Monday, August 24, 2009

Why happy people shouldn't follow sport

Imagine, if you will, a fifth series of Blakes 7 with, for once, a beautifully scripted arc. The writers are Terry Nation, Chris Boucher, Tanith Lee, Robert Holmes, Andrew Smith, and Barbara Clegg, plus some guy you haven't heard of to do the finale. David Maloney's back as producer, the stories are a revelation to watch. Because of recent work as jewel-thieves on the side the budget is five times that of Star Wars per story. One episode features location work on the moon, just because they can.

The stories make you weep in joy at the sheer brilliance of them, the arc is not intrusive, but still keeps you on the edge of your seat. Servalan finally fucking dies, in a manner much akin to Blue Womp from Double The Fist. Dayna is given some more characterisation and Soolin takes her clothes off. What's more, it all builds up to a spectacular finale!

But wait... the final episode is ... everyone is out of character. There's an in-story reason for Vila to be recast as a bald midget with Tourette's syndrome wearing nothing but a red loincloth. Soolin is killed off before the story even begins. Everyone seems to carry the Idiot Ball for the episode, nobody can shoot straight and characters are killed off for no reason at all. Travis comes back from the dead! Orac catches a virus that makes him rap all of his dialogue to David Bowie backing tracks! Avon is revealed to have powers of superhuman strength that he's never used until now! There are aliens who look like giant cocks, and Tarrant communicates with them by controlled licking of their flesh! It has NOTHING to do with the arc AT ALL! Who the fuck is Joe Medina and why the hell did he get to write the most important story??!?

Ah, but he was the one who found about Maloney's jewel-thievery and blackmailed the production team to give him his first ever professional writing credit - in THE MOST IMPORTANT STORY so he could REEEEALLY show off. And no script editing, because he didn't need any. And he'd handle the design himself. And his mate Chip would get to play Travis.

The result is the complete opposite of Terminal - when the head of drama happens to glance at the TV set and vomits in rage, cancelling the show immediately and sentencing David Maloney to life imprisonment with the emergency powers vested in him by the UK's new Standards for Appalling Television Shows. Incidentally Eric Saward flees the country.

What I'm trying to do here is to illustrate how ridiculously over-the-top any TV show failure has to be to come near to emulating the complete soul-crushing horror of sports. Anyone who read my predictions will see how very, very wrong I was about the Ashes decider. Indeed, that B7 metaphor up there is a far more accurate retelling.

We lost the Ashes.

We lost the Ashes.

We lost the Ashes.

We lost the Ashes!

WE FUCKING LOST THE ASHES!

At the moment I envy so greatly people entirely ignorant of cricket, who cannot grasp the enormity of this spiritual shitpile choking and enveloping my very soul. The worst thing is I know that, ultimately, this isn't important at all - it's a contest over a replica antique perfume bottle with some burnt twigs in it for fuck's sake! - but I've been so caught up in the drama and excitement, looked forward to this for so long... everything that seemed sensible has been snatched away from me with the maximum possible snatch.

Even looking back, it makes little sense. We made 6 centuries to their 2. We had the top wicket-takers for nearly the entire competition. We had a better spinner. We were the number one team in the world.

Sadly, we were outcaptained and outselected. You will note that my predictions say that it was a near certainty that Nathan Hauritz would play at the Oval. Notably, everyone else said that as well. But... he didn't. I forgot that Ponting likes to stick with a winning team, like it's some sort of talisman. So Stuey Clark, a bowler I love in any other circumstance, was on the field. And Marcus North, our back-up spinner, took 4 wickets. The blatantly inferior shower-forsaking freak Graeme Swann took as many in each innings. Seeing as they both bowl the same style, I am going out on a limb and saying that if Haury had bowled he'd have taken 10 from the match and topped the fucking wicket-taking chart. Of course, I can't say that now because we'll never know.

We were also outmanoeuvred by some very negative tactis, which I won't go into because it's the sort of thing that the Poms lable as empty whinging no matter how legitimate it is. At the same time, there is a deal of sense to it, as I might be as snake-like as Strauss if I had such a band of no-hopers to lead to victory. (Seriously... the surfeit of talent in the English team is what makes this SO HARD to accept!)

We were the victim of critically unfair umpiring. North hit the ball with an edge you could hear from China from outside off before it ducked back into his pads and was given LB off an appeal that never should have happened. Before then, as usual, he had looked the Rock of Gibraltar and so had Simon Katich, the pair looking set for a 150-partnership that could have saved the series. Next innings rolls around, and all of a sudden Asad Rauf is mister fucking eagle-eye, seeing air between Jonathan Trott's bat and the ball which nobody else can. The commentators called this a 'good decision' endlessly, despite nothing to say there WASN'T an edge, based off a snick from the ball hitting Trott's pockets, which presumably contained some maracas. Okay, he mightn't have been out, but what right did Rauf have NOT to give that out? There was a sound, there was no gap between bat and ball, it was caught and you gave a terrible one to the other side. Tell that fucker not to wax his bat some much and throw him off the fucking field.

