Top Five Faux Pas That Should Have Got Someone Fired But Didn’t

July 31, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

There are some beautiful moments on television, moments of pure brilliance that bring a tear to your eye. Like when people audition for Idol, or when Max died on Hollyoaks.

Better still are other moments of spontaneous television brilliance- accidental, unscripted and utterly humiliating for the person who inspires them.

But as we all know from when we were kids and got caught with our hand in the cookie jar or other less savoury places, there are consequences for actions. Except, as it turns out, not for everyone. Here is our compilation of Top Five Faux Pas That Should Have Got Someone Fired But Didn’t.

5. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer really nailed the heart of the Katrina tragedy with this news article from The Situation Room September 1st 2005.

So what happened? Well, nothing. The net went wild with blog posts both laughing at him and angered by the banal racism of the comment. He essentially summarised, in less than ten words, the media’s view on Hurricane Katrina.

Should he have been fired?
Well, debatable. Obviously a misspeak, but utterly Freudian. He talks about New Orleans as if it is another country, filled with strange and wild beings. He wasn’t the only one to think like that, just the only one to say it so concisely.

4. um…ewwwww.

This one is creepy. But also very funny. Fox News reporter Shepherd Smith obviously had funny feelings in his pants when he said this little faux pas. What makes it creepy though is his completely insincere response. ‘Sorry about that slip up there. I have no idea how that happened. But it won’t happen again’. I think we ALL know how that happened Mr Smith and you are a BAD man.

Should he have been fired?
Hell yeah. I’m surprised the Diva herself didn’t get him fired.

3. Who doesn’t like a top cop?
They say that men think about sex every three seconds. This one maybe shows that women think about a little too much as well.

This one from Jane Skinner obviously made Shepherd Smith feel better because it cuts to him laughing his a*s off. Still, its not such a bad one, just a funny one. She sneaks in ahead of Shephard Smith because she says it twice.

Should she have been fired?
Nah, if Shepard got away with it why shouldn’t she?

2. Back to the news desk for this awkward moment

News reporter Cynthia Izaguirre was obviously more shocked that a gay man could climb Mount Everest than a blind one. Climber Erik Weihenmayer’s achievement clearly needed to be marked for not only was he suffering from blindness but also the most terrible disability of them all. That’s right. He was a bad dresser. Because of his blindness. Obviously, Cynthia’s inner bigot leapt out for all to see with her little slip and yet consequence wise- it was never even mentioned.

Should she have been fired?
Yes.

1. This catch phrase has to be seen to be believed.

It’s hard to imagine who got a b*llocking for this one. Was it really anyone’s fault? Who could have predicted the lurid outcome of a simple happy banana animation.

Should they have been fired.
Dear god no, this is the stuff that makes gameshows watchable.

Persil’s Roboboy

July 30, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Oh my. Is it just me or is there something wholly disturbing about this ad?! It may have something to do with the fact that this little robot is actually meant to be a small boy and is being kept alone in a dark room, which doesn’t seem entirely loving. Or, maybe it’s the less than logical implication that keeping your child out of mud causes them to sprout a square head and become a robot.

The new ad from Persil, directed at clean freak parents, has its basic premise in the soul-searching struggle of one boy, who finds freedom from his mechanical shackles through the recreational pleasure of getting muddy.

Never mind its general oddness, the biggest annoyance I have with this ad with its lingering shots and triumphant music is that it can’t make up its bloody mind about what it‘s trying to be! At the start it could easily be a Pinocchio-esque two-minute eerie fairytale where Roboboy, through the help of his trusty side-kick, Persil, finds magic mud and smothers himself in it, thereby becoming a real boy. Maybe a little extravagant for Persil, but I’d be fine with this.

Yet, on the other hand, it’s also rather ridiculously, an offspring of your standard child protection charity ad, yes, that’s what I said, one of those ads that appeals for money to help abused kids (in this case, they’ve cruelly been kept too clean by their parents and denied a proper childhood). “Every child has the right to be a child?. Haha.

Persil, I’m confused and slightly annoyed. Are you enticing us into a magical world or are you telling us to donate to a cause?

By Susan Allen

Review: Too Soon for House of Saddam?

July 30, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

House of Saddam ReviewHouse of Saddam

BBC 2, Wednesday 30th July, 9pm

Is it too soon for this particular drama? That was the first thing that came into my head when I saw this Saddam Hussein biopic, House of Saddam. It seems a strange story choice, given the continuing war in Iraq and the still current consequences of this particular man. Is it even possible to portray the drama with accuracy and complexity given its still politically laden central character?

So it was with slight apprehension that I sat down to watch this new BBC drama.

