The Grumpy Guide To The Eighties Review: Timewarp Tantrums

May 10, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

GRUMPY GUIDE TO THE EIGHTIES: Monday 10th May, BBC2, 9pm ALERT ME

I suspect I’ve been given this to review as an appropriate joke. I’m the grumpiest person in the office and the first person to denounce anything as, shall we say, not quite as good as it should be. So this looks tailor-made for me – a miserable git’s guide to the decade that taste forgot.

As usual for the series, it’s narrated by professional misery guts Geoffrey Palmer, whose deadpan tone is perfect for just the right amount of withering disdain this decade deserves. It features the standard assortment of talking heads – comedians (Al Murray, Ed Byrne, Shappi Khorsandi), old presenters (Terry Christian) people you sort of recognise but can’t quite place and bizarrely Huey Morgan from the Fun Lovin’ Criminals.

The show lampoons obvious targets (bad music, bad haircuts, shoulder pads, poll tax – pretty much a list of things that you’d get if you were asked to name on Family Fortunes, “Things that were crap about the 80s?) but does make you realise how staggeringly awful the 80s actually were. Some of this stuff actually boggles the mind.

As the Calvin Harris song goes, “It was acceptable in the 80s?. Why was it acceptable in the 80s? For the love of all that is holy why? It’s like a gateway to a parallel dimension where the words “taste? and “subtlety? have been completely removed from everyone’s collective consciousness.

It’s all good fun and for the first half, everything that’s mentioned should be cast into the eternal fires of damnation but you can’t help but feel that they’re starting to run out of steam toward the end, when they start disparaging genuinely good inventions.

For example, what exactly is wrong with the microwave? Not everything from the eighties was utterly abysmal and it feels like a desperate attempt to tar everything from that decade with the same brush.

There’s no depth to the analysis – just a lot of “slebs? sitting around and bitching about the 80s; it’s as superficial as the decade it’s trying to disparage. But it’s good Monday night viewing if you’re feeling particularly grumpy about having to go to work in the morning – a kind of cynical nostalgia trip and a good distraction from all that hard mullet growing you’ve got planned.