Television out of ideas

All viable ideas for television programmes have been used, broadcasters fear.

The hour-long, recurring, behind-the-scenes documentary about how teams are selected for University Challenge, a show whose high points include discussing the ‘bite point’ of a buzzer, has confirmed  that television has finally reached the end of the creative line.

The writing has been on the wall for some time for the medium. Punters have begun to notice that shows have lacked a certain level of originality, falling into one of three categories:

  1. celebrities performing active task in glittery or skimpy outfits
  2. amateurs perform whimsical craft, to be judged mercilessly by tossers or the elderly
  3. one hour show about thirty minute show

While the first is perhaps not a new phenomenon, the formats are becoming increasingly obscure. Production meetings now consist of bored executives etching words onto dog biscuits and letting the office terrier go mental – the last remaining biscuit-idea is then made into a primetime show. This method has been responsible for classics like Tumble and Splash – and rumoured to be in the pipeline are Animal Husbandry and Chess, although producers are still struggling with the idea that is simply titled ‘Goats’.

"No idea is a bad idea"

“No idea is a bad idea”

The second group of shows, a more recent but still well-worn format, effectively involves taking a middle-class pastime, gathering ‘talented amateurs’ and then making them fight each other to produce ludicrous gifts for maniacal overlords. Great British Bake Off is of course the best-known example. The shows rely on taking something that makes inherently dull viewing, like baking, sewing or one-pot slow cookery, and tarting them up with outlandish challenges. It is not enough to simply make a nicely-baked bun – contestants must stack and glue the buns into an exact, life-sized replica of Paul Hollywood’s naked form or risk a physical beating from a riled-up octagenarian. Future series include Loft of the Year and the Great British Ironing Some Shirts Contest.

Finally, the new class of dross – the show about a show. As well as the aformentioned crime that is ‘Watching socially awkward children try and apply for a quiz show, then talk about quizzes, then practice quizzes’, the Bake Off makes another appearance with ‘An Extra Slice’, which can only be awful. Their origins can probably be traced back to Big Brother’s Little Brother, which speaks volumes. Their main features are that they are longer than the actual shows they are about, and almost compellingly boring.

The current lineup is just the tip of the iceberg; as schedules become more and more devoid of things to go in them and people start noticing they’re watching a re-run of a re-run, expect to see new delights such as ‘Getting Ready for Work’: An in-depth look at people getting ready for work, before leaving for menial office jobs. This will accompany the major new series ‘Work’, documenting people doing their jobs and occasionally weeping into their tea.

By 2016 it is predicted that television will just comprise a live feed of whoever is watching it, sitting on their sofa, watching themselves, with information on how to tweet along displayed at the bottom of the screen.

Which is still better than Eastenders.

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Skincare adverts ‘based entirely on what genitals you have’

Advertising agencies have finally admitted that every deodorant, skincare or hair or fragrance advert they have ever created revolves completely on what their target audience have in their pants.

According to an industry spokesman, the whole game is run around the ‘willy/fanny method’ which determines exactly how your advert will run.

If your target audience has a penis, you will create an advert that visualises the following schema:

You’re a man.

You should be out drinking and watching sport with your exclusively male friendship group.

You shouldn’t have to worry about how your skin or hair looks, because you are not a woman.

Ha, women!

You should buy our product to make your skin feel great, even though we’ve already said you shouldn’t have to worry about your skin.

YOU SHOULD NOT FIND THIS CONTRADICTORY.

Look, attractive women want to have sex with you!’

Conversely, when advertising to women, the narrative is on the lines of:

‘You are a woman.

You are naturally strong and beautiful – we really can’t stress that enough.

Without constant attention and upkeep to literally every part of your body you will likely fall apart and die.

Buy our product to prevent the above.

Our artificial product with added technical jargon will help you maintain your natural beauty.

YOU SHOULD NOT FIND THIS CONTRADICTORY.

82% of women agree. (7 women asked, 5 under duress)

Look, the girls are here! Let’s watch a film.’

You need this to live

You need this to live

Batting off suggestions that these tired, laughable cliches are at best heroically outdated and at worst downright offensive, ad agencies have, if anything, stepped up their game recently.

Nivea for Men have developed an advert which spends the opening 20 seconds slagging off women and the remaining 5 seconds having a woman looking so impressed at a man’s newly-moisturised skin that she actually drove into the back of a van.

“This happens all over the world every day”, insisted a spokesman.

Boots and Sure, on the other hand, have been trying their hand at advertising to women.

Somebody at Sure appears to have been reading a book at some point and has seen the word ‘feminism’. They have then gone back into work and tried to make an ad with empowering, strong woman themes.

The result is a hilarious 30 seconds opening with the classic line ‘Strong women sweat.’ This is followed by various shots of incredibly angry looking women, mostly with short hair and tattoos, which is apparently the only thing that constitutes a ‘strong woman’.

[Aside: this is even better when watched with Youtube’s new auto-captions.]

“Strong women sweat. And glare. Other women don’t. This happens all over the world every day”, insisted a spokesman.

Boots, on the other hand, still hold the world record for most ridiculous commercial, working on the premise that it was a really sound idea to portray every woman in the world as a makeup-obsessed pack animal just dying to form part of a screaming herd and get on the Bacardi breezers.

This happens all over the world every day”, insisted a spokesman.