Being Hoodwinked By 'My Name Is Earl'
Not that I don't dig 'My Name Is...', 'fact is it's one of the few thangs I actively look forward to on the box, but I gotta say when I'm watching it I sorta get the feeling that I'm being hoodwinked, albeit in a very gentle, Earl-y type way. The show's lovely an all, a thoroughly enjoyable half hour, probably racks up maybe half a dozen really good gags an episode, but the writers & cast are awful adept at convincing you that it's way better than it actually is, and the tactic goes like this: "It doesn't matter what the content of the show is, 'cos EARL IS THE COOLEST TV CHARACTER EVER, and as long as we have Earl rocking an awesome Smokey & The Bandit '70s 'tash and pulling that beguiling wonky grin evey five minutes and styling his super-trailer trash redneck chic and sitting around his apartment drinking beer & watching buildings being demolished on TV and driving his hipster automobile around we can pretty much do whatever the hell we like, 'cos who's gonna argue with that? Nobody." And they're absolutely right; I could happily watch Earl wander round being cool all day. Like, there was an episode a couple of weeks back where his ex-wife got married to Crab Man, the whole episode was pretty much a bust, but with less than 30 seconds of the programme left they pull A MIND RE-WIRING 'EARL MOMENT' out of the bag and totally re-adjust your memory of the show; "Jeez, didn't think too much to this week's show, might give it a miss next wee...OH MY GOD! EARL IS DOING 'THE ROBOT'! THAT'S THE COOLEST THING I'VE EVER SEEN IN THE HISTORY OF TELEVISION! AND NOW HE'S ACTUALLY BREAKDANCING
! THIS WAS THE BEST EPISODE OF EARL YET!"
There really isn't much of a point to this post except to make the thoroughly obvious observation that the success of the show rests almost solely with it's central protagonist, p'raps more than any show I've ever seen. (Interestingly, this bucks the general trend of 'main characters' being the worst thing about the show, otherwise known as The Dawson Theory.)
Any suggestions for more 'TV Characters Better Than The Show They're In' ?
DESERT ISLAND DISCS
MY ALL TIME 8 DESERT ISLAND DISCS...
Aw, jeez, if this ain't a head scratcher. For those interested, here goes...in no particular order, I must add - this is hard enough as it is. These ain't my favourite all time songs or nothin', but they all mean something to me. Dig.
.1. The Beatles: A Day In The Life
What's that siren? Oh, that'll be your CLICHE ALARM. But whaddya gonna do, huh? You don't choose these songs, they choose you, right? Fact is, this song had a profound effect on me. The final orchestral freak out which brings 'A Day..' to a close DESTROYED MY MIND as a young boy. Jesus, if it wasn't the most terrifying thing I'd ever heard in my life. I thought The Beatles had travelled to the end of time (they can do that, right?) & recorded the sound of universe imploding. I remember as a 9 yr old taping it onto a C90 cassette and playing it at full blast in the garden on sunny afternoons, trying to scare the wits outta my best friend Peter - 'Hey! Peter! What's that! I think a plane must be about to land on our house!' My head-space was altered on a fundamental level by this song, and I'd be far better adjusted without it.
.2. Huey Lewis & The News: The Power Of Love
Because I wanted to be Marty McFly more than anything in the world. You don't need no credit card to ride this
.3. The Bizzie Boys: Droppin' It
Fer the record: obscure early 80's block party hip-hop. I'm unemployed, 21 years old, living in 'trendy' North London's Crouch End with three friends from 'up North,' trying to 'make it' in 'media', and every day is sunny & cool & everyday me & my very good friend Stu get up, fill in some application forms, send off some CVs, play rubbish demos on my Playstation, watch day time telly, watch the squirrels in our garden, walk to Woolworths and look at the Spiderman toys, wander down to the dole office, walk back, 'do the washing up' and dance around like idiots to this, stoopid-fresh hip hop from the golden era of good-time rap music. Makes me smile, makes me do THE ROBOT, makes me happy.
.4. Jimi Hendrix: All Along The Watchtower
It's 1970, I'm 19 from San Fransisco, and my helicoper is soaring over rice paddies in Vietnam, 'To Hell & Back' scrawled on my helmet, sniper fire peppering the sky, and this is blasting from a dansette record player. Forever. In my mind. Can always be relied on in times of trouble to take me to a different place.
.5. Theme From Cheers
I don't know who wrote this, but goddamn if it doesn't bring a tear to my eye every time. I'm a sucker for sentimental telly, especially 70s/80s US sitcoms, fact is MASH, Cheers etc mean way too much to me, I figure I use them as a release for actual
problems I'm probably not dealing with. This is the national anthem of my youth, a song I identify with being safe, happy & hanging out with my family. Sometimes you do
wanna go where everybody knows your name.
.6. My Bloody Valentine: To Here Knows When
Insane white-noise feedback loop frenzy; also known as 'Our Song.' Back when we were super-intense, us-against-the-world, Bonnie & Clyde sixth form sweethearts, me & my old lady dug the 'Loveless' album the most, and if we were cutting classes & hangin' around at my house on a sunny autumn afternoon most likely this was spinning on my record player. Not perhaps the most romantic song in the world (the LP's called Loveless, fer chrissakes), but it certainly evokes something of the heady, crazy, lost-in-your-own world, this is gonna be for ever & ever experience of first love.
.7. The Honey Drippers: Impeach The President
The song that saved me from Joy Division. I'm 18. I'm in a out-of-town shopping place, with Xmas money to burn. There's one CD shop, like a sub-HMV style joint, a real wasteland of culture. I figure I'll blow my cash on a boxset. I pick up the Joy Division set. I've been depressing myself with 'Closer' for a year, I'm real into angst & being sad & yadda yadda yadda, I'm real pretentious & 'deep' and 'interesting.' Then I see this; THE BIG PAYBACK: 4 CDS of rare, gritty early seventies soul-funk with a picture of a pimp holding a shot gun on the front. I don't recognise a single thing on it, but it's only £12 for 4 CDs and it looks cool. I put down Joy Division, and it was the best decision I ever made. This is the first track, and it woke me up to something important: I can't handle sad music. I don't like wallowing. It isn't healthy for me. I was putting myself through misery listening to Joy Division. 'Impeach The President' made me a better, fitter, happier person more prepared to enagage with a complicated world. The funk saved me.
.8. Oasis: Champagne Supernova
As un-cool as they are now in this punk-funk world, these cats meant the world to me at the time. This song tastes like cheap cider, and is respectfully dedicated to Peter Marshall, Lee Gregory & Stephen Ward, with whom I spent many school boy Friday evenings during the mid-90s hanging around in our bedrooms watching golden age Friday night comedy; Friends, Frasier, The Fast Show, Lee & Herring, TFI Friday & Fantasy Football, drinking White Lightning & Stella & talking about girls we'd never get.
That's just taken two hours of my life I'm never gonna get back. I missed The Daily Show. I've revealed too much about myself. Look forward to reading everybody else's responses...