TV Eight or nine years ago I got a phone call from Tris. He asked me if I'd been watching this american sitcom because he'd been sitting around with his family trying to work out the lyrics. We sat on the phone and sang our way through as best we could but there was one which made no sense to either of us.
'You're job's a joke, yer broke, your love life's na na ne ...'
There were letters but it didn't make sense. So I got off the phone got a video out. Fast forwarded through the teaser and ...
'You're job's a joke, yer broke, your love life's Deeeooowaa...'
I rang him back.
'They sing deeeooowaaa.'
'What's deeeooowaaa. Oh DOA'
' "You're love life's DOA" Dead on arrival? That still doesn't make any sense. And it doesn't sound very nice.'
'But at least we can understand it now.' He said goodbye and hung up.
An hour ago Fani rang. We talked through a few problems we were both having and I reminded her that the last episode of the same show was on tonight. I don't think she was ever a fan -- just something on in the background when she was getting ready to go out. But I managed talk her into watching. The phone calls at opposite ends of a decade with people who think of the programme in different ways. Both with Friends.

It's actually a shock to think that it's finally over. Of course the final episode (written by the creators) was exactly what it should be. Within the forty-five or so minutes all of the plotlines and character arcs which have developed over the past ten years came to fruition. I love that Ross and Rachel ... y'know. That Monica got to win again and made a mess doing it. That Chandler was able to square being a dufus with being in a good strong marriage. That Joey came to terms with the changes (although were will the new chick and duck go when he heads off to spin-off land). And that Phoebe found the man you loved her kookiness. But more than that it was a celebration of everything we've loved about the show. Hell, Gunther even had his moment finally telling Rachel he loved her screwing up Ross's chance to do the same in all its first seasoness. About the only things missing were a monkey, an ugly naked guy, a flashback and a final visit to Central Perk for Joey to say something stupid. And more importantly it didn't try to be anything but an episode of the same show. It didn't throw out the formula which had made it popular for years or try and make some big statement. It made just made us laugh. And that's always been the point.

[I wanted to write something longer and more insightful but Lucy Mangan and David Aaronovitch got there before me. So read what they said instead. Mangan's experience is frighteningly similar to mine.]
Film Watching the Clooney / Kidman explosion-fest The Peacemaker in the middle of my malaise the other night it occured to me that this was the first time I'd watched anything panned & scanned in months. With the fact that Sky Movies are showing everything in the correct ratio and I only seem to watch dvds it's not surprising. Now it seems Blockbuster in the US are catching up as well. Now if only terrestrial broadcasters would follow. Even on BBC4, if a film is in anything thinner that 16:9 its blown up to fit the widescreen. Shame.

Scene Unseen:
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: Harry and Hagrid

Film I never caught the crest of the Harry Potter wave. I don't read a lot of fiction and I've found the films to be a bit meandering, lacking strong plotting, which is fine for kids but as an adult I was a bit fidgety both times. Which is why I was amazed to find what is a really strong deleted scene on the dvd for The Philosopher's Stone. Once you've fought your way through the utterly incomprehensible game which passes for the menu system and seems designed to stop anybody from seeing them.

Something which both films do really well is the conflict between reality and magic. This is an old fashioned boarding school with all the petty rivalries and discipline but they teach wizardry. What I would have liked to have seen more of is the places in which the real world and this magic realm interact. Like the moment when Potter household fills up with letters from Hogwarts or when Harry argues with the station clerk about the existence of Platform 9 3/4.

So it's utterly surprising to find this deleted moment in which Harry and Hagrid sit hunched in a standard London Tube on their way to the station. Hagrid looks utterly incongruous in the space and including it would have underlined how different this place Potter is going to will be. It's an appealing image and one I would have like to have seen more of. We'll see what happens in the new film out this weekend -- it is directed by T Tu Mama Tambien's Alfonso Curzon -- which is a really appealing prospect.

[other photos from the deleted scenes can be found here]
TV After watching the first show tonight (which featured at least one moment which should be in the best bits at the end) I can only assume the production meeting at Big Brother this year took place at the local pub after many beers ...

