Things I will not watch
“♫ Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo ♫” says it all really.
This is the second list of things that form part of my Duck-it list: The first was things I plan never to eat, and this is all about things I will not go to watch or even watch on TV. I have to accept that I may inadvertently stumble across some of this stuff, but I vow to avert my gaze, close my ears, and effect my escape as soon as possible. As before, those I have never done are marked (V) for Virgin; and those that I have tried but vow never to try again, are marked (NA) for Never Again.
The idea behind the list is given in another of my blogs named “Get One Over on The Grim Reaper”.
But, on with the show…or rather, not!
My first targets here are “Broadway” Musical Shows (NA)
“♫Bally hoo keeps calling♫”
Now, you must bear in mind that this Duck-it item comes from someone who once sat through a whole production of something called “The Toad Knew ” (NA) at The Lowry Theatre in Salford, and was still awake enough to drive home to West Yorkshire afterwards. This was certainly no “Broadway” show but was almost as indescribably excruciating. Even so, I would rather do this again than sit through some god-awful razzamatazz musical of the “Broadway” variety.
So, if The Toad Knew, why the bloody hell didn’t it tell the rest of us so that we could go home.
Anyone except the few hundred luvvies who sat through this piece of pretentious, pointless, plotless nonsense, might be puzzled by the comparison, but believe me, this was not an experience I would want to repeat, ever. It therefore provides me with a firm baseline for this category.
Clearly, not everyone agrees with my dislike of this particular show: Critic David Mead thought it was truly amazing although he did describe it as “defying categorisation”. He said, “…having sat through its 90-minutes and thought about it for several days, I still have no idea what the toad knew, or how, or why, or whether it was important. I do know he or she was right though; it said so in the programme.“
He went on to say how glorious the production was (?!). http://www.seeingdance.com/the-toad-knew-29082016/,
It was beyond me I’m afraid. I thought it was a pile of pretentious crap and I shall not be watching anything that has anything to do with James Thierrée ever again (without appropriate medication, anyway)
It was an experience that I would not wish on anyone else either. OK, I would enjoy being able to force Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson to sit through it, maybe on their way to have their lies tested, but that’s another story.
But, back to the big musicals
As a younger, less assertive person, I was gently “encouraged” to see films that my father quite enjoyed. I suppose that this was inevitable, as we went to “the pictures” every week and he was a bit of a musical fan. Having said that, we also saw an awful lot of juvenile comedy (to please me) and that must have bored him rigid. There were some crossover films that half pleased both of us with Dean Martin (for him) and Jerry Lewis (for me) or Danny Kaye for both of us. I amused myself by trying to rename the musicals we watched – a habit that I carry to this day, so through the years, I have renamed various films as Seven Brides for Seven Brothels, South Pathetic, Blight Christmas, and later, Ryvita, Worst Side Story, and so on. We won’t go anywhere near what I dreamed up for Anchors Aweigh! It is something I now do automatically, much to my wife’s mildly expressed disapproval.
I have also been assailed from time to time by appalling flouncings and croonings from Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Bing Crosby, the aforementioned Dean Martin, and other nonentities, but in the way of reporters from sleazy rags when things got a bit steamy, I’ve managed to make my excuses and leave – or at least fall asleep.
I’m proud to say that I haven’t watched The Sound of Music (V) , Grease (V), Saturday Night Fever (V), Les Mis (V), any Rice & Lloyd-Webber (V), or any Sondheim stuff(V), and I intend to maintain this stance to the bitter end. My days are too precious to me to waste on this kind of Von Trapp!
Incidentally, my wife and I did come under a bit of pressure to “take in “ a New York show a few years ago, but to my delight she would not countenance the idea. Go Girl! I couldn’t get my head around the idea that “doing a Broadway show” was what our companions were keen on – it didn’t matter what the show was. Beyond me I’m afraid.
Third Rate TV Shows (NA) – Life is too short and these run for far too long
“Reality” TV such as Strictly Come Dancing, Big Brother, Love Island, I’m a Celebrity (?) Get me out of here (Jesus! What a misnomer), Britain’s Got talent (That’s an even worse one!), The Voice, X-Factor (the Why? factor would be more appropriate as far a I’m concerned), The Only way is Essex (or should that be Sussex , starring ex-members of the Royal Family?), take pride of place here, and because I have seen snatches of many of these, they remain firmly beyond the pale.
