Brooker Blue
November 27, 2008 3:32 PM   Subscribe

The second episode of the current series of Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe is a special on television advertising (1, 2, 3) (possible NSFW - swearing and nipples) or as George Orwell put it: "The rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket." posted by fearfulsymmetry (26 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Charlie Brooker sure has come a long way since the days of Mean Machine magazine when he did the 'Ask Yob' section. Only thing is, I'm not sure if it's an improvement or not.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:56 PM on November 27, 2008

The bit about the hideous looking British rip off of High School musical in episode 1 made me laugh. A lot. Despite never having seen highschool mucical or the brit rip-off. The bit about it being like a spawning point from a videogame nearly caused me physical injury supressing a lugh so that I wouldn't wake a sleeping child.
posted by Artw at 4:00 PM on November 27, 2008

Payback for the Monkees, Britannia High is.
posted by i_cola at 4:16 PM on November 27, 2008

The Peugeot 305 advert is extraordinary.
posted by athenian at 4:19 PM on November 27, 2008

I quite enjoy Charlie Brooker's work, but haven't we had enough?
posted by Sys Rq at 4:52 PM on November 27, 2008

I think the official Brooker backlash has begun. Certainly, this is like the third round of the biggest cocks in advertising. Might be a good case for Monty Pythoning/Office-ing.
posted by bonaldi at 5:09 PM on November 27, 2008

Thanks to one particularly helpful Youtuber (xthemusic, linked in the post), all episodes of all the series of Screenwipe are up on Youtube and consistently named. I've actually watched them all in the last week or so, after hearing so much praise about Brooker since the release of his zombie miniseries (which I didn't care for all that much).

It's good stuff, but it does solidify my feeling about the fervent self-hatred that seems to permeate English media these days, more than ever before. Brooker's one of those angry-funny fellows we know so well, and when he turns his only-slightly tongue in cheek rage on the actual audience -- you know, us -- it's both refreshing and a little weird. I mean, if I were in his spot, I'd be doing the same thing, but it's such a radical departure from what we'd see on American television, where the rage and hatred is always directed at scapegoats for catharsis, or buried so deep under a chirpy veneer of shillery that it's almost (but not quite) hidden. It's fascinating.

I like what he's doing, and I agree with pretty much everything he has to say about the vacuousness and greedy, cynical, audience-hating manipulation that dominates so much of the media landscape. Even if the argument is nothing new, to put it mildly, the scornful, hilarious, self-mocking and more importantly, accessible way he presents it all is... well, it kicks ass.

This particular episode I found very slightly disappointing (although repeated jackhammer punches to the Advertising Scapegoat were highly amusing and gratifying), because he's starting to repeat himself a bit too much, I reckon.

Nonetheless, if you have a few hours to spare, go back to S1EP1P1 (season 1 episode 1 part 1) and start working your way through. It's good stuff.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:15 PM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Self hatred is good for you. Without it you start saluting flags and actually believing national myths and the like.
posted by Artw at 5:28 PM on November 27, 2008 [5 favorites]

Thank you for introducing me to Charlie Brooker! I loves me some cynical condescension. "Absolute Swaggering Fuckery" is my new phrase of the week.
posted by Popular Ethics at 5:30 PM on November 27, 2008

That's funny stuff.
posted by nola at 5:32 PM on November 27, 2008

Americans are just jealous because they can't swear properly.
posted by Artw at 5:37 PM on November 27, 2008

Thanks for these, you consonant vowel consonant consonant.
posted by steef at 5:41 PM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Self hatred is good for you. Without it you start saluting flags and actually believing national myths and the like.

Well, I agree, kinda. I don't think self-loathing keeps you from self-aggrandizement, though. I'm not sure there's a causal relationship there. I tend to think (to get unnecessary serious about the question, sorry) that self-hatred and excessive self-regard both can manifest themselves, at an individual and collective level, in bluster and chest-thumping and the darkside of patriotism and nationalism.

I'm not entirely sure that the kind of American (I presume) triumphalism and nationalism you're talking about comes from a deficit of self-hatred at the collective level.

One of the things that has been interesting to me recently, since I've started to really notice how it seems to be ramping up in UK movies and TV (and it's not a new phenomenon, I know), is the ways in which it seems that everybody, whether a character in a drama or comedy, or a 'character' on one of the execrable reality TV programs that Brooker so loves to hate, is unlikeable, for example. Well, ranging from unlikeable with redeeming qualities all the way to loathsome, almost without exception.

I wonder if to some extent it's the watershed thing -- the level of foul language and so on that UK television seems to permit after X o'clock leads to the possibilities of more realistic portrayals of the way people actually are and talk, and maybe that's just not pleasant for the most part? I don't know.