It opens with actual footage of George Bush making his famous speech, ordering Saddam Hussein and his family from Iraq. Amidst explosions and war, the family frantically pack.

Cut to 1979, and suddenly we are at the beginning of the story. At his daughter’s birthday celebrations Saddam is on the cusp of power as the deputy President. He appears as a family man, close to his wife, brothers and mother, doting on his children. In the centre of this family he quietly, confidently forces the retirement of the President. So begins his rise to power.

In a weird way it’s all a bit Soprano’s actually. Glamour, power, money and corruption amidst an extended Mafioso style family. It quickly turns to darker material though, as Saddam’s coup becomes bloody. There are moments, such as the execution of many politicians, that are quite brutal to watch.

This first episode is without doubt intriguing; however it doesn’t seem to go far enough in making the character complex or his moral decisions interesting. The reputation that precedes him makes him a difficult character to be surprised by, but I’d hoped they would do that. The fine line the writers have had to tread in keeping him both truthful to his actions and human is done so perhaps too delicately to make this drama as good as it could be.

A compelling, but somehow lacking, drama that is impressively ambitious. For this alone it deserves viewing.

The Lowdown on: Neil Patrick Harris aka Doogie Howser

July 29, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

neil-patrick-harris.jpgAny child of the nineties will remember that baby faced whizz-kid Dr Doogie Howser. At a mere 16 years old, NPH (as the hipper of us would call him) made Dr Doug Ross look like an inept, cranky old man.

While some of us might believe that NPH emerged fully grown in 1989 from the mighty brain of some sort of god, he was of course born normally like other people. The strangely comical sounding town of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was his birth place on June 15th 1973.

His first role came in fourth grade when he appeared as Toto in the school play. Critics and his parents hailed the performance as ‘brilliant’ and ‘the most astounding performance of Toto I have ever been blessed to see’.

It was in 1988 playing opposite Whoopi Goldberg in Clara’s Heart that he started making an impact, and after starring in children’s fantasy film Purple People Eater he was snapped up to play the lead role in Doogie Howser, MD. A show about a child genius who is also a doctor, but deals with all the pitfalls of teendom along the way. This precarious sounding premise ended up becoming a hit series that ran for four seasons and thrust NPH into the light of child stardom.

Whilst you might expect a long road of drink drugs and rehab, NPH seemed to survive the regular temptations of young fortune and actually disappeared for a number of years. He was quickly dismissed as yet another forgotten child star.

It wasn’t until Starship Troopers in 1998 that he popped back into popular consciousness again, as the geeky best friend of the heroic lead played by Casper Van Dien. The cult success of the film, and NPH’s comically straight-faced turn, was enough to earn a grudging respect from audiences.

However it wasn’t until a guest turn in another cult hit, Harold and Kumar go to White Castle, in 2004 that mainstream audiences started to realise that Harris had some serious comic talent. In the role he sent himself up as a has-been star with a penchant for binges and bee-atches.

This in turn led to the role that really turned audiences’ heads as Barney in the sitcom How I Met Your Mother. The slightly delusional, comically self centered character totally stole the show and there is no doubt that he carried the comedy in its rocky first season.

Today NPH is gaining a rep as a fierce comic talent who doesn’t mind experimenting with style. His most recent work was in Joss Whedon’s online web show Dr Horrible’s Singalong Blog. His all-singing, all-dancing portrayal of Dr Horrible pulled together a show that, frankly, sounded REALLY dodgy on paper and turned into an affectionate, hilarious and strangely poignant show.

Oh and for those who care, he came out last year, much to the sadness of many women and the happiness of many men.

Mostly though, at the age of 35, Neil Patrick Harris has established that he’s got lasting talent.

by McGee Noble 

Review: ‘The Nine’ Lays it On Thick, But Tastes Kind of Good

July 28, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

The Nine Review

The Nine Channel 5, Wednesday 30th July 10pm

As The Nine opens, it’s a normal day at the bank. Our soon to be main characters wander round in a haze of uber normality, explaining about their lives as they go. We have a Top Surgeon(played by Scott Wolf of Party of Five), ‘Don’t worry patient X, he’s a TOP SURGEON’ (that’s how we know) and his girlfriend; the bank manager and his daughter; and a sexy, sassy assistant district attorney. Oh yeah and a cop with gambling problems and a crush on the bank teller. Like a caveman beating the crap out of his soon to be dinner, the show beats you over the head with the normality of it all, peppered with numerous blows for exposition’s sake.

However it all kicks off when they end up at the wrong place at the wrong time, so to speak, when the bank is held up by two men at gunpoint. ‘Do this right,’ says one ‘and it will all be over in five minutes’.

