My instinct whenever the Daily Mail get on their high horse and start attacking someone for moral degeneracy is to defend the moral degenerate in question. Most of the time they will be in the right.
And I’m sure the foam-flecked piece that has appeared in the Mail regarding the ‘disgraceful’ antics on Channel 4’s Big Fat Quiz Of The Year has been largely motivated by their reactionary politics, fanatical monarchism and sheer prudishness. After all, to these guys multi-coloured spats are akin to the last days of Rome.
But on the other hand, they do kind of have a point. I know its manufactured, politically expedient outrage driven by a bad case of Mary Whitehouse Syndrome but even so, I don’t think BFQOTY is a completely unworthy target of opprobrium.
There’re one or two things one has to bear in mind about BFQOTY.
I haven’t watched this particular one but I think I wouldn’t be sticking my neck out to suggest that it probably didn’t break new comedy ground in relation to the plethora of other laddy, lowest common denominator, get your tackle out and see who has the biggest bollocks panel shows one can spend one’s entire life watching on Channel 4, the BBC and Dave if one so desires, and whose target audience appear to be anyone who watches Fifth Gear, think Chris Moyles is a genius, listens to records by the Darkness and who secretly like slapping women about a bit, if they had the bottle to actually do it, which they don’t.
It is presented as a comedy show, and yet it is about as funny as having a red hot poker shoved up your arse by your worst enemy. That is to say you’d cry, but not with laughter.
The panellists are a menagerie of smug, vastly overpaid twats with rather inflated views of their talent. They seem convinced that by making jokes about cocks and wanking they are ‘edgy’ and it somehow constitutes satire, when in fact they are all establishment arse-kissers par excellence.
The success of Jimmy Carr, Jack Whitehall, Russell Howard and in particular James Corden, along with quite simply the luckiest man in showbusiness, Jonathan Ross, is simply inexplicable to me and serves only to demonstrate the sheer stupidity and self-hatred of the majority of the British population.
The list of targets they witlessly mercilessly satirised are as follows, from what I can glean from the various reports I’ve read:
The Queen’s sex life.
Barack Obama’s cock.
A couple of the jokes:
Whitehall on the Jubilee: “I have a theory, she [The Queen] didn’t sit down for the entirety of that thing, and then people were talking about that. It was the day after the night of her anniversary and Prince Phillip woke up with a urinary infection…I’m just saying what everyone’s thinking, people!”
“I’m just saying what everyone’s thinking, people!” Jack Whitehall the populist. You know us all too well son, don’t you.
Corden – (when asked what Barack Obama was doing in his office while pretending to work): “Put on a condom and had a posh wank.”
Quite simply vaulting in its comedic ambition, although I must confess to being a little surprised that Corden held back a zinger like this from the script of Lesbian Vampire Killers.
I understand that Corden was slightly pissed during filming, but we all know he’d have said something similar sober. Chris Morris he ain’t.
And maybe I am showing my inner Nadine Dorries here but making fun of Susan Boyle seems a little unambitious and, well, unpleasant. Mocking socially awkward middle aged women who struggled with being thrust into limelight, and who were shamelessly exploited by avaricious and utterly amoral TV producers hardly strikes me as comedy gold, or cutting edge satire for that matter. Sure, lots of Tory voters people will find it funny, but those people deserve to be thrown off cliffs so who cares what they think?
Channel 4 defended the show in these terms:
“Big Fat Quiz Of The Year is a well-established comedic and satirical review of the year’s events with well-known guests and is broadcast after the watershed with appropriate warnings.”
To my simple mind, a ‘satirical review’ of 2012’s events would focus on slightly more edgy topics than Barack Obama’s dick. There have been one or two stories that might warrant a mention by any prospective arch-satirist that I can think of, off the top of my head. And the great comedy minds assembled on BFQOTY could I’m sure have come up with some amazing material on those stories there and then that would have the audience in stitches.
So whilst I think the Mail’s outrage is rather misplaced, naturally, I think that it is still worth complaining about the show on the simple basis that its own self-description as ‘comedy’ or ‘satire’ is simply a lie.