Sunday, July 24, 2005

Pantomime Demons

My new favourite website is TVgasm, mainly because the writers provide hilariously catty reviews of various American tv shows that makes up for the fact that nobody else I know watches them.

A particular favourite of Tvgasm is the unfortunate Julie Chen, hostess of Big Brother US - I had been intrigued by Miss Julie when I read in the Guardian that Big Brother US had a host who was "carved out of wood", and they were not wrong. Tvgasm refers to Julie as the Chenbot, and hangs on every stilted word she utters, describing in exact detail the many awkward silences that occur when she tries her hand at adlib interviewing, her flubs and her Adventures in Fashion that so often go wrong (body glitter and camel toe anyone?) Fortunately, the Chenbot is often wired into an autocue which uses the same script almost every week, so get ready for Julie to say "But first..." 8 times an episode or to use parentheses when talking... "Eric (the fireman from Las Vegas) is this week's Head of Household." I love the Chenbot - without her Big Brother would be NOTHING!

Julie's muted, mechanical style is very much in contrast to the host of British Big Brother - fizzing Davina McCall (probably the only person associated with the show who is not the object of hatred for the entire nation). Davina is everso everso excited to be hosting Big Brother - and she mugs and gurns to the camera, playing ring-master to the booing crowd, ensuring that they're all suitably whipped up into a frenzy of hatred for whoever gets evicted. While Davina pokes (gentle) fun at the housemates, she's always there to offer a sisterly arm of comfort when they're booted out, whispering in their ears "It's all a pantomime" whenever the boos get particularly murderous. It's all a laff innit, for Davina, and we can't take anything that seriously when she's in control, because of her British use of irony. Davina is so totally up for it herself that she'll interview contestants in her bikini. She's such a trouper that even when suffering from the flu she'll just pop a couple of Asprin and soldier on. Heavily pregnant? That won't stop her either - she's had two babies during the show's 6 year run and the understudy has never had to be called in once.

I wish that Julie and Davina could do a "Wifeswap" for a week - Julie Chenbot would be pelted with tomatoes by the blood-thirsty crowd who would chant "Camel Toe! Camel Toe!", sending her poor circuits into overload, while Davina's hypertastic delivery would fall flat on its face with no studio audience and nobody to assure that it's all a pantomime.


matty said...

Yes, one must love Julie Chen! There can only be one! Actually, one is more than enough!

Hey, you've probably known about this for years -- but just in case. If you've not checked out --- go there now! Trust me, the LOST & FOUND DVD's are well worth the price!!!


JayMaster said...

You don't think that Davina was 'up for it' wearing the bikini had anything to do with the fact that her fitness video had just been at number one in the charts and she wanted to prove how fit she was looking to sell truck loads more? perhaps i am just overly cynical!?

William John said...

Oh dear... here in Oz we are all very nice to the evictees... no tomato throwing at all...

But God do I despise the Big Brother-ees. Morons. Just because something vibrates, doesn't mean you can... err... they're just morons! I refuse to watch them at all... with the exception of the "Up Late" show. Mmmm. Then they can do no wrong... ;o)

William John.