Cut to 58 hours later, and it wasn’t over in five minutes. The bank is surrounded by police and helicopters, shots ring out and then it explodes into dramatic and mystery laden goodness.

The mystery lies in knowing what the hell happened in those missing 58 hours, something that will be revealed in flashback as the show progresses. This first episode mainly deals with what happens to the victims straight after. Hints and potential storylines fly thick and fast as we see relationships have changed, zeroes have become heroes, lovers have becomes strangers etc etc.

It’s not overly morally complex, but it has that blunt dramatic edge that you can’t help but respond to. To put it in an overly long metaphor it’s a bit like a chocolate cake- so thickly layered and sickly sweet that you can’t help but feel a bit gross after eating it. But there’s something pleasurable about its wrongness so that a week later you have forgotten and go back for more. Something like that, anyway. Basically: a bit trashy, very dramatic but very watchable.

Alert Me when it’s on.

By McGee Noble

Review: The Kevin Bishop Show Has No Bite

July 28, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

The Kevin Bishop Show

The Kevin Bishop Show   Channel 4, Fridays, 10pm

Star Stories, Kevin Bishop’s previous show, was acclaimed all round, not necessarily justifiably. However Kevin Bishop’s Tom Cruise and Simon Cowell impressions were obviously enough to get Channel 4 to throw some money at him for his own show.

The Kevin Bishop Show kicked off on Friday night at 10pm. A sketch comedy, it is formatted as though flicking through channels, grabbing bits and pieces of news, movies and TV. It’s a potentially good structure for comedy (and others have used it before) allowing Bishop to lampoon a variety of pop culture references from The Dark Knight to ads for the Daily Mail.

However, honestly, it’s a bit shitzophrenic and only mildly humorous. It brings a few laughs, and is never downright unfunny but neither does it really innovate nor give you a giggle fit. There are a few moments that work well- Publicity, the new scent by Sienna Miller- had the sharp edge of good comedy. But then it is let down by skits like ‘The Bourne Realisation’ in which Jason Bourne remembers that he’s gay, with the tagline ‘Bumming soon’. Yes. Really. That is the ‘hilarious’ gag at the end of the joke. It’s the kind of thing my 10 year old cousin might find funny but that most people think is mildly offensive with a total absence of comic payoff. Luckily there are only a few jokes like this in the show.

What has let the show down is that its channel flicking structure and super quick gags means that less than decent jokes have made their way into the program. While the impressions are passable, they are rarely very good and occasionally really horrible.

Despite flying high from Star Stories, Kevin Bishop has definitely kept the safety net on for this one. Easy to watch, but really, a bit of a disappointment.

Pick of the week: Monday 28th July

July 28, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Monday 28th July- Sunday 3rd August

The Seventh SealFILM: THE SEVENTH SEAL
Film 4 Tuesday 29th July 10:45pm Alert Me!

On the first anniversary of his death, Film4 presents a short season of films by Ingmar Bergman. One of cinema’s seminal films, Ingmar Bergman’s masterpiece passes the test of time. A knight and his squire (Max Von Sydow and Gunnar Bjornstrand), returning home from the Crusades through a plague-ridden land, meet Death (Bengt Ekerot) who engages the knight in a chess game as the pair debate the mysteries of life, faith and death itself.

House of SaddamHOUSE OF SADDAM
BBC TWO Wednesdaay 30th July 9pm Alert Me!

Igal Naor plays the ruthless dictator Saddam Hussein in a gripping, new, four-part drama series that charts the rise and fall of one of the most significant political figures in recent history.
As war wages, Saddam faces troubles at home; the death of his domineering mother; the youthful nonchalance of his son and heir, Uday; and the deterioration of alliances with Barzan Ibrahim, his half-brother and former deputy. Saddam finds solace in the beautiful, married, Samira Shahbandar, who becomes his mistress much to the chagrin of his glamorous wife – Sajida.

CluelessFILM: CLUELESS
Thursday 31st July 9pm Alert Me!

Amy Heckerling, who directed the superb Fast Times at Ridgemont High , scores again with this high-school take on Jane Austen’s Emma . Alicia Silverstone plays Cher Horowitz who, thanks to her rich lawyer daddy, has it all. She and her school friend Dionne (Stacey Dash) decide to take new girl Tai (Brittany Murphy) under their wing and make sure she finds a date. They succeed, only to find they’ve created a monster…

Dangerous Jobs For GirlsDANGEROUS JOBS FOR GIRLS
Channel 4 Wednesday 30th July 10pm Alert Me!

