Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Sloppy Dog's Best of 2006: TV

With our rocky voyage through the unwelcoming ghetto of television’s worst bits complete, the return journey sees us sat in first class, with breathtaking views, reclining seats and complimentary champagne. It should be noted that this list was compiled prior to the outstanding Ghosthunting With Girls Aloud – a spectre taking orders from an impatient Cheryl Tweedy must surely go down as a truly legendary moment in televisual hilarity. But we digress – there’s a countdown to get on with....

10. Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares
It’s always nice to see entire pillocks given a kick-up the backside, especially when it’s dressed up in culinary prowess and business sense rather than for plain amusement. Gordon Ramsay himself is pure entertainment bullion in Kitchen Nightmares, displaying far less self-indulgence than on The F-Word, although each sentence remains punctuated with gratuitous profanities. Having once worked with him, we can report he’s actually jolly nice – one can only assume the interaction with complete imbeciles (i.e. people that aren’t us) induces the furious green Hulkage.

9. Big Brother
We couldn’t have become more involved in this year’s Big Brother if we’d have applied (citing the crucial passwords “I’m a hairdresser, but I want to be a presenter”, “I’m mad, me” or “I’m like Marmite – you either love me or hate me”) and entered the madhouse ourselves. While Davina McCall’s increasing lack of impartiality is vexing (sit back on your fence, woman – you’re the bloody host), the line-up of preposterous creatures inhabiting the house pooled with the sheer wickedness of the producers made for one demented summer’s viewing.

8. The Catherine Tate Show
It’s been justly argued that the third series has been considerably hit-and-miss, but from where we were sat, the faint misses were far outweighed by the hysterical hits. Among the memorable series highlights were Georgie, the Mother Teresa of the North-East; Mrs Taylor’s appearance on The Paul O’Grady Show; the Northern Irish gay-friendly mother (quotes from which we strive to drop into everyday conversation since), and by far the greatest moment of Tate’s career since Lauren vs McFly, the ‘translating’ woman.

7. Equator
Heavens above! How did this get in here? An item of highbrow, enlightening television? We thought the Sloppy Dog telly had a filter for such filth! Alas, our learn-proof blinkers are clearly defective, but Equator verifies shiny floors and pyros don’t have a monopoly on entertainment. Helmed by the comparatively young ‘n’ trendy Simon Reeve (effectively Clark Kent sans superpowers), this voyage around the waistline of the globe made for a fascinating watch. Still, we feel like we need to dumb it down to fully justify its appearance here, so we’ve chosen to interpret this as a grown-up version of Willy Fogg.

6. Charlie Brooker's Screen Wipe
Slagging off the worst of today's television with a panache we can only froth over, Charlie Brooker’s precise and hysterical investigation of contemporary telly translates across every form of media. His US special was a particular highlight – the American audience responding to The Bill and Birdwatch prompted a million Union Jack flags to crumple in on themselves in shame, but his forthright analysis of R. Kelly’s near-indescribable genocide-in-DVD-form Trapped In The Closet was worthy of a knighthood. Ironic how some of the best telly comes from insulting all the rest.

5. Torchwood
It was a incredibly tough decision between this and Doctor Who, as we only wanted to include one of the two in our Top Ten. C’mon, we’re not sci-fi geeks here at The Sloppy Dog *stuffs Once More With Feeling soundtrack down side of sofa*. However, it was the grisly fantasy of Torchwood that ultimately won out, solely because we’ve witnessed it turn a 29-year-old man into a giant trembling globule of anxiety.

4. My Name Is Earl
With the departure of Friends and the excellent Arrested Development being fatefully light years ahead of itself, US sitcoms – once a mighty staple of The Sloppy Dog’s visual diet – had few representatives on these shores. Mercifully, the genius My Name Is Earl cements its place as one of the greatest imports in years. Jason Lee proves his versatility as an actor, taking on the guise of hee-haw hero Earl Hickey in an inspired comedy which ticks every single box ranging from reserved satire to brilliantly-executed slapstick.

3. Little Miss Jocelyn
Another example of a sketch show with a somewhat haphazard consistency, but when Jocelyn Jee Esien is good, she’s exceptional. Jiffy the traffic warden was a brilliantly-observed tale of jobsworth cuntery; in the Omwokwopopos, we had a trigger word that when uttered would produce an eruption of agonising laughter; and no other person on Earth would even think of – let alone get away with – asking Floella Benjamin if she’s Mutya. But the real money shot of the series was the uproarious weave-off, a sketch so visually hysterical no words can begin to describe. So go buy the DVD here instead.

2. Lost
You’d be hard pushed to find a more frustrating, maddening, confusing television show than Lost. But in fairness, we wouldn’t get as frustrated, maddened and confused as we do if it wasn’t so damn good. Exhilarating, astounding and mesmerising at the same time, we can even excuse the involuntarily hilarious Brixton scene amidst the overall brilliance. Having seen the first few episodes of the third series, it seems the aforementioned confusion levels tower above all other facets – expect us to be a wibbling mess clutching fistfuls of hair by the summer.

1. Kath & Kim
A slow-burner for some, and entirely unfunny for others, we can appreciate that Kath & Kim isn’t for everyone. But to those people, we say, quite frankly, fuck you. The wittiest, cleverest, most original and most quotable television show in years. Take note, readers: for Christmas, we want a nice statue of little baby cheeses, a man-bag, a kardonnay, a threw for our carch, a plunger in our Bodum, and to be effluent. Long may the foxymorons of Fountain Lakes induce boisterous, bellowing laughter through the corridors of Sloppy Dog Towers.

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