Friday Fun with Christian men, non-Christian men and Tube drivers

Apologies for the lack of bloggage this week – I’ve been spending far too much time with prostitutes, in a writing about them in a report for Vicar School sense. This has left little time for much else, including being in the audience for QI on Wednesday (a fellow trainee vicar and his wife benefitted from this though, so I at least feel generous). However, it has not prevented me from finding a smorgasboard of fun for this week…

Segue-ing nicely from Vicar School are two Christian comedy things that will probably only make sense if you exist in that particular bubble. For the last week and a half I’ve been entertained by a Twitter account in the name of Mr Christian Mann (yes, that is a joke – however, the Mr Christian Guy that spoke at a conference I was at last week was using his baptismal name – the hilarity). Mr Mann isn’t real (thankfully) but he does present the world with a unique take on church life:

I may know who’s responsible for this wit, but I’m sworn to secrecy.
In a similar vein comes the Hey Christian Girl Tumblr. Attractive men telling Christian girls what they (apparently) need to hear. Genius. 

Moving away from the church and Christian men, one of my other favourite things is obviously TfL geekery. For your end of week amusement I offer you Funny Announcements by Tube Drivers. All real, and for this reason, utterly fabulous. 

“Ladies and gentlemen, we apologise for the delay, but there is a security alert at Victoria station and we are therefore stuck here for the foreseeable future, so let’s take our minds off it and pass some time together. All together now…. ‘Ten green bottles, hanging on a wall…..’.”

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I do apologise for the delay to your service. I know you’re all dying to get home, unless, of course, you happen to be married to my ex-wife, in which case you’ll want to cross over to the Westbound and go in the opposite direction”.

Returning to the hot men question, do you remember Dawson’s Creek? Stupid question surely, of course you remember the classic teen drama of the late 90s/early 00s! Like me, you probably have all six seasons sat on a shelf – no? Just me? Oh well… Inspired by a new sitcom on E4 last night, featuring Jason Van Der Beek (aka Dawson) I headed over to his Wikipedia page to discover exactly what he’d been up to since Dawson hung up his flannel shirt and right at the bottom of the page, discovered a link to an utter gem. James Van Der Memes is basically a Tumblr consisting of gifs featuring JVDB expressing various emotions. Sounds ridiculous, but it’s inspired. Witness:

‘Dramatic Dawson’

‘Eyebrow String Dancer’

‘Na Na Boo Boo’

Adore it. Also, blatantly going to be getting those DVDs out after this. Have hope boys, Dawson was never the hottest in DC (that honour went to Pacey/Joshua Jackson), but he has aged very, very well. 
Have a fun Friday! 

Acceptable in the 90s

Over the last few days I’ve spent an unusual amount of time bonding with my sofa (so much time that I’m very aware of how many springs are now defunct and am currently pondering whether the purchasing of a new one is viable) and throwing myself into a time-warp – a 1990’s time-warp to be precise.

The DVD boxset is a beautiful addition to life. No longer do we need to reminisce about long-lost TV series – a few minutes online and they can be winging their way towards us. However, it can be a dangerous territory to enter, as it may lead to the shattering of our rose-tinted nostalgic memories with the realisation that more than a decade on, these fondly remembered shows really aren’t quite what we thought they were.

Last week I acquired the first seasons of two classic 90s series: Party of Five (1994-2000) and Ally McBeal (1997-2002) [the latter was a total bargain – £5 in Oxfam]. Whilst I was excited to be reunited with two old friends, there was a niggling concern in the back of my mind that perhaps I was about to be deeply disappointed…

The biggest risk was the post-feminist legal shenanigans of McBeal & Co. Despite controversy over its short skirts and uber-thin cast, it was still a favourite show of me and my friends while in Sixth Form and into university. [I cried so much the night Billy was killed off that my photography student flatmate used me as a model for a series she was creating on addiction – I played an alcoholic.] My theme song on our post-school mix-CD was Ally’s theme song [the still apt Tell Him], and our “we watch far too much TV song” was the Barry White tune the staff of Cage & Fish danced to in their unisex toilets (follow that link, it’s near perfection).

