old Men have, believe it or not, run out of social issues to complain about. Now we're supposed to weep because some twat is diabetic and can't go to the pub - good! If you want beer that badly, drink it and die! Don't whinge to me about it. Who the hell honestly cares about these problems? Oh no, the tabloids are trash! DON'T GET THE NEWSPAPERS! Telethons are run by idiots! TURN OFF THE TV! People think I'm old and grumpy and pathetic! THAT'S WHAT YOU ARE!

And I have had enough. If Palmer babbles on about 'the spirit of the sixties betrayed' one more time, I am going to use what money I have to go to England and kill each one of those gits. Name ONE of them who actually did ANYTHING in the 1960s that could POSSIBLY have affected ANYTHING. Not one of them!

And isn't it odd that they're all respected thespians, rock stars, retired journalists and the like? They're rich, they're pampered, they don't suffer like the ordinary working man. And for all their babbling about irritating celebrities, it seems to occur to none of them that they too are a bunch of useless jerks clogging up my TV by whinging that they need to take vitamins to stave off infirmity.


Why don't they get all these well-lived old fuckers and dump them in the third world? Then they'd actually have something worth complaining about. Let's see Anne Widdicome's face when SHE is the beggar no one gives money to, or that short-haired spectacled git whinging about his leg rotting off because of no decent drinking water.

The last straw was said git wailing "Don't sieze the day, let it go! I hate people who sieze the day!" as if somehow, the 1960s could have altered the entire course of human development if they'd stayed in bed and not done a damn thing... which seems to be a good description of what these Grumy Old Bludgers actually did.

In short, stop bitching about stuff you can fix, just fix it.

And no doubt some smart alec is twigging this entire rant can be turned on me and show me for the hypocritical scumbag I truly am, but the point of the rant still stands. So there.

In a final twist, I return to the top of Rose and Billie Piper once more in Doctor Who. It delighted some, horrified others, and surprised everyone, but out of all the possible responses to the news, Eye of Horus stunned me by once again coming so far out of left field they were actually in the right field all along.

So, from the website that tells you NOT to watch Voyage of the Damned because you'll be "overindulging yourself" (yes, sixty minutes of TV after a gap of six months, that's selfishness of the highest degree...):

This proves that the Freema Agyeman Experiment and the Catherine Tate Experiment was/has superbly failed and that the "award winning" actress is desperately needed to salvage the BBC ONE drama from sliding into an abyss of mediocrity and shambolic acting.



Now, I'm not a real statistics anorak but all the signs are that the New Who is a tad popular. The ratings are certainly not in decline and the show shows no signs of being in the dire straights that RTD thought it would have to just not to be taken off the air (AKA "my wildest dreams in 2004").

In fact, it's pretty much a universal opinion that the show's doing so well it doesn't need to be put on a gap year and all the signs are this is the end results of various coincidences and will herald a major reboot of the show behind the scenes and possibly even in front of the camera.

It's certainly not because the show is in ratings trouble or the public have turned against it.

So, what evidence is there that the New Who Without Rose is dead show sinking?

Not a lot.

RTD considered Rose's departure a new lease of life for the show. He canceled Rose Tyler Earth Defence for good reason - if he'd been lazy, they could have made it and had an excuse to hang around Shaun Dingwall, Camille Coduri and Noel Clarke for another few months. The references to Rose in series three were a deliberate meme from the moment the Doctor met Martha to her defeating the Master. RTD was quite clear that he structured the departure of Rose so she couldn't return.

These are not the actions of someone not confident they can cope without her.

And, as I have argued until I'm blue in the face, Martha was certainly not a failure. I would have found her staying in the TARDIS at the end of Last of the Time Lords unrealistic. Like Peri, Tegan, Romana, Leela, Jo, et all, she went through Major Shit in her last story. The hardened rebel freedom fighter not used to sleeping in beds and watched with her own eyes as billion were zapped by the Toclafane? She stopped being the audience identification and when that happens, there's the door, what's your hurry?

If Martha had stayed, the chances were she'd have turned into New Adventures Ace.

So, she becomes the Brigadier of the new show - an ally of the Doctor in 21st century Earth who can summon the Doctor to help out with the Really Tough Stuff, and no doubt will have her own special catchphrases to refer to new companions and incarnations. She jumps into Torchwood to keep the character fresh in minds.

Martha and Freema are definitely not considered a failure by the production team.

