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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Roaring laughing

RTE had an 'experimental' new comedy series on over these last two weeks. It was, not to put too fine a point on it, shite.

This is not surprising, given RTE's track record of comedy incompetence. This is the station, after all, that cancelled 'Scrap Saturday', turned down 'Father Ted' and yet pumps money into endless series of brain manure like 'Killinaskully' and 'Naked Camera.'

RTE don't do comedy. Period.

RTE appears to have all the comedic capacity of a four year old's funeral. The station couldn't raise a laugh with a fork-lift truck. Nothing they do, least of all their own dadaist business practices, is ever funny ha-ha. Funny peculiar? All the time. But never funny ha-ha.

So, I tuned into 'The Roaring Twenties' with a heavy heart and some valium handy. It wasn't promising. The premise, something about four young doleheads and media monkeys living in Rathmines, was obvious and depressing. The acting was as hammy as a gammon sandwich. The v/o was creepy. And it wasn't funny at all.

So far, so standard issue from RTE. But apparently the people behind this particular televisual waste of time are noobies, fresh out of college and still cutting their TV teeth. So, a little credit for the first-timers. The truth is, it wasn't all their fault.

Now, for reasons I can't outline here, I happened to see the script for this show last Autumn, before it was filmed. I will clarify that I had fuck all to do with making this show. It was nothing to do with me at all. But the script did pass through my hands at one point. And I will say this. It was shite, but it made sense.

It had a start, middle and end. Early scenes set up gags that happened later on. There was plot progression. It was shite, but it had it's own internal logic.

But what appeared on RTE didn't make any sense whatsoever. Stuff was apparently cut arbitrarily during the filming. There were end-of-show gags that made no fucking sense whatsoever because the set-up scene earlier on had mysteriously been axed. The net result of this editing by madman was that what little coherence or humour that had existed in this project was cut to ribbons.

Oddly, all the bits that got cut seemed, to my recollection, a little risqué. Which is especially odd, given that the same show happily depicted some goth chick watching a pig-sex porno. (I kid you not, it was that sort of show.)

I can only conclude that someone in RTE's hierarchy, fearful that an deliberate and amusing gag could be broadcast over the network for the first time ever, slashed the show to bits to prevent it from making any sense whatsoever, and therefore eradicating the possibility that it might make anyone laugh.

So another RTE comedy dies. Farewell, it won't be mourned. But I for one feel a bit sorry for the noobies who thought this was going to be their big TV break, and I feel a bit sorry for the actors and crew who put their time into making something only for it to be sliced up like turkey breast back in Montrose.

Hopefully, next time everyone will have more sense and take their scripts to Channel Four like Linehan and Mathews instead.

RTE don't do comedy. Period.


Anonymous said...

I think one of the guys who created it was also the editor. Ray Sullivan I think. So unless he was put under pressure from someone else it sounds like they had a fair chance to do their best eg. they created it, wrote it, directed it and edited it.

Anonymous said...

Now ignore what was wrote, they got in a load of newbies and allowed to create a show with a small cheque, anough to cover the food and cups of cold tea and expect greatness. And they probably might have pulled it off if the draconian camera men and secret clicks did not do a number on it to make it REAL bullicks and then say to the people up stairs, "See u do needs us and we want our big cheques back please!".

Anonymous said...

Sry about the grammer, for some reason what I type does not come out on the screen properly?

Peter Slattery said...

It's a common misconception that RTE turned Father Ted down when Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews approached them with the idea for Fr. Ted. The truth is Mr. Linehan and Mr. Matthews never even approached RTE with the show. They knew that RTE are too fucking stupid to commission something as good as Fr. Ted. RTE are an appalling company. Anyone willing to pay Ryan Tubridy, Derek Mooney and Pat Kenny ridiculously high wages really need to have their heads read. It's no wonder that there is an endless stream of shite ending up on the national stations. Oddly, most of them have a connection with Ballyfermot College of Further Education. Something I'm a little concerned about, as I went there myself. But my opus will be the dawn of a new era in this country. Oh yes. Just you wait and see! Rant over.