The IT Crowd is actually funny. Amazing.

I’m flabbergasted. I’ve just downloaded and watched the first episode of The IT Crowd from the Channel 4 web site. It was funny. I laughed. Out loud.

Ignore the nay-sayers who’ve complained about stereotypes and laughter tracks, The IT Crowd is a traditional, studio sitcom in the same vein as Father Ted, and potentially as funny. It’s The Office but relying on observational and silly comedy instead of cringe comedy. Make a date for it in your diary.

PS If you’ve ever used the slideshow feature in iPhoto, you’ll practically wet yourself during the end credits.

The horrors of the art house cinema

If you’ve been to an art house cinema more than once in you life, this article on Slate will ring one or two bells. I’ve already written about my last NFT movie experience, but I faced far worse back when I attended Cambridge Arts Cinema so often, I actually managed to complete a complete loyalty card (not an easy thing to do). That was on a slope, so whenever anybody lost control of their bag of Maltesers, everyone in the cinema became involved in a mini version of the opening scenes of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Then there was the time a French couple turned up, she didn’t speak English, so he had to translate every line of the movie for her.

The best story I ever heard, though, involved Sense and Sensibility, when a group of country types actually setting out picnic blankets in the cinema. And then there was that posh woman in the audience of The English Patient who suddenly exclaimed to her friend, ten minutes before the end, “Oh! The man in the bed! He’s supposed to be Ralph Fiennes!”


The F-Word’s coming back – with tweaks

Gordon Ramsay in The F Word
Gordon Ramsay’s The F Word has been recommissioned for a second season. However, it’s going to be tweaked, apparently.

I can’t imagine what they’re going to do with it. I liked it as it was, a kind of mélange of every other food show under the sun: a bit of Naked Chef as Gordon shows you how to make something, while roaming around at home; a bit of Watchdog, with that Giles Coren reporting on something we should all be concerned about (food in bins, double tipping, the sewers); a bit of Masterchef, as Gordon tries to make a better dessert than a guest celebrity; a bit of a Nigella, as Gordon chats briefly with another group of celebrities; and so on. There was nothing outstanding about any of these amuse-bouche, but together they made something reasonably tasty and fun to watch.

In shows like this, without resorting to a dozen focus groups, it’s hard to see what people might like and what they might dislike, there are so many different things. All I can imagine they’ll do is strip out a few parts, give it a bit more focus and maybe add in a few things to see if they might work instead. But that’s why I just write about this stuff rather than make it.

PS If you’ve arrived here via a Google search looking for the theme tune, it’s Babybird’s The F Word

PPS Went to Gordon’s restaurant in Chelsea on Wednesday. He wasn’t there. Damn.

Best American artist of the 20th century?

Robert Hughes paints a slightly wordy but reasonably convincing case for Robert Rauschenberg as the best American artist of the 20th century, over in The Guardian. I think I probably agree with him, although Rauschenberg is certainly not the best artist of the 20th century overall. That honour belongs to Picasso, Dali or Bacon; I can’t decide which.

One thing I do recall from the last exhibit I saw of his (at the Guggenheim in New York, 1997) was his inordinate fondness for biros. Probably not what I was supposed to take away from it, but hey ho.