Boar TV Awards 2011

It seems we’ve arrived once again at the end of the academic year and, in honour of our ardent efforts to coast past exams without doing any real work, it seems only fair to write an article that just collates all the opinions I’ve already had without doing any real reviewing. Thus marks the return of the annual Boar TV Awards, perhaps the least respected of all international media plaudits, save for the Fox News Awards for creatively malevolent journalism (unless we win one) and, of course, The Guardian Media Awards (unless we win one).

Most appalling TV performance of the year must surely go to The Apprentice’s Stuart Baggs, a kind of Orwellian Little Brother, a combination of boundless megalomania and irritating youthful enthusiasm. That said, the reason for his eventual dismissal, a semantic error on his CV, was an utter technicality, a bit like Al Capone’s prosecution for tax evasion.

Blandest performance goes to the entire cast of Skins, who collectively possessed less charisma than a small set of Lego men and indeed, at my house, were entertainingly replaced by them. Unsurprisingly, an hour every week with Britain’s most boring teenagers proved too much of a commitment for even the bravest reviewer, but the wikipedia synopsis of the series’ last few moments was that : “the gang, solidified as friends, party together at a local fete”, which sure does prove me wrong.

Most anticlimactic victory outside these awards clearly goes to Britain’s Got Talent winner, Jai McDowall, who was either a singer, a dog-trainer or possibly a juggler of partially born foetuses. Whatever he was, he was Britain’s best at it, and has fittingly penetrated the public consciousness with all the force of a rubber pencil. Most overnight celebrities are criticised for forgetting their friends and family – it’s a fair bet that, in this case, almost the exact opposite happened.

Most exploitative show goes to World’s Craziest Fools, the ‘new’ show in which the BBC rehashes every hilarious camera footage show ever produced with the unique spin of having Mr T at the helm. The programme is unbelievably tedious and its primary (only) asset looks not so much embarrassed as confused.

Most noble failure of the year was Channel 4’s 10 O’Clock Live, the inbred child of Newsnight, Mock the Week and Jimmy Carr. The show had a great premise (or at least what C4 consider a premise: ripping off The Daily Show) but suffered from a likeability problem, in that no-one did. Anxious never to appear too intelligent for its studio audience of guffawing pond life, the programme increasingly resembled a nervy substitute teacher desperate to curry the favour of their students. In addition, Lauren Laverne, who I’m fairly certain was referred to as “any female presenter” until a week before the show’s production, stood in the middle of the set, apparently completely invisible and inaudible, like a wraith slowly coming to comprehend her own death. Thus, despite featuring television’s resident God-king, Charlie Brooker, whose style every student reviewer so reverently pastiches each week, the show was always at least 50% unbearable and continued our ongoing satire deficit.

Most twists forced into one series goes to Moffat’s Doctor Who, which contained more unnecessary twists than a hedge maze designed by M Night Shymalan. These are starting to grate just a tad, especially when you can see them from about 5 miles off, reminding you that the show is really aimed at easily fooled, diminutive idiots. Nonetheless, Neil Gaiman’s episode was genuinely great and the whole series is much better than Russell T Davies’ run with David Tennant, who, over the years, came to resemble a sort of intergalactic Piers Morgan in his viscous oozing of matey sanctimony.

Also, Best drama not watched by me was Downtown Abbey, which I hear was just delightful but am still never going to try.

On the more positive side, Most unexpected treat was deadpan animated comedy, Bob’s Burgers, which initially looked like a poor relation of the MacFarlane clan but actually turned out to be a consistently strong, original, even sweet-natured rival. With its own quiet charm, well-written characters and enough quirk to fill a particle accelerator, it frankly outshone every other animated series. It was by far your best bet in years for giggling at a series of speedily interspersed drawings.

Best comedy half-hour with real live people was the return of Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle, the most artful stand-up ever committed to 30 minute chunks. In fact, even having seen the majority of the material a couple of months before, it remained easily the funniest TV performance of the year and the fact that every pseud in Christendom agrees doesn’t make it one jot less true. Episodes, the highly watchable Joey-based meta-sitcom, narrowly misses out on this award but, hey, since our domestic product needs all the help it can get, let’s just follow the BAFTA’s example and invent another home-grown category. So they can win The patronising award for best British whatever, despite being set in America, being co-produced by an American company and starring mostly Americans. Well done us!


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