Perhaps "Screen Bleach" would be more accurate....
August 1, 2009 5:31 PM   Subscribe

Charlie Brooker, host , columnist and inspiration for Zero Punctuation's Yahtzee is an overall snarky bloke. He has his own tribute song and a brilliant TV review programme Screenwipe.

Screenwipe is a cutting take on TV and TV programmes. It reviews general topics from US news presenters, reality TV, aspirational TV , to working in TV (previous Meta post) .

But then it also sneers at specific programmes like My Sweet Sixteen , the Dragon's Den, X Factor and the patronising of fat kids. Although some shows he shockingly actually seems to like.

If you only watch one thing, then watch his annual reviews of 2007 (part 1, part 2 and part 3 ) and 2008 (part 1, part 2 and part 3).

There's a lot more out about Charlie there as previous metaposts and youtubing will tell you. But as starts go, this hopefully isn't too bad a one.
posted by litleozy (33 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
He's all over the place nowadays, between Dead Set, Screenwipe, Newswipe, and You Have Been Watching.
posted by smackfu at 5:43 PM on August 1, 2009

He is also my hero. When I grow up I want to be just like him.

That's right, a self-righteous yet loveable curmudgeon who gets to make a great TV show about how bad most TV is. I'd sign for that right away.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:51 PM on August 1, 2009

Seeing the step up in class when it comes to the editing and construction of Screenwipe (and Newswipe) has been interesting. Not that it started out weak by any means, and maybe it's just my noticing it, but he's up there with say, Adam Curtis as one of the best makers of factual TV now. Some of the bleaker, rantier sections of Screenwipe can be incredibly classy.

And Dead Set was great. I hate watching all the people who don't quite get what it is he does (having read his stuff since back when he worked for PC Zone, I may be biased) on his Guardian blog page, whining about various columns.

Gameswipe could be very cool, but then Newswipe was even awesomer (urg) than I even expected.
posted by opsin at 6:03 PM on August 1, 2009

I will celebrate the day Screenwipe comes out on DVD in the states. No show has made me laugh to hard, he's the only person with a sharper, more satirical view of TV than Jon Stewart.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 6:12 PM on August 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

When I was a kid I was a big fan of his, reading Mean Machines wherein he had a regular column called Ask Yob. People would write in for the chance to get their letter published in the magazine and be personally insulted by him. It was funny as all hell.

When I was a kid.
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:24 PM on August 1, 2009

I'm a pretty big fan of Screenwipe, but I didn't truly appreciate Dead Set until after I'd seen a bit of Big Brother UK. It's spot on.
posted by graventy at 7:01 PM on August 1, 2009

I don't see any real insight here. He's complaining about obvious stuff. His delivery is entertaining, but it's all the same.
posted by doctor_negative at 7:12 PM on August 1, 2009

posted by Optamystic at 7:16 PM on August 1, 2009

You Have Been Watching, the Brooker current series, is pretty great.

Mocking the stupidity of the media is a noble and holy mission.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:23 PM on August 1, 2009

MiltonRandKalman: I wouldn't be surprised if it never came out on DVD. It's a show made up mostly of clips from other programs and adverts. Acquiring all the rights would likely be a nightmare.

I think Brooker himself may have addressed this on Twitter, but I can't find it now.
posted by dumbland at 8:21 PM on August 1, 2009

Has he ever been on The Daily Show as a guest? Because I think it would cause a singularity.
posted by Decimask at 8:31 PM on August 1, 2009 [3 favorites]

Been a fan of Charlie Brooker since seeing this mefi post: Supposing... I'm too old for myspace. He cracks me up.
posted by jcruelty at 8:57 PM on August 1, 2009

I discovered Newswipe, Screenwipe and You Have Been Watching all in the span of a few weeks and have been become a rabid Brooker fan.

I just this week watched and really enjoyed Nathan Barley which Brooker co-wrote with Chris Morris. If you like Brooker and, since you're on Metafilter, hate hipsters, you'll LOVE Nathan Barley.
posted by unsupervised at 9:15 PM on August 1, 2009

Nathan Barley is great (and if you liked it, find a copy of Shoreditch Twat, a one-off go at similar sorts).
posted by the christopher hundreds at 10:14 PM on August 1, 2009

God, TV is mostly horrible, isn't it? Brooker is awesome, though.
posted by maxwelton at 10:29 PM on August 1, 2009

every screenwipe episode can be found on youtube. just sayin'.
posted by krautland at 3:48 AM on August 2, 2009

Discovering Brooker's TV Go Home (and then being reminded of each update) was one of the highlights of reading NTK on a Friday evening.

