UK TV drama departments are institutionally incapable of having fun.
you doubt me
Imagine for a second what BBC1 would have done if it had gotten its miserable, guilt-ridden hands on Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty.
First off, it wouldn’t have been the LA Lakers.
They would have been a netball team, and instead of the booming 1980s, viewers would have been teleported back to 1950s Windrush-generation London, where every other scene would have been a machine-crunching metaphor for slavery and the ills of the world British Empire and blah blah blah.
Then be forever grateful that the best drama of the year is in the safe hands of Sky Atlantic, and this week with a sly nod to the nudity that followed, but none of those pinching season two ‘cancellation’ warnings time has returned” or words that some people might find offensive.
And frankly, why should they?
Winning Time is set in an uncompromisingly brash and much happier decade when the Lakers, led by genius Earvin “Magic” Johnson and played with great charm by Quincy Isaiah, just won the 1980 NBA title.
I hope the subject doesn’t put anyone off though, because you don’t need to know anything about basketball to fall in love with Winning Time.
As with all great sports drama, the themes are universal – love, betrayal, ambition, loyalty, revenge, lust and the infidelity of Johnson, whose serial crimes eventually led to his HIV diagnosis and the collapse of the Lakers dynasty.
But what immediately sets Winning Time apart from almost all British drama since the Goodbye Pet days is its sense of humour.
It’s really funny and tackles all the big issues with a laugh.
So not only can you see the almost all black Lakers flee the Boston Garden in a “White Bus” after taking down the Celtics in a hail of missiles, but a small arrow graphic with the caption “Company Real Name” comes to life Life. .
It’s also riddled with production gimmicks, and the first episode’s credits even include a name check for Magic Johnson’s speaking knee injury, apparently theatrically voiced by Rodney Saulsberry.
Because of this, it can be said that the show was made with a lot of love and a lot of hard work, but there’s no real secret to the ultimate success of Winning Time.
It all depends on the script, characters and cast not burdened with a single bad performance.
However, two clearly stand out from all the others.
First and most obvious is the brilliant John C. Reilly having the time of his life playing Jerry Buss, the privateer owner of the Lakers who invented the entire Showtime era.
However, he too has to play second fiddle when he shares a scene with perpetually angry general manager Jerry West, played by Jason Clarke, whose performance is made all the more impressive when you realize he’s from Queensland, Australia, rather than West Virginia originates.
Remarkably, you end up liking both men.
And I say remarkable, because in the hands of a British television playwright, both would be left without a single redeeming trait of being white, male and responsible.
The BBC, ITV and Channel 4 are likely to believe that this kind of blatant stereotyping and lack of moral ambiguity makes them progressive. That’s not the case.
It just means they’ve all huddled in a waking corner and now can’t make decent drama beyond real-life crime dramas like The Sixth Commandment, which are only safe ground because the broadcasters’ obsessive political agenda doesn’t match may conflict with the facts.
But that doesn’t mean that winning time is perfect either.
Aside from a few awful hairpieces, its main flaw is that some female characters are so sacred that they come across as boring and one-dimensional.
However, it remains so far beyond the talent and reach of British television that it could bring tears to tears.
What if you disagree? Don’t worry, there’s another pale corpse and a spirited, expressionless detective coming any minute.
Unexpected jerks in the bottling area
TIPPING Point, Ben Shephard: “Which town in North West England was Madchester’s music scene most closely associated with?”
The Weakest Link, Romesh Ranganathan: “Ang Lee’s 2000 film that was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar is called Crouching Tiger, Hidden what?”
dr Punam Krishan: “Closet.”
Romesh: “In British football, which national team qualified for the Men’s World Cup in 2022 for the first time in 64 years?”
Carol McGiffin: “Southampton.”
And Ben Shephard: “The name of which historic English town is an anagram of ROD FOX?”
Chris: “London.” BLELNED
Random irritations on TV
LIFE Stories couldn’t find a single “funny” thing Ruby Wax ever said.
Saturday’s “Pointless Celebrities” featuring six people I’d really never seen before and another I wish I hadn’t seen (Nicola Thorp).
ITV’s absolutely awful Cooking With The Stars makes Celebrity MasterChef look like Kenneth Clark’s Civilization.
And the news that Owain Wyn Evans, the drumming Welsh weather hemorrhoid, has “joined Strictly”.
That, of course, is the only possible answer. Of course he fucking did.
ALONE IS HARD TO TAKE
FIRST new television rule?
The more drone footage a show uses, the less point there is in actually watching it.
The most recent example is a Channel 4 survival contest called Alone, in which 11 sob tales were sent into the Canadian wilderness to starve or be eaten by the bears.
A laudable goal if it weren’t already achieved by Discovery Channel’s Naked And Afraid, which recognized that viewers need professional cinematographers and a bare bottom or two to guide them through the arduous task of lighting the fire.
The apex predators there are also disappointingly shy here.
So for entertainment and death we really rely on the stupidity of contestants like Mike the carpenter who nearly cut an artery with an ax after just four hours and Louie who’s armed with a bow and arrow hoping to “Get some beaver”, which is a bit sexist. . .
However, all the creepy grizzly buggers and creepy sound effects in the world still can’t hide the truth about “Alone”.
It’s a lot of shit, but very few bears.
THE Women’s World Cup is before all criticism (part 12.438).
Sweden vs. USA, in Melbourne, Laura Woods: “Let’s take a look at USA’s missed penalties, starting with Megan Rapinoe.”
what are you thinking Was it a good penalty?”
Good? It almost ended up bloody on the Neighbors set. So no, it wasn’t a good penalty. It wasn’t good at all.
TV quiz. Who said, “I love sticking my tongue in things, but I’m a little scared of the taunts here?”
A) Fred Sirieix eats sea urchins at Remarkable Places To Eat?
Or B) Rita Ora on Love Island?
Doppelganger of the week
Submitted by Paul Field, Belgrade.
Great insights into the women’s world championship
RACHEL BROWN-FINNIS: “As a neutral observer, I’m not neutral.”
Fara Williams: “The cross only comes in when it comes in.”
And Robyn Cowen: Nigeria’s game plan was executed perfectly, they just didn’t score.”
(Compiled by Graham Wray).
NAME of the week. The UEFA official who conducted Monday’s Champions League draw, Tobias Hedstuck.
And if his nickname isn’t Uphisownarse, I despair for humanity.
TUESDAY August 8 Channel 5 8pm The Yorkshire Vet Christopher Timothy: “In Huddersfield, Matt finds himself in uncharted waters trying to fix Kermit the Frog’s anal prolapse.”
Which is the most remarkable thing I’ll be hearing on TV all year long, unless Fozzie Bear comes in next week to initiate his scrotal ablation.
DURING “Olivia (Attwood) Marries Her Match,” the Love Islander’s mother arrives in her nightwear on the morning of their wedding day with a tray full of kibble and begs the question, “What are those things that look like giant rags?”
Those are huge flaps, Olivia.
THE return of Winning Time: The Rise Of The Lakers Dynasty on Sky Atlantic.
Nick Stapleton and the other heroes in the BBC1 series Scam Interceptors.
Comedian Troy Hawke of the Greeters Guild slams Gianfranco Zola at Game For Ukraine on Saturday: “You’re beautifully put together, you’re like a robotically enhanced Henry Winkler.”
And guest judge Danny Jones provided a hilarious response to Celebrity MasterChef for the first time when Lisa Snowdon was blown away by the spiciness of James Buckley’s gochujang chicken: “I think he could have added something to the mix.”