Diary of an old cheeser

Hi there! Like other blogs, this is my chance to wax lyrical (some might say talk utter cr*p) about a) what's happening in my life b) all of my pet obsessions in particular music, tv, movies, books and other generally connected things, quite often of the retro, old and "cheesy" variety. Hence the title of my blog. Feel free to leave a comment if the mood takes you. There's nothing like a good chinwag about one's favourite topics and besides I love to meet new people! Cheers, Simon

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Who dear? Me dear? Gay dear? NO dear.

Tonight was the last episode in the current series of the "Catherine Tate show." Shame. The series seems to have whizzed by and six weeks is just not enough!!

Ms Tate is not everyone's cup of tea and I will concede that some of her sketches occasionally miss their mark. But most of them are pretty good and have me giggling away. Catherine's main strength is an amazing ability to portray a wide variety of characters who are incredibly well-observed, from the foul-mouthed Nan to Lauren, the ghetto girl with attitude. There's also a very "off the wall" quality about the characters and situations that she depicts, which makes for some very dark, almost unsettling comedy. One of my fellow bloggers, Flaming Nora likes Catherine Tate too (in particular Bernie the oddball nurse) but I can't seem to find the post where she wrote about her...

Anyhow, tonight's episode contained some gems. In the first sketch, we saw teenage monstress Lauren attempting to get hitched to Ryan, her teenage boyfriend, in a hilariously tacky wedding ceremony. Actually I thought she looked quite nice in a decorative pink wedding gown (unusually tasteful for the character) but this was amusingly offset as she and her bridesmaid mate danced down the aisle to gangsta-style music. Even funnier was the bit when Lauren sung "My Heart Will Go On" (the slushy Titanic theme song) to Ryan in a spectacularly out-of-tune voice. Predictably, everything went pear-shaped and Lauren and Ryan didn't get to tie the knot, leaving her insulting the female vicar by asking her if she is a pre-op transexual and "Are you Arthur or Martha?" However the apparently prim vicar had the last word, branding Lauren a "F*ckwit". Brilliant stuff.

Derek Faye is another of my favourite characters, a highly effeminate, camp and closeted gay man who becomes ultra-defensive and hostile when questioned about his sexuality. His token catchphrases are "Who dear? Me dear? Gay dear? No dear" and "How VERY dare you". There was a funny sketch a couple of weeks back, in which Derek and his "friend" Leonard Mincing, wait outside a theatre to receive Bonnie Langford's autograph. Accustomed to having hordes of fans who also happen to be queens (surely it can't be true?) Bonnie provokes Derek's wrath by assuming that he and Leonard are an item. Another amusing scene featured Derek at a female relative's wedding. The bride asks when he and "Uncle Leonard" will be going in for "one of those civil partnerships, now that they're legal?" To which Derek replies: " Do you assume, dear, that I journey up the chocolate escalator? How VERY dare you". He then proceeds to dance YMCA-style back to the wedding party. This week, we saw Derek being propositioned by a male masseur, who following a massage, asked him if he'd like any "extras". No prizes for guessing Derek's reaction to that one.

Ms Tate is also very good at playing other idiosyncratic, yet strangely familiar characters, like Janice and Ray, the middle-aged couple who do nothing but complain about meals they have in restaurants. This week they were whinging about being forced to eat a prawn and avocado sandwich in Keighley - "The dirty, dirty bastards!!" It's frighteningly spot-on - I'm sure there are people who are genuinely like this, spending all their time rattling on about equally mundane topics.

Finally there was a special treat in the form of actress Sheila Hancock, who made a guest appearance as the long-lost sister of the foul mouthed Nan, wearing a very loudly coloured blouse and lots of bling. Unsuprisingly she was just as vulgar as Nan, saying to the long-suffering nephew: "You at university? F*cking poof!" Both Nan and the sister accused the poor lad of talking too much and then broke into an impromptu version of Chaz and Dave's "Rabbit". A classic I haven't heard for years...

Well here's hoping Catherine will get another series. After three series, I think she's managed to stay pretty fresh; one of her strengths is that she always comes up with new and even more bizarre characters. If truth be told the more long-running characters like Lauren and the Nan are becoming a little repetitive. There's only so far you can go with a character who is based around a particular concept and joke. But I'm sure Ms Tate has more mileage in her yet. She is undoubtedly a gifted and talented comedienne. AND she's appearing in the Dr Who Special this Christmas!! What a f*cking liberty!!


  • At 6:57 pm , Blogger matty said...

    OH MY GOD!

    ...if only you knew how much I was wishing to see the current Catherine Tate Show! I just got the second series on DVD from Amazon UK and have watched it several times.

    After French & Saunders and Nighty Night -- she is my absolute fave!!!!!

    I guess I will have to wait a year before I can see this series.

    ...they have never shown her show on BBC America as far as I know. Nor did they ever air WILD WEST in the states. ...antoher series I really enjoyed!

    Ginger comedy rules! LOL!

  • At 5:44 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    Matty! Yes I've asked for the second series for Xmas too, it was pretty damn good. I actually thought it was a lot better than the first one, it took a while to "get into" the characters...Some of my favourite other characters were the couple who ran the wig-making business and the singing / dancing waitress.

    I'm sure you'll like the current series when you get to see it. I expect it will come out on DVD in the not-too distant future ... and sooner than a year I would have thought! That sucks that they've never shown it on TV though - fools!!

    Glad to hear you're a fan of the English comics ... French & Saunders are an old fave, I do find their routines a little tired these days, but they did lots of great stuff in the past. Their skits of movies/tv shows/pop stars were brilliant e.g. Silence of the Lambs. And have you seen Absolutely Fabulous? A massive hit with the queens. Nighty Night I have never watched but heard good things about.

    And the "gingers" were back in the current series of Catherine Tate, you'll be pleased to hear.

  • At 6:06 am , Blogger matty said...

    I think my new fave characters in Series 2 are the couple who discuss their utter annoyance with food diversity in England. LOL!

    "...the dirty bastards!"

    kills me.

    Oh, yes. I LOVE Brit humor. Asian/French cinema and British comics! However, I keep thinking I should find a way to live in the UK.

    Discovered French & Saunders while skipping class and getting stoned in the late 80's --- they used to show it on this network we had/have called Lifetime.

    Then came AbFab. sigh.

    I keep up with it all via Amazon.com UK: Spaced/Nighty Night/Peep Show/15 Stories High/The Smoking Room/3 Non Blondes/Green Wing/Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie/Comic Strip/Wild West--- if there are any out there I've missed -- let me know. I do enjoy Little Britain, but Series 3 kind of lost me.

  • At 8:54 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    Yes I mentioned the couple in my post!

    So glad to hear you are a fan of British comedy, Matt - you have impeccable taste!! Funny to think of you watching French & Saunders and getting stoned - interesting combination ...

    I think you've pretty much listed all the current comedy there - if I think of anything else I'll let you know!

  • At 8:37 am , Blogger AlanRM said...

    The great things about Ms tate is that she is equally convincing as Lauren as she is as Nan - you would swear it WAS an old lady.

    My favourite Derek Faye remark was when invited in Spain to go to the Homolulu nightclub, when he told the taxi driver that he was accusing him of "being in receipt of swollen good" Priceless!


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