I mean an American program like the excellent The Shield, which just wound up its final episode recently, features a whole array of characters that are deeply flawed and often downright unlikeable, swearing and being generally unpleasant, but I don't feel like I'm being encouraged to loathe them, the way I am with much of the television out of the UK. Hell, I like Vic Mackey, even though he's a bad bad man. Maybe that's the thing -- the American love of the renegade, the rogue, the thug and the bastard, and the discomfort that Brits feel in clumsily embracing the same ethos? I don't know.

*shrug* Maybe I've got some kind of confirmation bias going on. But it is interesting to me.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:48 PM on November 27, 2008 [3 favorites]

I would change nationalities for the opportunity to curse that well.
posted by memewit at 5:53 PM on November 27, 2008

Nice Camel Toe on Lulu in the first clip.

Brooker's one of those angry-funny fellows we know so well.

He's OK, but he's no Victor Lewis Smith or Chris Morris. He seems to me to own both a pretty big debt.

I've always thought his print journalism was much better than his television though. His Guardian column often makes me laugh out loud. I don't think his television show ever has. He spends too much time going after the low-hanging fruit .
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:58 PM on November 27, 2008

he's starting to repeat himself a bit too much, I reckon.

I caught a bit of this episode the other day, but turned over during the cocks in advertising bit, because I genuinely thought it was a repeat of an episode I'd already seen.

He's OK, but he's no Victor Lewis Smith or Chris Morris. He seems to me to own both a pretty big debt.

To be fair, there's been a couple of gags on Screenwipe about the show being a rip-off of TV Offal.
posted by jack_mo at 6:19 PM on November 27, 2008

Not really apropos of anything, but I'm here because I have to say that "swearing and nipples" has put into words what I look for in AV entertainment.
posted by codswallop at 6:34 PM on November 27, 2008

He's OK, but he's no Victor Lewis Smith or Chris Morris. He seems to me to own both a pretty big debt.

To be fairer, he is friends with Chris Morris, or at least they co-wrote the tasteless and ingenious sitcom Nathan Barley. Those of you who liked Screenwipe will probably enjoy Nathan Barley. The charachter Dan is very Brooker.
posted by MetaMonkey at 6:38 PM on November 27, 2008

The critique of that wanky Cadbury's Gorrilla ad was spot on. I was mystified/horrified by the reaction of the odious 'creative director' at my last job who was convinced it was the funniest, cleverist, brilliantistist thing he had EVER seen EVER and insisted that everyone in the office, and every visiting client, had to see it while he chortled into his fist.
posted by JustAsItSounds at 7:19 PM on November 27, 2008

...The Ten Biggest Cocks And She-Cocks In Advertising EVER, a follow up to The Ten Biggest Cocks in Advertising and The Ten Biggest Cocks and She-Cocks In Advertising.

Does this mean the same thing in British as it does in American?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:27 PM on November 27, 2008

Nice post, I've been waiting for this episode to show up on Youtube now that it can be watched in the proper aspect ratio...
posted by clevershark at 9:23 PM on November 27, 2008

Post-Empire nations can go one of two ways, self-loathing and pragmatism or denial and disintegration.

Britain kept the Commonwealth but ditched the flag-love.
posted by fullerine at 1:37 AM on November 28, 2008

"He spends too much time going after the low-hanging fruit."

I agree. I think he can be pretty funny on occaision, but he's very reactionary. Nathan Barley was both excellent and also sort of aimless - hating on London Hipsters is pretty easy. If you want to see vicious satire about something that really effects people, check out The Thick of It. It's the British version of the West Wing, but where the assumption is that everybody is a grubby little crook obsessed with power and image. Truly amazing, exremely funny, massively depressing.

I think Brooker shares a similar cultural space to Bill Hicks, and I mean that neither as a compliment or an insult. Everyone who enjoys him already shares his opinions, he's a definitive preacher to the converted. He's talented at articulating a certain unhappiness with current culture, whilst still fitting right inside it.
posted by Cantdosleepy at 3:23 AM on November 28, 2008

I'm trying to work out the physics involved in the fun stunt of puking into my own mouth. It's a puzzler, by god, it's a fucking puzzler.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:46 AM on November 28, 2008

That Ribena ad...
posted by minifigs at 5:42 AM on November 28, 2008

Oh, awesome! I watched the first 4 seasons through entirely dubious methods, but I was unaware of the new season, and the fact that it's on YouTube is great. Thanks!
posted by graventy at 6:02 PM on November 30, 2008

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