Small Screen Surfin'

2 Conversations

Interesting Sunday viewing for me last week watching what was essentially the Murdoch Express:
Sky One had The Simpsons then Malcolm in the Middle with Oliver Beene after,

followed by a quick switch over to 'five'1 (which used to be Channel 5 before they wanted to butcher captials and
numbers) for The Spider-Man Story 2. So I might as well drag all of my reader along for the

18:30 - The Simpsons

Ah the good old days when The Simpsons was funny for the right reasons *sniff*. T'was the
episode in which Marge (Simpson) celebrates her birthday and Lisa (Simpson) makes a card, Bart
(Simpson) gives a bottle of French perfume and Homer (Simpson) gets her a bowling bowl as a gift
intended for himself. Enraged by her husband's selfishness2 she chooses to go bowling out of spite and meets

Jaque, a Frrrench bowling instructor. Could Marge and Homer's marriage be in danger? Yeeeee-

I find it worrying that they're considering the latest series to be the last. Especially when it's put

down to lack of ideas. I'm sure there's plenty of episodes that can be written that aren't:

  1. Clip-show
  2. Collection of short stories
  3. A hair-brained scheme

I don't think the show is dead just because the later series aren't much cop. The ones now are
getting too slap-stick from the abstract life the earlier series successfully showed. It used to be that

really weird things happened in only the Hallowe'en episodes but 'The Simpsons are to X' episodes
are tiring and it has become The Homer Show. It's a shame 'cause I think there's still a lot of
untapped funnies in the programme somewhere...

19:00 - Malcolm in the Middle

Meet 'the somewhere'. The real-life Simpsons as it were. The difference is MitM's jokes
grow because, well, the cast does too. When first broadcast this was hailed as the successor to the
Simpsons and I agree to an extent. How can you have the Simpsons without being the Simpsons? Make
them real people! 'Brilliant!' I hear a Fox executive cry. I'm not one to mention Red Dwarf
alot *COUGH* bit MitM's created by the same guy, Linwood Boomer, that wrote a USA Red Dwarf
pilot. My point? Not sure there is one but you know that next time for a pub quiz.

The Simpsons are stuck in a perpetual time loop, Bart 10, Lisa 8 etc. etc. where as Malcolm in the
Middle doesn't have a choice because it uses child actors thus they have to change or get plastic
surgery. Now this seems to be going off-air soon. Possibly for the same reason as the
Simpsons. It's about family/growing up. They've done the baby, puberty, 'adult', so unless they want
to ignore the basis on what the programme was set they'll have to rely on plot. I think this could get
away with it but that's just me. Oh and the plot was something to do with dogs, secret agents and
clingy parents.

19:30 - Oliver Beene

This programme is NEW to the UK! And I think, unlike the NEW to Paramount Comedy show Two and a Half Men, is funny...

Rather interesting of Sky One to have these shows back to back (Simpsons, MitM and Oliver
Beene) with 'The Simpson's being the forerunner in this chain because it's The Simpsons then, as
mentioned, Malcolm is basically The 'Real-Life' Simpsons. So what could Oliver Beene have
that tries to make itself different while having the original's appeal? We-ell it's set in the 1960s and

I think I can say without contradiction that this programme is the first to ever have a gay ten
year-old3 and introducing his pal the show flash-forwards to
what Oliver's friend will4 become. Cue shudder-inducing Judy
Garland picture in locker.

I hope these flash-forwards are more than a one-off for the pilot because they're rather
enjoyable in what is a nice relaxing Sunday programme. I say this now but no doubt it's on a Thursday

or something in the US. Doesn't matter as long as it's not Last of the Summer Wine.

Onto the family bit. Eccentric dad, ditzy mother, sport/love lovin' brother etc. etc. You know the
drill by now people. Overall it'll be a fine heir to The Simpsons throne if Oliver Beene isn't axed
after two seasons as well as a seat warmer for the next season of Scrubs which incidentally

similar features.

20:00 - The Spider-Man Story 2

Most insulting programme around. In the newspapers it was marked as The Spider-Man Story
without the 2. And hadn't said it was a repeat thus why I watched it. Somewhere the back of my mind
was telling me I'd seen this before. And I had. In 2002 with the first movie. IT WAS EXACTLY
THE SAME bar the occasional Spider-Man 2 clip in place of the first. Complete bol....

Keep Surfin'! Especially with lazy TV like that on to tie in with movies!

Small Screen Surfin'


15.07.04 Front Page

Back Issue Page

1Yes there is a fifth button on your terrestrial

2After all, how dare he get a
present for himself on HER birthday.
3Which is weird 'cause he sounds 20-30 years old which would mean he's telling

these stories in around the 1990s
4Or has

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