Thursday, 21 January 2010

I Pity The Fool! (Who doesn't have a dream A-Team)

I thought it was a joke, but they have re-made the A-Team for… What are we calling this decade? For the tens? The Star Wars prequels ensured that I would never be fooled into thinking a remake of one of my childhood loves would have a happy ending. I check out the cast and instantly I notice that Liam Neeson is playing Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith. Normally I quite like Neeson; I didn’t even mind him in Batman Begins, but Taken was proof that he should not star in action films.

If I had to describe the new A-Team film to someone purely based on the trailer, then I would have no reservation in saying, it’s like The Fast and The Furious meets Oceans 11. The second thing I would say is that Neeson has no place in this film – surely they could’ve got someone better? It was with this thought that I thought I’d come up with a list of who I thought should have starred in the new A-Team. Sadly this didn’t go according to plan, as it should never have been made and I struggled to think of anyone who could match the original cast members. However, my mind did wander and I began to come up with themed A-Teams. Not making any sense? Keep on reading…

The Dumb-Team
Lt. Templeton ‘Faceman’ Peck – Ashton Kutcher
Col. John ‘Hannibal’ Smith – Will Ferrell
Capt. ‘Howling Mad’ Murdock – Tom Green
Sgt. B.A. ‘Bad Attitude’ Baracus – Dwayne Johnson A.K.A The Rock

The B(lack) – Team
Lt. Templeton ‘Faceman’ Peck – Gary Dourdan
Col. John ‘Hannibal’ Smith – Lawrence Fishburne
Capt. ‘Howling Mad’ Murdock – Dave Chapelle
Sgt. B.A. ‘Bad Attitude’ Baracus – Shaq, or maybe he should be white – Mickey Rourke.

If you disagree with or have any better suggestions please comment. Maybe even come up with you own themed A-Teams. I’ll start you off – The theme, an all woman A-Team - Sgt. B.A. ‘Bad Attitude’ Baracus - Queen Latifah (Easy). I’ll leave the rest to you.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Take Me Out: the dating show as biological metaphor

ITV1's new dating show Take Me Out has become required viewing at Manflet Mansions - partly because of cocksure cupid Paddy McGuinness (one half of Phoenix Night's Max and Paddy) but primarily because of its jaw-droppingly regressive portrayal of male/female "relationships".

The bastard child of Blind Date, TMO has inherited its prime time Saturday night slot, but bears little more than a passing resemblance to the Cilla Black love-match. Here, the concept of a cheeky northern monkey host "helping" people to find "love" through humiliation is flipped into a kind of speed-dating talent show, where one single man works to prove himself (read: shows off) to a panel of 30 available women. If they don't like what they see, a woman can hit a buzzer to turn off the light on their podium, and whoever is left "turned on" (geddit?) at the end goes on a date with the lucky(?) feller.

Stunningly, this update of Blinda Daaate makes the original seem downright progressive. While Cilla's show was founded on principles of equality (men and women taking turns to pick potential partners) and romance (being "blind" necessitating a search below the surface for a connection), Take Me Out is purely biological. When the show's website refers to the "survival of the fittest", the double entendre barely conceals Paddy's true intentions: to help females find the most suitable mate.

While the women on Take Me Out come in all shapes, sizes, ages and backgrounds, and cover a range of appearances from Hanging to Just Plain Rough, the successful male contestants are always good looking (from the neck down), or rich, or both. According to show, what women want rarely runs deeper than a man's skin, or more accurately, his muscles: his "body builder's build", his "guns", or - weirdly specific this one - "shoulders". The question "beauty or brains" is bandied around a lot, and never conclusively answered, but all the signs point squarely towards the former. The two girls who were asked the question outright gave the cop-out response "both", but then they were talking to a trainee doctor and owner of the aforementioned shoulders. A man with a degree in medicine and a dating chart on his fridge (2 points for a random) - an educated fool.

The men play up to this shallow attitude during the round in which they show off their "talents". From wrestler to gymnast to "butler in the buff", most perform at least half-naked (even the fire breather, which was a health and safety nightmare). Those that don't stack up physically subtly draw attention to the size of their wallet. I drink wine = I'm posh = I have money. I drum = I was in a band in the 70s = I have money. When this middle-aged prune of a former pop star (now strip club owner) walked away with a twentysomething under the pretext that she likes "rockers", I almost sicked on myself. But I got the message loud and clear: men are either protectors or providers; there are no soul-mates, only suitable sexual mates.

But while Take Me Out may be concerning, it is also compelling. It's classic car-crash telly, a pile-up between Darwin's horse and carriage and a white van carrying amateur porn. Be appalled by it on ITV Player NOW.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Why women hate men (and why men like me agree)

Just received this email from a Facebook friend of mine, who I assume (hope) didn't come up with the idea.

I don't know why it reached me, as it is clearly intended for "BLOKES":

"Recently the females played a game with the men, posting their bra colour as their status and wouldn't tell us what it meant. But as usual, us men eventually found out. We decided to play our own game with them. Post your favourite place to cum on a female as your status. Don't tell females what your status means. Let's just keep them guessing. PASS THIS ON TO OTHER BLOKES BUT DON'T TELL ANY WOMEN."

This may be naive and prudish of me, but I'm shocked that men think like this, and the sickest part of this petty little revenge fantasy is not that men have a favourite place to cum, but that it is inevitably on, not in, a woman.

My friend's status is now "Face".