The jury is still out on Donna, but as RTD admits, it's better that it's Catherine Tate stepping through the TARDIS doors than not. He came up with a brand new companion called Penny, and if she was the one with DT next year, you can see the headlines "Donna Rip Off" from here. Instead, we get the original and it's something to be thankful for. Listen to some of the Troughton era and see the constant try outs for companions, and the reformatting of them (for example, Sam Briggs in The Faceless Ones was just a less irritating version of Dodo) and this kind of honesty is refreshing.

BUT... and it's big one... if RTD and the others thought Tate wasn't going to work out, they would have twigged by now. They dropped Kelsey The Slut from The Sarah-Jane Adventures like a lepper's jockstrap, and the latest Torchwood press release is titled "We're So Sorry, We Know What We Did Wrong, Give Us Another Chance Please!" with RTD promising that T3 will no longer be a bunch of miserable losers who all hate each other and have unhappy brutal murders that are considered purile by everyone old enough to walk upright.

No Second Chances, indeed.

My roundabout way of saying a) CT is unlikely to not work out because this is her second time round and she worked the first time b) if she HADN'T worked out, it's highly unlikely they'll drag back Billie and completely rewrite the entire conclusion to the season ESPECIALLY at this late stage.

Oh, and c) this opinion is also from the journalists who say

The post-SERIES 4 "hiatus" (SERIES 4-B) "cut-down" series (where, throughout 2009, there will be only three one-hour special episodes detailing the evolution of the Time War - with a guest appearance by Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor - starring Tennant).

is the perfect way to ensure the future of the series.

Two words, people: Nuff. Said.


Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

My family are regular viewers of GoM, myself included and we like it. I do agree with you that it's certainly in 'jump the shark' territory now ("I can't stand it when I spill food on myself" - erm, I have this trouble as well guys. I don't think it's a generational thing...) but I still find it reasonably entertaining. There's just something endearing about the way the poms man... well, to me. Sounds like you're not getting the same kick out of it by now.

I also agree that Grumpy Old Women is probably the most astonishingly sexist program ever made. The blokes get "What do you think about war/Tony Blair/mobile phones/computers/music/public transport/the health system/celebrities?" while the girls get "What do you think about your hair/ your weight/ your cooking/ your husband / your fucking wallpaper?" Really annoys me because some of them are quite funny but being hampered by the material.

As for the anti-Martha people... well, I just want them to sod off and die. It's all so irrational, because Freema is a fantastic actress, playing a character that's charismatic, strong, resourceful, intelligent and relatable and works as a perfect role model to the kids. There's so little to fault her for that I honestly suspect that racism may play a part in the irrational backlash from a, ahem, massively vocal minority. But I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they're just vapid wankers.

Youth of Australia said...

Sounds like you're not getting the same kick out of it by now.
True. This latest series seems designed to piss me off, and has even made the last two series seem worse than they actually are.

Maybe it's also because they're focussing on the celebrities who annoy the crap out of me anyway and the whole episode was devoted the fact the old men are actually SPOILER over thirty?

I also agree that Grumpy Old Women is probably the most astonishingly sexist program ever made.
Oh thank god. I once tried to explain my hatred for it and got slagged off for being a sexist bigot.

You can imagine what that did for my self esteem...

Really annoys me because some of them are quite funny but being hampered by the material.
Yes. Woman A can be ridiculously amusing on Topic 1, but then Women B-Z say less funny things about topic one. And I don't care any more...

There's so little to fault her for that I honestly suspect that racism may play a part in the irrational backlash from a, ahem, massively vocal minority.
Yes. I was deeply shocked when The Anorak dubbed the Doctor racist, saying the only reason he preferred Rose to her was that she was white. This from a man intelligent enough to realize New Who was in a totally different headspace to him, so any complaints he had were borderline pointless to start with...

How the mighty have fallen.

Maybe I'm just pissed off because I've totally run out of inspiration...

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

Oh thank god. I once tried to explain my hatred for it and got slagged off for being a sexist bigot.

Well that sucks. I thought it was pretty transparant myself... but then I think our entire society is filled with a terrible ingrained sexism. (cf. bitchiness over Julia Gillard not being a working mum)

Yes. I was deeply shocked when The Anorak dubbed the Doctor racist, saying the only reason he preferred Rose to her was that she was white.


The basis for that being WHAT exactly?

Maybe I'm just pissed off because I've totally run out of inspiration...

I'm still working on Attack, if you're psyched for some editing... would you mind terribly if there were a couple of small blank spots in the script where there's just a synopsis of the action that I am strangley un-compelled to write?