Looking back at 'TV Go Home' Charlie Brooker seems almost precognitive - I wouldn't be that surprised to see 'Mick Hucknall's Pink Pancakes' on Channel 5 nowadays. He tried to warn us! All we did was laugh. It's too late now.
posted by BinaryApe at 3:50 AM on August 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Tao of Screenwipe

'Aspirational TV' is probably the greatest 4mins of television ever and 'Lesson 10' is lump in throat time. He's probably at his best when he's not actually slagging things off... though he's brilliant then, of course - I swear I nearly died from a laughter induced asthma attack when I first watched his 'Britain's Hardest' piece.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:19 AM on August 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh and he's currently on Channel 4 with You Have Been Watching.... a comedy panel quiz show that's actually good. There's kind of a tv club attached... because of that I actually watched the last Torchwood (which I'd given up on and was pleasantly surprised by) and Casualty (which I'd given up on and ... oh dear god, NO!)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:25 AM on August 2, 2009

I half suspect that Charlie Brooker and Scottish satirical crime novelist Christopher Brookmyre are one and the same. Has anyone ever seen them in the same place at the same time?
posted by acb at 5:26 AM on August 2, 2009

Oh yeah, YouTube user xthemusic is a very nice person. Ignore the game playthroughs and you'll soon see why.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:55 AM on August 2, 2009

From 'Aspirational TV': "Far better to just sit here and sneer at the lot of it, isn't it?"

Charlie is a good writer and a clever man who does almost nothing but sneer.
posted by Cantdosleepy at 8:40 AM on August 2, 2009

Good job he's fucking good at it!
posted by Artw at 8:57 AM on August 2, 2009

He's got a new show, you know. It's called Newswipe.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:54 PM on August 2, 2009

This is totally fucking Mexico.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:17 PM on August 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

Good job he's fucking good at it!

Don't get me wrong; he is very very good at what he does. But what he does makes me sad. Somehow he never quite seems to make anything that rises above the sneer. He's in the same area as Morris* and Iannucci, but somehow Brass Eye and The Thick of It manage to be triumphant, but Brooker is always exhausting and sapping.

(*Nathan Barley being in my opinion a weird nexus of this, btw.)
posted by Cantdosleepy at 4:10 PM on August 2, 2009

Don't get me wrong; he is very very good at what he does. But what he does makes me sad. Somehow he never quite seems to make anything that rises above the sneer.

I feel the same way about Matt Taibbi. For me, Brooker's saving grace is that he's also funny as hell, whereas Taibbi just kind of grates on me, much as I appreciate what he does.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:28 PM on August 2, 2009

On Brooker and Taibbi, for me, the sneering works because, and this is the only reason the sneering done by the Daily Show and Colbert Report works too, it's not brain surgery, people.

Treat people on reality shows like human beings! Don't behave like a goomba on national television! Don't idolize pricks! Don't make ads featuring idiots and implying to us how we should be like them! Don't elect assholes!

And if any of these things is shown to have happened without your knowledge, don't fret, don't wither, don't quibble, don't excuse, and above all don't ignore. Instead, work to change the idiotic thing you have done as soon as possible.
posted by JHarris at 7:57 PM on August 2, 2009

Somehow he never quite seems to make anything that rises above the sneer.

It might be about 90% sneer but check out my previous link 'The Tao Of Screenwipe' for a hearfelt tribute to animator Oliver Postgate, he's gone totally overboard with his love of The Wire in the past. And in his television column he'll occasionally rave over stuff, the latest being Nature's Giants which, frankly, I would not have watched without his big-up and it turned out to be one of the best documentaries I've seen recently.

It's probably 90% sneer because 90% of television is total shit now.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:35 AM on August 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Swan (brought to my awareness via You Have Been Watching) -

serial killer mentality TV; I can make the world a better place by cutting up women.
posted by asok at 2:52 AM on August 3, 2009

Brooker's always struck me as a disappointed idealist. He sees that the world is a shitty, vapid place by and large but people are still capable of creating wonderful things. And the only reason the balance between shit and beauty is so out of wack is beacuse we*, the people accept it, and watch My Super Sweet Sixteen, and buy Lynx (Axe) and idolise Susan Boyle because Ant and Dec made us think she was a nutbar but like OMG, she wasn't. We can either snark or cry and Brooker's chosen snark.**

*When I say we I don't mean Metafilter. We all have impeccable taste.

**This rant is cultural,classist relativism of the worst kind and acknowledges that the shit/beauty scale has always been off-kilter but seriously, have you seen My Super Sweet Sixteen?
posted by minifigs at 4:54 AM on August 3, 2009

Brooker is way better than The Daily Show - maybe satirical tastes differ across the pond, but that show always seemed blunt-instrument heavy to me, like a more obvious Havwe I Got News For You. Still enjoyable enough, mind.
posted by mippy at 6:24 AM on August 3, 2009

Hey, you can't say he isn't making some great suggestions! Get cracking, Hollywood!
posted by Artw at 10:59 AM on August 3, 2009

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