Not only was there the chance that I might not like it so much on second viewing, there was also the issue of its rather surreal moments – the inflating heads, gigantic tongues and dancing baby – amongst others. Any child of the 1980s who’s watched the classic BBC Chronicles of Narnia as an adult knows the pain of magical special effects looking tired and amateur in the cold-light of 21st century progression. Fortunately, they still work – at least I think they do, I’ve not got to the dancing baby yet.

Even better, it’s all still watchable. The jokes are funny – Elaine the crazy secretary is still hilarious (especially when wearing her face bra) and the legal cases bizarre. My only issue is that then, I aspired to be Ally – well, not exactly Ally, I fancied myself as a glamorous lawyer in Boston, not a desperate singleton. Now I actually am Ally – well the desperate (ish) singleton of a similar age; less so the short skirts, skeletal thin-ness and lawyer skills. Scary stuff.

And on to the rather less surreal and ever so much more gritty Party of Five. It’s lovely – sad, rather angsty and a tad unrealistic – but lovely. Or is it simply that I could watch Matthew Fox and his early 90s curtained hair for hour upon hour? Sure the fashions have aged (though I believe flannel shirts are making a comeback and I honestly think I’d do anything for a slightly needy, longish-haired man in a flannel shirt…) and music’s moved on, but this is good drama in a similar vein to early ER. It must be good as I watched eight episodes in the space of 24 hours.

Plus, I finally realised that the moment in the opening titles that I’d always thought showed Bailey and Charlie (the aforementioned Matthew Fox) washing a car is in fact them sanding some wood – even more manly [watching this again I see that it’s quite obvious what they’re doing – I was a fool, clearly]. For your viewing pleasure:

In conclusion, I’m happy to say that both pass muster in the new century – just as My So Called Life proved last year. (Honestly, it’s actually fabulously written and compelling.) Sadly, what really doesn’t is my old favourite of Dawson’s Creek – I’m not sure it’ll ever be a classic, but it will comfort me from time to time in my old age…

As a final tip, if you’re searching for some classic boxsets, check out the Guardian’s weekly recommendations. It’s a highly diverse list and contains plenty of gems you’ll have completely forgotten about.

Gone, but not forgotten

Having just taken a Sex and the City quiz (scoring a respectable 8/10) I’ve been reflecting on the dark month that was May 2004, when not only did SATC finish, but so did Friends. Around about the same time Dawson’s Creek bit the dust. (Oh how I cried during that episode! Has got to be one of the most depressing pieces of TV ever!)

No sooner had I finished mentioning this dark month to my colleague (who scoffed & didn’t seem to understand the trauma), than I found an article from the Guardian on the results of a recent poll to find the 10 most-missed shows.

It’s a bit of a dull list really, containing quite a few shows I’ve never bothered with – The Office, West Wing, Sopranos & Only Fools and Horses (my sister claims I’m a snob & don’t like ‘working class’ comedy, that’s a lie!!).

My own top 10 would look something like this:

1. Friends (Thankfully there’s 2 episodes on a day, but I miss new ones!)
2. SATC
3. Dawson’s Creek (though I do own all 6 series…did I just type that?? Oops.)
5. ER (It’s not officially over, but next season is it’s last. Besides, for me it pretty much finished when Dr Green left for the big ER in the sky.)
6. The Biz (little known CBBC drama about kids at stage school)
7. This Life (I especially liked watching it illicitly, aged 14/15 on the spare TV upstairs without my parents finding out!)
9. Gilmore Girls (Was hardly ever shown on UK TV so I’ve only really seen 2 of the 7 seasons, still, it looked good!)
10. Jewel in the Crown (As it was based on a set of books it couldn’t have gone on longer, but was amazing.)
11. Press Gang (I know, it’s a top 10 but I just remembered & it is great. Watching them again on dvd has been an enlightening experience, plus a teenage Dexter Fletcher….)

Incidentally, still on the theme of classic TV, apparantly the same survey also reveals that around 30% of people have “romantically fallen in love” with a TV character. Interesting turn of phrase!

Has to be said, only person I can think of that falls into that category is Clark Kent/Superman from the New Adventures of Superman – Dean Cain. Incredibly pathetic in reflection, but I was only 12. Although, now I’m re-watching ER from the start I may possibly be falling in love with a young(er) George Clooney!

Also, well done to all those Wikipedia TV dorks who spend their spare time writing episode guides & plot summaries to even the most obscure of shows! Ever need to kill a few minutes? Just look up your favourite show & read away.