I love television. I think it's wonderful that there is a place that nutures talent and let's imaginations flow, creating brand new landscapes for intelligent minds to wander in wonder. But I also like that there's television; a dumping ground for half-formed fuckwits to writhe around in their own shit, using their constant stream of tears as lubricant so they can freely go and fuck themselves.
If that sounds negative then let me reassure you that I don't mean to be. Television has suffered for years and only now is it beginning to throw off the chains of oppression. OPPRESSION.
We supposedly live in a free country but television has always been the victim of people who would rather silence than listen to the freedom of the people, if only the people really had that freedom. For the past few decades television has been on trial and has always been found guilty. YOU CAN'T SAY THAT ABOUT THAT MINORITY! the "man" would say and poor, tiny, frightened telly would shed a tear and comply. AND YOU CAN'T SAY THAT ABOUT THAT MINORITY EITHER! demanded Herr Commandant Man again and, like a child that only wanted to be loved, television did as it was ordered. Soon, practically all groups that form our society were treated with cold, clinical, almost Nazi-esque respect. Irrational mockery of minorities (ie, our culture) was being "cleansed" and there wasn't a single faction of society that wasn't horribly protected. Not a single one. Not a heterosexual male one anyway. It seemed that television was being forced to include absolutely everyone. Everyone except one final osctracised cluster of everyday folk: the prejudiced.
It hasn't been easy to be prejudiced and then relax with a bit of telly at the end of the day since hate had it's 70's heyday. Television has been manipulated into opening it's arms to everyone for years but in doing so it has naturally closed a door on those that hate fucking every fucking one. Well, television has fought back. If everyone MUST be included, then everyone WILL be included. Finally, those people with a chip on their shoulder and hate in their hearts have the medium they loved returned to them after 30 years of banishment. Finally, the apartheid is over.
Yes, the left are well catered for with an array of culturally significant programmes (X-Factor, Celebrity Big Brother, Strictly Come Dancing are all programmes that our liberal, intelligent friends constantly post tweets about) but isn't it wonderful that in 2013 television has decided to turn the clock back and welcome the return of hate into our living rooms? Big Fat Gypsy Wedding (stupid Irish cunts), Embarrassing Bodies (stupid fat cunts) and The Only Way Is Essex (stupid fucking stupid cunts from Essex, fucking typical of fucking Essex they is, fucking stupid Essex home of fucking Billy Bragg, Ian Holm, Darren Hayman, Luke Wright, Phill Jupitus (sort of) and, of course, Charlotte fucking Rampling. They're SCUUUUUM.). Those are just three of the many shows that television has bravely gifted to the prejudiced so they can look down their noses at other people who, no matter how awful, will still be better than anyone who watches these programmes. But it's not just reality TV that caters so well for people with kindness difficulties. Sit-coms are in on the action too. Take London Irish for example.
Where to fucking begin? Well, it's a comedy about Northern Irish people living in London and as a Northern Irish person living in London and vaguely working in comedy, I thought this would be right up my street. But, no. Television did not make this programme for me. It already makes more than enough TV programmes for me, thank you very much. Doctor Who, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia....er...that's it. Clearly television wanted this show to get the approval of anyone who thinks all stinking paddys are thick, so no stereotype was left out at all. London Irish follows four completely unlikeable cunts who say "retard" in an accent that isn't from Earth. It's utterly amazing to me to watch Northern Irish people putting on a Northern Irish accent. I mean, they've already got one.
Not all of the main cast are actually from Northern Ireland, of course. Some are from Ireland but, sure, that's near enough. We can't expect television executives to research things AND feed their coke habit. The opening scene, JUST IN CASE YOU WEREN'T SURE IF THIS WAS A PROGRAMME ABOUT PADDYS OR NOT, features all four members of the main cast saying stupid things while drinking heavily. This was a chance to show how funny, inventive, charismatic and individual the people of Northern Ireland can be...but, wait...then we're being prejudiced towards prejudiced people again. Let's just make them thick and wankered, eh? Oh, and just to make sure, have one of them piss themselves.
So. That's the first 30 seconds taken care of. What about the rest? Well, they're Northern Irish so they're constantly hating one another. And there's women in it. Good to see in the year that Bridget Christie wins the Edinburgh Award for a very funny show about feminism that television is bravely bucking the trend and making the female leads slags. And if none of that appeals to you then don't worry because London Irish also stars Ardal O'Hanlon as a man who has a car.
Why is this OK now? How come we've gone back to pointing and mocking "Irish" people for being stupid? It seems to have started with Mrs. Brown's Boys and even Jason Byrne's new sitcom Father Figure, although nowhere near as bad, is basically a stupid paddy with a stupid paddy family. And now London Irish. How can television get away with making this sort of dated bullshit aimed only at encouraging people's prejudices? Easy. GET THE STUPID PADDYS TO DO IT THEMSELVES! As long as they're the ones being stupid then we can laugh at them all. Brilliant!
Not brilliant. It is actually possible to do Irish/Northern Irish comedy without lowering anyone's intelligence. Dave Allen is a pretty good example. Flann O'Brien is another. While reading his book, The Third Policeman, this week I couldn't help but think of London Irish. Yes, there are fools in Flann's book. And, yes, these fools are Irish. There are numerous mentions of places in Ulster anyway, but the difference is clear. Flann didn't hate the people he wrote about. He clearly loved them. He gave them the same charm, wit and originality that he saw in the people in his life. "Would it astonish you to hear that he is nearly half a bicycle?" is not a line that you're likely to hear in London Irish. I wonder why you don't see less stupid paddys on TV? Are people really that horrible? Well, yeah. They are.
My point is, there are good and great funny things from Ireland and Northern Ireland if you fancied taking a look. You don't need to be reminded about how much some people clearly hate themselves. Instead, give your attention to Flann, Dave, Colin Murphy, Seamus Heaney, Gráinne Maguire, Ruaidhrí Ward, any film with Michael Smiley in it (none of them are stereotypical), Dylan Moran, THE FUCKING UNDERTONES, Christian Talbot, Alan Irwin (there's a whole brilliant Northern Irish comedy scene on the rise), Maeve Higgins...look, there's loads. All funny people who don't hate themselves or other people from their country.
Imagine if they were all on telly though? I think the prejudiced might just change their minds and soon we'd have wiped them all out. A whole minority cleansed.
And just in case you weren't that offended by the sound of London Irish then know this: the male lead is called Packey.
Jesus fucking Christ.