Producer #1: You know what I'm sick of.
Producer #2: Woh?
Producer #1: The press. They keep slating us every year for picking boring housemates.
Producer #2: Yeah. Bastards.
Producer #1: I mean look at Tickle. He was funny wasn't he?
Producer #2: Yeah.
Producer #1: And Jade Goody.
Producer #2: Yeah.
Producer #1: All they seem to want is sex and violence.
Producer #2: Vio - viol -- fightin'
Producer #1: You know what we should do this year?
Producer #2: Woh?
Producer #1: Give them what they want.
Producer #2: Yeah!
Producer #1: We'll ditch the twelve we've already got. Apart from the art student.
Producer #4: Will you stop going on about Shell. What kind of a name is that?
Producer #3: You fancy her la la la ...
Producer #1: Shut up and go back to sleep.
Producer #3: Got any nuts?
Producer #1: No. What was I saying.
Producer #4: Ditching eleven.
Producer #1: Right. And keeping Shell. Anway, the idea is ... we'll pick people who've spent their whole life trying to avoid each other. Like that one Marco -- the one who was madder than Dowling. The screamer. We'll stick him in with ... Ahmed.
Producer #4: The self confessed homophobe! But aren't they both lawyers. Oooh interesting. (rubs hands together) This is good. Pass me a napkin and pen so I can write them down. Thanks.
Producer #1: Who next, oh hold what about ... what was his name .... "the shagger from the shire".
Producer #4: Not the hobbit that came in?
Producer #1: No. Jason.
Producer #3: No.
Producer #1: Yes.
Producer #2: Yes. Err....
Producer #4: Yes.
Producer #1: He's in. Didn't seem like too much of an exhibitionist. So we need someone to add contrast .. erm ...
Producer #4: What about Daniel ...
Producer #1: Who was? Oh the hairdresser. Who likes seducing straight men. But isn't that two Gay men?
Producer #4: Yes. Well. Yes. But put them next to Ahmed.
Producer #1: Nightmare. Now we're getting somewhere. How many is that so far?
Producer #3: One ... two ... Three!
Producer #1: Four. Something about four though. Four A-Levels ... Stuart. He said he was intelligent. So he must be. So we'll have to have him in the house. (finishes pint. Thinks for a moment. Looks at glass.) We need more beer.
Producer #5: (incredulous) It's your round.
Producer #1: I'm thinking. I do all my best thinking when I'm pissed ....
Producer #5: It's a wonder you can be so coherent.
Producer #5 slopes off towards the bar.
Producer #1: What special interest groups haven't we covered. The black political type.
Producer #4: Victor.
Producer #1: Victor! Now there is something missing.
Producer #3: Girls ... ha ha ha ha ha
Producer #2: Ha ha ha ha
Producer #1: We've got Shell. What else do we need?
Producer #4: Five more.
Producer #1: Ok ... ok ... well my girl will need someone to talk to. An equal. Someone who could almost be her sister. How about ... Vanessa?
Producer #4: Why her?
Producer #1: Oh any random blonde will do. Plus she was born in South Africa so there is that international element.
Producer #4: But won't people get confused between her and Shell?
Producer #1: Their accents are different. See. That works. Write it down.
Producer #5 returns from bar with beers.
Producer #3: Did they have any nuts?
Producer #5: You didn't ask for any.
Producer #3: Please, ple-ple-please.
Producer #5: Uhhh. (storms back towards bar) Isn't it funny how I'm not drinking and I'm the one buying all the beer?
Producer #1: Remember we had that bet were we said we couldn't find anyone in the auditions who could be outwitted by Helen from BB Two?
Producer #4: No. Oh you mean the bet I WON!
Producer #1: Yes. Well how about we put Emma in with this lot.
Producer #4: That's evil.
Producer #1: Yes! But we've got to make sure we edit her interview footage so that she looks particularly stupid otherwise people aren't going to buy it. Now I don't want Shell to be lonely and I know we've already put Vanessa in but how about we put that really cute weblogger in. The one who works in web design and spends lots of time in coffee houses -- the one has lots of cats. They can have girly chats.
Producer #4: Kitten.
Producer #1: Kitten. She was really nice. The public are really going to like her. But make sure we don't pick the wrong one.
Producer #4: No. Grrr. I hate that girl. She was mean to me.
Producer #1: Me too. She made signs. With her fingers. How many slots have we got left?
Producer #4: Two. Now I don't really want to bring it up because you know I don't want you to think that it's because I'm a lesbian. But I think that since you've got Marco and Daniel that there should be some equality. Even up the numbers.
Producer #1: But we tried all that in BB One.
Producer #4: Yes but ...
Producer #1: How about a bi? Someone with a boyfriend but likes flirting with girls. Michelle?
Producer #4: (steaming) You're only picking her because her name is Michelle as well.
Producer #1: Is it? So it is. But she did say she wanted to be glamour model.
Producer #4: (relaxing). Oh. Oh yeah. Erm .... the tabloids are going to love her.
Producer #1: How many is that.
Producer #5: They didn't have any nuts. I bought you some Pork Scratchings. Hello. Hello?
Producer #4: He's asleep again.
Producer #5 (sitting down): What have I missed?
Producer #4: We're up to eleven.
Producer #1: I'm stuck. Pass us a scratching.
Producer #5: Who have you got. The napkin? (reads) Right. Right.... that should be good. I hope that's the Kitten I'm thinking of ... That's create some arguments.
Producer #1: So you like it.
Producer #5: Should be some sex and violence going on in there.
Producer #1: That's what we thought. So who do you think is missing?
Producer #5: You're actually asking my opinion for a change?
Producer #1: Yes. My head ...
Producer #5: OK. Nadia...
Producer #1: Nadia?
Producer #4: Which?
Producer #5: Well what you've got here are a series of degrees ... sexual orientation, political belief, some would say attractiveness. I'm sober and I couldn't have picked better list. But what you need is someone in the middle who crosses all the boundaries and covers all the basis. Nadia is your girl.
Producer #4: Nadia ....
Producer #1: The Portugese virgin. The international thing like Vanessa. She's perfect. Well done! Pass us the napkin and I'll phone Davina and tell 'er ....
Producer #4: Doesn't he know she's a ...
Producer #5: It'll be funnier if we don't tell him ...
Producer #4: Look I've got a few concerns. I just went along with him because he's pissed. Won't the press just say that we're pandering to them in order to get coverage. And aren't fans going to say that we're just trying to create pressure cooker and throwing out the idea that this is all an experiment. And aren't the public going to hate us anyway because there isn't anyone to like in there. Couldn't it all go horribly wrong?
Producer #5: Yes, but then he'll get fired and we'll get to do it our way, Early night?
Life I'll be blogging again when my pc gets better and the cold which is keeping me off work goes away.
Who Yes, yes, Billie Piper is the new Doctor Who companion. Oh look it could have been a lot, lot worse. She's a name and apart from anything else Russell T Davies isn't stupid. Out of the hundreds of actresses going after the part if she's perfect, that's fine by me (plus it might mean I'll be able sell off the copy of her first single which I somehow procured when it was released to a mad Whovian on Ebay finally. Look it wasn't may fault ... oh ... err ....)
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