Monday, 14 March 2011

What I don't get, right...

Hello to you. The following thoughts are best described as thinking out loud about minor mysteries of popular entertainment, preceded by the introductory phrase "What I don't get, right...". Best uttered in a blokey London accent, possibly whilst leaning in toward your audience and gesticulating.

Why does reformed boy band Blue need backing singers? I just saw them performing their Eurovision entry on the Graham Norton show, and they had two blokes behind them singing along. What do they need backing singers for? They're a group composed solely of singers! It's not like they're too busy playing instruments to concentrate on the warbling, for Pete's sake. Was it perhaps an especially tricky song that really needed six voices? Had someone foolishly invited Blue to represent their country at the annual parade of thinly-velied regional politics only to discover - too late! - that the boys are a mere foursome, and not the finely tuned sextet that the anthemic "I Can" absolutely requires? Heads will roll, I can tell you.

Now, I like the actor Tim Roth, I do. But how come in the film The Incredible Hulk, he’s playing the character of Blonsky as British? Blonsky’s a soldier in the U.S. army. It doesn’t make sense. Did he do a swap from the Royal Marines perhaps? And it's not like Tim Roth can't do a good American accent - just look at Mr Orange in Reservoir Dogs. Maybe he's used up his lifetime supply of accents and now can only do his own, hence the Britishness in Hulk and Lie To Me (ooo, he's an idiosyncratic expert surrounded by a diverse team of flunkies! Where do they get their ideas? Well done, the TV studio). Maybe the same will happen to Hugh Laurie soon and House will become inexplicably English mid-season. By the same token, I assume Sean Connery's supply ran out in 1962.

Why do all Just For Men hair colourant adverts feature men just barely the wrong side of 40, with a full head of hair which has been unconvincingly tinted grey at the temples, much in the manner of Mr Fantastic? And why are they always dubbed as obviously as the old Operation ad?

Mario. What's that about? I honestly cannot understand how the little jumping man from Donkey Kong in 1981 has become the most well known character in video games. He's been in over 200 different games! What is the attraction? All those jumpy, platformy, coin collecty Mario games without nary a gun or ravening zombie in sight. I don't get it. I guess I'm just too old for squat Italian plumbers - the story of my life. Ironically, I recently found that I'm too young for Dead Space 2 though. I had nightmares after just watching someone else play it. Jeez.

What's with the weird mad-haired character on the adverts? Remember back when it was nothing but a manic round head with blue stripey arms pulling its few remaining hairs out? Then the ads got all animated and musical and - gasp! - it's a guh-girl! And she sings! None of which I have a problem with per se. What I do take issue with are:

a) the painfully diversity-aware adverts depicting everyone else with realistic hair apart from her - implying that she's either suffering from female alopecia or is undergoing intensive chemo,

and b) when, in the recent Chain Reaction advert, the mad-haired character (Let's call her Connie. I bet she does have a name at's PR nerve centre. How ghastly.) is flung up into the air, her boobs lightly jiggle. Have a look.

She has nine hairs on her head and no nose, but the decision was taken during the advert's development to ensure that her evidently perky breasts, concealed beneath her iconic blue stripey sweater, would realistically obey Hooke's law of elasticity! Wrong, so very wrong.

I find the implications disturbing, and reminiscent of a similar phenomenon from the 90s. Remember the original Ribena people? Those anthropomorphic blackcurrants that they used on TV adverts a while ago. No? Here's a reminder:

Note the carefully placed leaves (blackcurrant I assume. Or maybe not. Because that would mean they're from the same plant as the little Ribena person herself, which is either akin to wearing clothes made of your relatives, or else they're implying that she's actually growing leaves on her person in strategic places, much like body hair. Either way, urgh.)

What were they saying about the little Ribena lady's anatomy that needs covering up? Were they suggesting that beneath that Michelangelo-like foliage, she has functional primary and secondary sexual characteristics? Did we need to fear a strong wind might unexpectedly reveal her juicy womanliness as Nature intended it? I shudder at the mental image. Yes, I do have a mental image of it. Don't force me to draw it, because I will if you dare me.


Anonymous said...

Too old for Mario Pah ! Mario is an oldsters game. What's good about him ? Well the games are designed with ruthless brilliance hidden behind cutesy graphics and as platform games are rare beasts in this modern FPS-obsessed world wel inhabit he often is the only place to go to get your jumping aroudn fix. I was always a big platform game fan (if I may use an unacceptable phrase) 'back in the day' and very much enjoy Mario (but maybe not quite as much as Bubble Bobble or Rainbow Islands).

I would very much like to have the Bubble Bobble theme tune played at my funeral (it's teh happiest song EVER, you can't hear it and not smile) especially as the intro to Bubble Bobble is a great metaphor for death, I see it like this:

Officiationg non-religious person "Let's take a trip to the cave of monsters" (at this point everyone nods at the deep wisdom of this, how we all have to visit 'the cave of monsters' one day) then the hit the button, my wooden box enters the flames and the music know how it goes.

Beautiful *wipes a tear*

Yeah, you're right about Confused. com ads. WEIRD.

Anonymous said...

Apologies for appalling level of typos. I'm not feeling very well if that excuses me...

The Chocolate Ocelot said...

No arguments here about the Bubble Bobble theme - I think the BBC plans to play it repeatedly on all channels in times of national emergency.

I think I already have made a trip to the cave of monsters. I blame whatever was in those home-made brownies.

Mitchell Adcow said...

How did Mario make it so big while that poor plumber from the Commodore 64's Super Pipeline is probably still fitting toilets 50 hours a week somewhere near Wigan?

The Chocolate Ocelot said...

Yeah, poor old Pipeman. Was that his name? Constantly repairing that mad plumbing while that bloody lobster chased him all over the shop.

Still, cracking music, as I recall.

Mitchell will no doubt be impressed to learn that I have dug out a C-12 audio cassette containing the recording of the Super Pipeline music that we made in the Adcow bedroom some 25+ years ago, straight from his Commodore 64. A tribute to my hoarding and filing system, if nothing else.

And there's a bonus track of me whistling the A-Team theme tune too! I shall have to work out how to digitise and upload this masterpiece.

Mitchell Adcow said...

Thanks for the video - just hoping I remembered to put the very dull conference call on mute while I was playing that! I'll be singing the music all day now - a treat for Mrs Adcow when she gets home I'm sure!

Mark Kinnon said...

Thanks for the witty observation about Ribena's obsessive sexualising of cartoon fruit; those adverts troubled me for many years.

The Chocolate Ocelot said...

Thanks for the comment, Mark. What were the Ribena people thinking about?

I should also add that the ads continue to irritate me, especially the way Cara (that's her name) appears to produce enormous objects from between her animated thighs...