UK TV Review alert. International readers might want to scroll down to the amusing story where I forgot my keys.
Celebrity name drop number 0001 in a series of 47325
It pains me to write this. When I last appeared on stage in a professional capacity with Frank Skinner, he went down very well. In fact the audience were quite taken with both of us.
He performed (from memory) ‘Girl you’ll be a Woman Now’, and I performed ‘Massachusetts’. I believe the support acts did ‘Country Roads’ and ‘I will Survive’ amongst others.
So I had such high hopes for ‘Shane’.
No. Scrub that. I had really, really low hopes. But – you know – Frank's a funny guy. And ‘Blue Heaven’ was superb, even though it died a death. You remember ‘Blue Heaven’. Surely.
I am not a religious man. But for better or worse I base my life around a few moral certainties. And the foremost of those is: never watch any form of comedy programme that is broadcast on ITV between 10 and 10.30pm.
But I laughed all the way through it. All the way. But in an odd sort of way.
Occasionally, when I’m very drunk, I play the piano. One-finger job. This is the cue for the LTLP to cover her eyes in embarrassment, spit phrases such as ‘for God’s sake’ under her breath, apologise to the other diners, etc.
The thing is, I can’t play the piano. I play the guitar. But what I do is quite clever. I look at the pressy-downy things on the piano (mainly the white ones, apart from the B-flat) and work out which corresponds to each string. I am transcribing, dear reader. Quite a skill.
And so it was with ‘Shane’. I laughed all the way through it because I was able to transcribe the whole thing back to the original script, discarding the bollocks, crap, dog-turdish, hamfisted, fiasco that was the production.
And the script wasn't that bad at all. The 'bummer' joke was lousy, granted, and it was really just an extended stand-up routine. What it needed was a bit of editing by someone that knows about these things, but I haven't spoken to Frank much lately and I guess he knew I'd been busy with the blog.
The problem stemmed from the sheer EFFORT they’d gone to to make it shit!
Exhibit one: Frank Skinner isn’t an actor. We know this. His acting is his stand-up persona, but moving about, with other people in shot. And this wouldn’t be a problem, if it wasn’t for...
Exhibit two: The Laugh Track. Cringing, skin-crawling embarrassment of wanting to be dead at the sheer artificiality of it.
Exhibit three: The wisecracking kid. Admittedly probably a script fault. They don’t exist, and emphasise the artificiality of sitcom. Memo to self: delete wisecracking kid from forthcoming script based on handsome and witty blogger who holds the world in his thrall from small Norfolk village.
Frank, if you're reading this, give me a bell. There was definitely a synergy between us. Let's put that understanding to work.