‘Badass Wombles of Central Park’ viral from PACT

April 18, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

It’s a long time since we’ve seen the Wombles out and about, isn’t it?  Well not many people know this but they have actually been trying to break America for the past few years.  When approached by PACT to front their new campaign against the damaging effects of repeated exposure to the American lilt they said that as Brits away from home (Wimbledon, London), who miss the word ‘sorry’ and having whole conversations about the weather, they felt a resonance with the movement and “totally couldn’t turn it down, man?.

The new viral animation from the Producer’s Alliance for Cinema and Television aims to emphasise the serious lack of investment in British TV.  By featuring the brash, over-Americanised Wombles hanging out in Central Park using US terminologies, PACT hope to illustrate the effects of US imports on children’s programming.  They maintain that new UK shows account for just 1% of all children’s television broadcast in the UK and would like to see more funding from the Government put into producing new British programmes. 

Punchy slices, heavily distorted guitar and Friends-esque canned laughter caricaturing the majority of current kid’s shows make for a well-put point that children in the UK could probably do with a refresh course in British culture.  Identity is important, innit?  However, does rather border on the kind of zealous comment your Grandma might make at the dinner table, which is illustrated fittingly by Great Uncle Bulgaria reeling at the thought of a zombified Yankee race of children and warning the viewer, “Before it’s too late!? 

Young Mum’s Mansion

April 16, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

BBC3, Monday 14th April 2008

Young Mum’s Mansion

I just don’t know what to make of this programme. Is it simply another of those horribly exploitative documentaries that shames me a little every time I find myself gawping at the misfortunes of other people? Or is this, in fact, a fairly enlightening look at how tough it can be for a single mum bringing up her children while juggling numerous other tasks that come with daily life? I guess Young Mum’s Mansion is a bit of both – a guffaw followed by a tear or two.

Monday night was episode five and Natasha was in charge of the mansion. She took it upon herself to straighten the girls out by injecting a bit of spice into their love life – perhaps not the most prudent of decisions encouraging further bedroom activity considering where the last lot landed them, but hey. As she unveiled her plans at the dinner table, which included a night speed-dating and another hosting a dinner party, she introduced a man into the house in the form of single dad, Brett and his two children. For fear of upsetting his children, Brett hasn’t dated for five years but feels that now is the time to change that by moving into a houseful of deserted mums desperate to find a father replacement – cunning.

Another mum, Toni, whose ‘dry spell’ is fifteen years largely due to the fact that she finds sex repulsive, cringed at the thought of going out with anyone but soon found herself under Natasha’s orders on the couch with a ‘sexpert’ trying to convince her that sex can feel really good. Meanwhile, the leader herself blatantly ignored her own advice and continued to pine after the father of her child. Somewhat different concerns arose for self-proclaimed lesbian, Robyn as the speed-dating commenced and she tossed about the idea of heterosexuality (first brought about upon the conception of her child before being quickly rejected as a drunken mistake).

With much humour coming from the kids themselves – note the little boy bad-temperedly complaining about the lack of sausage rolls after school due to Natasha’s rules and Brett’s son taking moral objection to the sight of semi-clad single mums sliding around a pole to no-nonsensely declare that they must all want to be hookers – the issues of their mothers ended up seeming quite manageable. On the whole, Young Mum’s Mansion turned out to be a rather entertaining start to the week.

By Susan Allen

First Choice

April 8, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Oh Lord.  This has got to be one of the most sickly-sweet adverts around.  What exactly do First Choice think they are achieving by subjecting their audience to such vomit-inducing material? Do they perhaps think that in some way they’ve produced a stirring campaign to leave viewers dabbing away their tears while grasping for the phone to secure their family’s love with a trip abroad?  Surely, they can’t truly believe that they’ve created a moving piece of TV that reflects their intimate understanding of family holidays, can they?! 

The advert’s premise centres on the instant when a father realises the value of spending time with his young son – induced by First Choice, naturally, who have enlightened him with their superior kind of holiday.  This wannabe ‘heart-rending movie reunion’ is at first perplexing – one wonders why exactly we are watching the slo-mo close-up of a manically smiling man.  Then, it is boring – one quickly tires from watching this manically smiling man, even though the music is quite pleasant.  And finally, when the child moves in and the camera pans out, the awful realisation kicks in and we are left with a feeling of distinct nausea. 

More like a try-hard charity campaign than a travel company promising a fun experience, this ad is definitely not my first choice.