Watching washed up, no-talent, performers show off their own abysmal shortcomings while passing judgement on other unfortunates in search of “Celebrity”, is simply not the stuff that humanity should be made of. No! Not for me, I’m afraid. Dress it up how you like, it is all a pile of crap that deserves to be consigned to the sequined Kardashian dustbin that is today’s celebrity culture.
If my future involves watching this stuff, please increase my medication – I am still conscious.
Interminably “Gentle” British crime series or, even worse, Downton Bloody Abbey (NA)
These programmes seem to be specifically designed to kill time along with any critical faculties that their intended audience may still have. The Downton Abbey stuff is full of simpering twats and the occasional actor; so far from the kitchen sink that it is usually hidden in a scullery somewhere below stairs. The “family” in question may be part of the upper crust but they obviously have never had to earn one. Still, they clearly have the best interests of their staff and the country in mind. Just like todays ruling classes really. The only saving grace, and this is hearsay as far as I’m concerned, is that the costumes and props are wonderful. Let’s just have a documentary about those then.
I am also thinking of almost any of the weak UK “placeholder crime” dramas, The sort of programme that will not frighten the horses. So anything to do with Miss Marple, Midsomer, Bergerac, Frost, Heartbeat, Murder She Wrote, et al, is definitely on my Duck-It list. Come to think of it any film or TV production of Agatha Christie’s work tends to make me wish I was somewhere else, especially if it features Suchet’s odious Poirot (NA).
I wash my hands of soaps (NA)
I am constantly surprised that I can identify most British soap operas almost instantly. I may not recognise the characters but can have a good stab at what the programme is from the briefest snatch. Be it EastEnders, Coronation Street, Hollyoaks, Emmerdale, and so on; they each have a style that transcends the plot or the cast. Quite amazing really. They seem to cycle and recycle story lines, characters, even bringing back actors to play different roles – bizarre really, but not my cup of tea.
Just so that my overseas readers do not feel left out, I must have a bit of a side-swipe at long running US and Aussie series – and we get plenty of them on our screens.
For example…Friends, Neighbours, Cheers, Frasier, Home and Away, Seinfeld and The bloody Simpsons! (NA)
Many of these programmes suffer from the same malaise – they underwent (or are undergoing) a long and lingering death. What was once a young, fresh, vibrant idea has simply had it! It’s boat has long since sailed. It has been flogged to death. I suppose the exception to this is The Simpsons, which, quite simply, should be flogged to death, because of the “wonderful” quality of its artwork alone.
A good idea is turned into a good enough pilot, and warrants a short series. Almost none of them warrant ten or fifteen seasons for goodness sake, and they certainly do not warrant interminable repeats!
Mind you, these are not alone in outstaying their welcome. There are so many TV programmes that simply run on too long. A bit like this piece I hear you say! Get to the point!
So to round off…Any comedy featuring David Jason is a no-no for me (NA)
This may qualify for a (V) rating because I cannot recall ever watching a full episode of any of this actor’s output. I must admit to having seen lots of clips but these have only served to reinforce my desire to avoid his stuff like the plague. So, no “Only Fools and Horses”, no “Open All hours”, nor its sequel, for me. His stuff is on a par with “Dad’s Army”, “Father Ted”, and “Mrs Brown’s Boys”, as far as I’m concerned and that is my scrag end of comedy. If you are fortunate enough to have no idea what I am writing about, just thank your lucky stars. Oh dear, I think that was another truly gruesome TV programme, but let’s draw a veil over that.
Lucky we’re not all the same innit?
So In order of demerit as far as I’m concerned:
- Almost any musical “Shows”
- Almost all “reality” TV shows
- Most of British “soft” Comedy television output
- Most of British “soft” Crime television output
- Almost any “popular” TV series that is clearly past it sell by date
- Bloody costume dramas
- Agatha Christie films or TV programmes
I know, this makes me all kinds of snob, but it’s my list and if you don’t like it, make your own!
MESSAGE FROM THE GOVERNMENT: