Matt’s TV Round-Up

Is television dead? God no. In fact a couple of shows have tickled me this week, but as they’re multi-channel you might have missed them.

The first is E4’s Beauty and the Geek. It’s based on a US TV show, and the premise is that geeks and models learn about themselves (and maybe get a shag) through working together and understanding each other’s true inner beauty. Whilst this could be seen as horribly exploitative it is in fact quite touching. This week the girls had to ‘style’ the geeky guys. Now this being a specialist subject for most of them, they did an excellent job. One or two of the transformations were properly jaw-dropping and shows what a decent haircut and 500 in Selfridges can do for most people.

The programme also shows how we all generate our own barriers to put in the way of things that ideally we would like to change in our lives. When actually pushed to meet the change that we really want, you realise actually it wasn’t so hard after all, and the change to your life can be quite significant.

It also has brilliant and funny narration by the Peep Show’s David Mitchell. This seems to be the first example of both funny and sweet reality TV. You can catch it on E4 on Tuesdays at 10pm.

The other show that I really enjoyed was BBC Four’s Screen Wipe. This is based on Charlie Broker’s brilliant Guardian column – Screen Burn, which if you haven’t read, is a masterful review of the week’s television.

The TV show is similar to the print version, but as well as reviewing it also does a great job at explaining, something that you rarely see about the medium. In episode one, there was a great and funny analysis of TV budgets, using their own programme as an example (47k an episode, if you wanted to know). And though i’m sure it’s not its aim, this is probably the best programme on TV about the media. It’s also unique that it actually talks about things that are good on the box, rather than lazily criticising everything. Deep down the show likes television and that gives it far more licence to attack the dross.

It’s a shame that this is such a short run, only three episodes, as it could well become a regular fixture of my TV viewing. Though Charlie Brooker would probably kill me for saying it, the nearest thing to compare it to, would be to say that it’s a slightly nastier version of Harry Hill’s TV Burp (a show that’s also well worth a watch if you haven’t seen it). You can catch it on Thursdays at 10.30pm on BBC Four.

Oh, and in other news the brand new series of West Wing starts this Friday at 9pm on More 4. Now if I have to explain why you should watch this then you should go back and get the DVD box sets for the first six seasons.

4 thoughts on “Matt’s TV Round-Up”

  1. I caught half of a ‘Beauty and the Geek’ programme a couple of weeks back and thought it was utter dross. It’s just derivative programming – there are tons of those ‘lifestyle makeover’ shows, and they all have the same video diary / elimination / confidence-boosting tasks / over-dramatised tension points / etc etc as each other.

    If a decent haircut and 500 in Selfridges is all it takes to give people a “life changing experience” then we really are fucking doomed.

    David Mitchell is great though, I’ll give you that. His talents are better seen on Peep Show, Mock the Week, the Last Word and HIGNFY though.

  2. I think Beauty and the Geek’s improving standard has been in direct response to the departure of the annoying ‘contestants’ leaving, perhaps, the nicer beauties and geeks.

  3. Changing the way you look is empowering. It could be getting facial piercings, or buying a really really sharp suit; if you’ve never changed the way you look before, the first time could be fundamentally life changing.

    So, although I didn’t watch the show, as reality TV goes I can imagine it was an interesting and dare I say it *heartwarming* watch. It sounds like it. Good for them.

    On the subject of reality TV I myself am looking forward to “Dog Borstal”, just now advertised on the BBC.

  4. So what did everyone think of Dog Borstal? There’s more to come over the next few weeks… Technically though I fear its more of an observational documentary than ‘reality’ series… slight but critical difference…

    *takes off telly hat and slopes off to feel sick after last night’s TX party…*

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