The tragic story of The Simpsons on Channel 4
There is a second important reason to celebrate the end of another series of Big Brother
these days. The obvious one is that you no longer have to withstand the wretched sight of a group of halfwits staggering about and bitching about one another. The horrible atmosphere disperses. It almost feels like the air around the TV becomes a little cleaner. This aspect is well known and doesn't require too much whinging. Frankly, if you get your kicks from a half-woman half-walrus creature lodging a wine bottle up her crevice then you don't need terrestrial television shows, but some kind of specialist Godzilla/porn crossover best found on those weird webistes where there is "something for everybody." [That is NOT here]
The second reason, at least in theory, is that since the autumn of 2004 Channel 4, the best TV station in Britain by some distance [I hope they don't feel too flattered. Albert Speer was the best Nazi by some distance. The competition here is nothing to shout about] has begun to show The Simpsons
. It bought the rights to the show in spring 2002, agreeing to pay seven times what previous broadcaster BBC 2 was paying. Most of us didn't take too much notice of this until spring 2004 when suddenly The Simpsons
stopped appearing on the BBC, and a general atmosphere of doom and gloom set in.
When it re-emerged on C4, there were reasons to be grateful and a little pissed. Five evenings a week we were subjected to prehistoric Simpsons episodes, which are very dated and look very very poor in comparison to the newer series. Like some strict, patronising schoolteacher C4 would placate us on a Friday night with a new episode [old to those who have Sky, but fresh for the rest of us], as if to say "do your chores and on Friday you'll get a special reward." And so we would watch them re-visit Kamp Krusty, we'd sit through the spectacle of that damn dog of theirs going to finishing school once more and, lord help us, we would grin and bear the Halloween episodes, knowing that they weren't even that great the first time around. The weekly reward would be something sharp, surreal and vital, like the wonderful Run Lola Run
-inspired Trilogy of Error
This started to grate when the episodes on a Friday night where replaced by slightly older editions that the BBC2 crowd had all seen before. And it became a full on act of war when Big Brother
planted its fat beer sodden arse all over our schedules. Why break the bank for The Simpsons
when you can stick something on the air that involves the viewer paying money? Something that can be made at most people's houses for the price of a few cameras and a handfull of shit props like some cowboy gear. Now we did feel abused. Five manky shows a night, the only novel aspect being the irritating Pizza Hut
commercials in between which I didn't even understand.
All of this came to an end yesterday when I sat in front of a Davina Mccall-less TV and realised how quiet everything was. The episode was a repeat, but new enough to put my mind at rest and laugh a little. But because of C4's stingy selection methods, I still don't know when I will next see one made after the year 2000. When you have something so good on your hands, treating it like this is a little perverse.
I suppose it would be worth responding to the Tescos jibe. I have never touched a value Valentines Card in my life. It looks far too classy for me. What I tend to do is fold a piece of paper in half and write I LOVE YOU FROM X on it. Cheap, to the point. And if you write the message in blood it will save you the bother of making one next year.