What happens when high-flying career women, who think there’s nothing they can’t do, meet men who think women aren’t up to the job? In the flood plains of Brazil, the forests of north-west Canada, the grasslands of South Africa, and the Southern oceans of Australia, there are jobs so dangerous that they’ve been done by men alone for generations – until now. In a new documentary adventure series, four teams of high-achieving British women travel to four far-flung corners of the world to take on tough, physical jobs. Can the women beat the boys at their own game? In tonight’s opening episode three women head to Brazil to work as cowboys.

MY STRANGE BRAIN
Channel 5 Thursday 31st July 11pm Alert Me!

This brand-new documentary series explores unusual neurological conditions. The first instalment profiles four people with different disorders that affect their memories and sleeping patterns. One woman was struck down by a virus that has erased all her recollections of the last 20 years, while another woman is unable to record new memories. The film also meets a man who loses his muscle tone every time he experiences heightened emotions.

Why the BBC need a Kick Up the Bum

July 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

rant_tv_web3.gifAs regular readers will know, I thought Bonekickers was the kind of show which deserves to have its tapes unspooled and then used to hang the writers. This isn’t because it was the worst show I’ve ever seen, just the worst waste of money on a show I’ve seen for a while.

And you know why? Let me tell you.

Because the writers/producers/showrunners were so busy going round saying hey you know what’s good? American telly. You know what we should do? Copy it.

There is no doubt that the U.S. are the one pushing the boundaries of goodness and wonder in TV, at least in drama anyway. They have bigger budgets, more leeway and generally it seems a more experimental approach. So you can see the writers room at the BBC, replete with their Marks and Spencer’s undies and a cup of tea going ‘mate, lets put some balls in this, lets make a show that’s like one of those U.S. tellybox things’.

This maybe explains why we get lines such as “Use your archeological imagination!? Not to mention a climactic scene that involves a baddie swinging like a pendulum across a gigantic, hilariously obvious blue screen of flames. That. Is. Not. British. Telly.

Now I’m all for experimentation, you know. Like- how should we kill of this week’s character in Hollyoaks… murder? Car crash? Gas explosion? Or the kind of experimentation you get on a third date- can I touch her boob? Yes/no? These are good.

What is not good is taking a bunch of stuffy English actors and forcing them to act like someone from Law and Order. I mean it had all the prerequisites of a British drama- ageing character actor, check. Something to do with stuff that’s old. Check. And a setting of marshes and countryside. Check. But then it took these elements and tried to squeeze them sausage-like into the casing that is U.S. drama. Make the lead chick ballsy. Make her like Lara Croft, but crap.

And you know what guys? Archaeology is just NOT that exciting. Indy faked us out using explosions and quests for grand things like Jesus’ coffee mug and we were too busy looking at Angie’s boobs in Tomb Raider to notice.

So what does that tell us? Archaeology requires, no, demands big boobs, loads of explosions and a never-ending quest. You know what doesn’t work? Your middle aged lead character wondering around a room full of dusty objects, awkwardly murmuring ‘give up your secrets…’ while the camera weaves and stumbles like a drunk outside your local.

This show was, in the words of my house mate, ‘relentlessly cr*p’. And it was cr*p because it tried to be something it wasn’t. It IS a British drama; it is NOT an episode of Without a Trace, the Young Indiana Jones or The Wire. If we are going to blow our budget on a big hitting exciting drama then don’t copy someone else’s gig. Look for our own inventive, experimental style and take a risk on that. It’s not really a risk if you think ‘this worked for them lets do it, but a bit worse’. That’s guaranteed failure.

So listen up, the beeb: Do it better, cos that was just embarrassing.

McGee Noble

Lovebox: A Festival That Knows The Net

July 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

Lovebox Festival Goer

Lovebox, the festival that took place just last weekend in London’s Victoria Park, is proving that it’s a gig that is really moving with the times.

Started in 2002 by Tom Findlay and Andy Cato (of Groove Armada), today it shows other festivals what’s what, not only in its vibe and line up but also in the way that it promotes itself. Perhaps because it receives less terrestrial TV attention than other major weekenders like Glasto and T in the Park, Lovebox has a fairly spectacular online presence.

They’ve taken the thrill of the festival and have used it to breathe life into an interactive, multimedia website for their fans that is up with the best of them.  Like few other festival websites, Lovebox’s is skilfully designed and so immersed in the progressive world of social media that you cannot fail to get caught up in the buzz.  OnTheBox investigates those intricacies that make Lovebox a leader in integration multimedia when it comes to the world of festivals.

