Luke on TV – Benidorm, Teenage Kicks, The Bachelor

by | Apr 2, 2008 | All, Reviews

Yay! Echo Beach has finished! In its place comes comedy – the return of the surprise hit from last year, Benidorm, and new-on-TV-previously-on-Radio 4 show, Teenage Kicks, from Adrian Edmondson.

For some reason, some folks here at thecustard.tv don’t enjoy Benidorm so I’m here to come to its defence.When I nine, we lived in Spain and I saw the same kind of characters flock to Benidorm for their summer holidays watching Only Fools & Horses in a Spanish pub called The Red Lion and complaining to the locals you couldn’t get a decent bacon butty. Benidorm relies on one liners and perhaps over-the-top stereotypes but it does paint a rather true picture of the Benidorm I remember. One gripe: Johnny Vegas is underused.

On the other hand, the second helping of ITV comedy, Teenage Kicks, about an ageing punk rocker who lives with his kids in a cupboard under the stairs was dire. To start with, the audience laughter filled my living room. Why do audiences need to laugh after every line and sometimes after every entrance? I’ve been to a few TV tapings and none of them filled the studio with laughing gas – but it was certainly required for this dismal, old-fashioned and out-of-style sitcom.

The premise feels like it has been done before and the jokes were often so predictable I was worried at one point I had either become physic or helped writing the script. Edmondson’s voice grated on me and the temptation to switch off was very strong. The kids did their best in the parts they were given but they were portrayed badly. The whole thing felt very 1980s; more Rick Astley than the Jam! I can’t see this doing too well. If Amy Winehouse happened to be watching, it may well have been an eerie view of her future but this was supposed to be a comedy and it didn’t deliver in the slightest.

Is it just me or is TV really bad at the moment? There was a time I’d be spoilt for choice from the four main channels. Taking Tuesday as an example, Hotel Babylon is the only programme of interest and now that Max Beasley has moved on, it won’t be long before I do. BBC2 has Horizon which can sometimes be interesting but hasn’t really sparked my interest yet this year. ITV has the cheaply made Cops with Cameras (my new series Lads with Laptops starts soon!) and Channel 4 has The Diets That Time Forgot, a silly series with women forced into corsets and men moaning about having to get on the scales. Even the voiceover seems to have lost the will to live. The only saving grace on a Tuesday is Shameless which is still as entertaining with the right mix of drama and comedy after five series. Is it just me being picky or have standards really dropped this year? I want a gritty drama to get my many teeth into and although ITV’s The Fixer is slick and stylish I’m not as gripped as I want to be.

Last week I told you of VH1’s new brilliantly cringeworthy series I Know My Kid’s a Star. This is a real gem and it got even better and even more toe curling this week. Who knew child abuse would make for such entertaining series? This week saw the kids and their truly insane parents voice a brand new cartoon. Rocky, the mum who stole last week’s opener for all the wrong reasons, showed no signs of returning to planet earth this week, “coaching” daughter Hailey with the intensity of a football manager in the cup final. The show is brilliant and I don’t want it to end. Each week a team (parent and child) is eliminated but the most enjoyable bit is when the parents are told bluntly that they are ruining their child’s chance of a normal childhood and that, in most cases, their child hasn’t got an ounce of talent let alone the IT factor that the show is searching. I’ll be sure to keep you up to date on Rocky’s antics as I’ve got my PVR set to record every episode as it airs! I’ve a new obsession!

The Bachelor was one of the first US reality series; it came before American Idol and Dancing With The Stars and, because these things don’t seem to ever die, it is still going strong. The basic premise sees women (usually desperate and deeply embarrassing) compete for the affection of a wealthy bachelor with the eventual prospect of a proposal at the end of the series. Its all very romantic and realistic, of course (note the sarcasm). This series is slightly different because the ladies are fighting for the affections of a British man. The Bachelor London Calling! is filled with the usual amount of cattiness and bitching and even a lot of British stereotypes.

Mind you, it’s not hard to make 27-year-old global financier Matt Grant look suave, distinguished and posh when everyone around him is desperately trying to impress him with their ballet and opera skills. I did enjoy how Grant took everything with a pinch of salt and has as much pleasure watching the circus around him as the audience does. I just hope the series doesn’t end with a proposal. I’d be happier if it ended with them all fighting to the death! The Bachelor has proved popular for nearly nine years and the producers now exactly who to pick to make the most awfully engrossing TV they can. But the format felt dated and overdone a few series ago and that hasn’t changed even if the British twist.

I’d like to give my CRUMBLETASTIC medal to I Know My Kid’s A Star as it didn’t dip in the second episode. The BLACK PUDDING must go to Teenage Kicks because its not the early 1980s!

Do you agree that Teenage Kicks was an over the top, outdated sitcom? And that Benidorm isn’t as bad as some say? Feel free to add your comments below.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles

02/04/2008

Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!

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