Site design – Clean yet colourful
Lovebox.net
Like the festival itself, the site is inclusive and vibrant. From the moment you click on the homepage (which currently has a great big ‘Thankyou’ before you go through to the site), you are enveloped in a belly hug of happiness, complete with pictures, clips and friendship groups.

Wondering around Victoria Park on the Saturday of the fest, we nabbed a few from the crowd to ask them if they used the site. “Yeah, actually. I think its great.? Said one bopping raver with a pair of heart shaped sunnies. “Its really well designed. Easy.?

Actually, this is a big part of what makes Lovebox a leader in multimedia. The actual design of the site, which is not only clean and easy to navigate, also has that summery, hippyish kind of vibe to it that Lovebox is proud to give off.  More than a functional ticket-buying portal, it encourages potential festival-goers and regular attendees alike to immerse themselves in the space.  Its only real competitor is the Warwickshire festival, Global Gathering, which has an uncannily similar feel to their website.  However, it takes so bl**dy long to load all the images that by the time you can use the site you’ve lost interest.  Lovebox.net’s  simplicity beats it hands down.

The Lovebox mainstage in Victoria Park, London.

Lovebox

No ads – total immersion in the festival

A theme from festival goers who we asked about the site was that people really appreciate the lack of advertising on Lovebox’s website. A graphic designer, Sarah, who certainly seems to know her stuff when it comes to multimedia, expressed it exactly right. What’s pretty interesting about Lovebox’s site is that they don’t encourage us to leave by putting those ridiculously distracting adverts on the website.  There’s nothing flashing in my face putting me off.?

It’s true, Lovebox welcomes us with open arms and a will to entertain with pure Loveboxness.  Whether flashing in our faces or enticing us to other places on the web, the site just doesn’t tolerate this kind of blatant commercialism.  While, there are areas within the festival weekend itself that are obviously sponsored by brands ie. The Metro market, and the Boost Juice Bars Bash, Lovebox leaves that to the actual event, enabling the site to retain the purity of festival hedonism and sociability.

The Boost Juice Bars Bash gets the fruit flying.

Boost Juice

Social media gives fans a chance to interact and keep the festival’s message alive

It is this hedonism that the Lovebox website uses to keep the festival’s overall message of inclusivity and variety alive. Links to Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr and Last.fm mean that users can upload photos and videos and interact with other fans.  Not only this, but they are free to bookmark what they like via sites like Reddit, Delicious, Digg and Stumbleupon to spread the Lovebox word.

The sun sets over the festival

Lovebox Fans

More than this, having a site like this goes so far as to blur the line between when one event ends and the other begins.  There are many Lovebox episodes that take place throughout the year.  After last weekend’s London jaunt, the gig is off to Dublin, then Ibiza.   The site strengthens Lovebox the movement, rather than just a succession of events.

Groove Armada lights up the Lovebox main stage

Groove Armada Light up the Lovebox Stage

Whether it is innovation by necessity or fun, the fact is, the Lovebox.net site creates a comprehensive experience that brings users as close as you can get to the festival without actually being there. Features like a gallery of photos submitted by festival goers make you feel like you are an integral part of the festival itself. You are not just a passive audience but part of the great freewheeling ethos machine that is Lovebox. This, ultimately, is what makes people such passionate fans of this festival. It’s hard to find a more embracing, enjoyable music scene to be a part of.

Feeling the festival vibe! 

Lovebox

Unluckily, you’ve missed London’s Lovebox for 2008, but fear not because the Dublin edition is on August 23rd.

See the site for yourself at www.lovebox.net

World Vision’s water campaign

July 23, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Isn’t it refreshing when a charity’s advert demonstrates an important point effortlessly? It doesn’t rely on overdone sequences that only end up superfluous to its message. It just says, “this is the basic idea and we don’t need to wow you with smoke and mirrors to get you to buy into it?. World Vision’s latest impressive campaign have done just this. There are zero frills and it works. Taking the idea of being in someone’s unfortunate shoes, they’ve showed us the grimy reality of their lives then asked us if we can live with this fact.

Forcing the issue at hand to become both immediate and relevant, their new viral depicts the ways in which clean water is integral to the every day in western society. People are shown washing cars or splashing about in a paddling pool or simply drinking and suddenly the fresh water turns muddy, like that found in so many poor countries.

The deliberate absence of a musical soundtrack renders the ad’s message not only quite sinister with only the sound of trickling water, but more importantly, crystal clear.

Over a billion people have to bathe in and drink this water daily. Moreover, living our privileged lives and doing nothing to help them is living with this information.

To find out more about what you can do to help, go to www.worldvision.org.uk.

Next Page »