Incidentally, that fucker ended up scoring England's second century ever and is now worshipped as some sort of God, in spite of the fact that for most of the morning he was a shakey as a constipated junkie in a cold outhouse.

We were also victims of a pitch from hell. Oh, if Ponting had won that toss how different things would be. On Day One it was playable. On Day Two it was wearing away and became a spinner's paradise. Day Three, it deteriorated even more and was flat. But by then it was too late.

I can't go into the 2nd Australia innings because I didn't even watch it. I have developed a sixth sense for when there's no point watching any more. I had a bucketload of hope after Katich and Watson smashed 80 off their first 20 overs, that the two of them would get the tons they craved and wear away at the poms' confidence until they were quivering wrecks. I switched over to SBS for about 20 seconds after Stephen Fry, and I knew it was all over - "Perfect start for England, both openers out" - *CLICK*.

I knew that was it. We wouldn't survive that night. I don't know why exactly, I just did, and lo and behold when I log onto Cricinfo I see I've called with agonising accuracy on that occassion.

Australia is no longer the world's number one cricketing nation. We are no longer the world's number two cricketing nation. We don't even get a bronze turkey. We are FOURTH. Just edging ahead of the Blind Hedgehog XI whom we shall be challenging at Bag Interior Oval and the outlook isn't promising. Soon even Bangladesh will be challenging us.

My dad's analysis - "Everyone in Cricket Australia needs to be sacked. From the bloke who opens the door up."

Not sure I'd go quite so far, but if nothing else there's proof that letting David Boon and Merv Hughes, chairpersons of the Moustachioed Pisshead Gentlemen League, control the selection panel is a very bad idea. Ponting should probably lose the captaincy, too, as he's proven time and time again that he can't select a team nor set a field with any degree of intelligence.

Sorry this isn't funnier. My heart is bleeding tears right now..

4 comments:

Youth of Australia said...

Servalan finally fucking dies, in a manner much akin to Blue Womp from Double The Fist.
Is that

- being sliced in half by a machete-wielding Cyberman?
- being to death in a playground by Steve Foxx?
- taking a cannon ball to the face, being flung a hundred meters into the sky and being skewered on a goal post?

But wait... the final episode is ... everyone is out of character. There's an in-story reason for Vila to be recast as a bald midget with Tourette's syndrome wearing nothing but a red loincloth. Soolin is killed off before the story even begins. Everyone seems to carry the Idiot Ball for the episode, nobody can shoot straight and characters are killed off for no reason at all. Travis comes back from the dead! Orac catches a virus that makes him rap all of his dialogue to David Bowie backing tracks! Avon is revealed to have powers of superhuman strength that he's never used until now! There are aliens who look like giant cocks, and Tarrant communicates with them by controlled licking of their flesh! It has NOTHING to do with the arc AT ALL! Who the fuck is Joe Medina and why the hell did he get to write the most important story??!?
Wow, I was building up to a Mark Gatiss joke here, but that blew me out of the water, back INTO the water, froze me, thawed me, boiled me and blew me up full stop.

For that punchline: man of fist.

And his mate Chip would get to play Travis.
For the first time in my life, I'm laughing with terror.

Incidentally, that fucker ended up scoring England's second century ever and is now worshipped as some sort of God, in spite of the fact that for most of the morning he was a shakey as a constipated junkie in a cold outhouse.
As McCallif said, "The mob's a fickle thing."

We are FOURTH. Just edging ahead of the Blind Hedgehog XI whom we shall be challenging at Bag Interior Oval and the outlook isn't promising. Soon even Bangladesh will be challenging us.
Imagine that - Blackadder in Bangladesh...
Bangladesh Baldrick: I have a cunning plan.

My heart is bleeding tears right now..
I managed to finish 47, the epic DW/RH crossover, if that helps.

Youth of Australia said...

My dad was very impressed at your vitriol, but insists you not be allowed to comment on cricket if you didn't and I quote "watch the whole thing and suffer the humiliation like the rest of us".

My defense you have suffered enough is ignored.

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

being beaten to death in a playground by Steve Foxx?

That's the specific one I was thinking of. In particular the way the voice-over states that it becomes too gruesome to show on TV after a certain point.

Man, before you listed them I forgot how much they hated Blue Womp.

For that punchline: man of fist.

Cheers. It was just for that personal touch... of course I spent a while looking it up because I couldn't remember any of their names.

As McCallif said, "The mob's a fickle thing."

That's true. When he made a century Ravi Bopara was a national hero, now they're all ashamed of him.

I managed to finish 47, the epic DW/RH crossover, if that helps.

I had a quick look last night and it brought me a lot of mirth... but has anyone brought up the length of your parodies? I often find them quite difficult to read in a sitting and need to set apart time for them. Was the decision to make it a Robin Hood crossover based on that one guy who looked a lot like Jonas Armstrong or was there another cast connection?

Also, on that note reading Inspector of Landon Moor in TAFE and suddenly realising my teacher was reading over my shoulder with a disgusted look on her face was one of my most awkward moments from 2 years ago..

My dad was very impressed at your vitriol, but insists you not be allowed to comment on cricket if you didn't and I quote "watch the whole thing and suffer the humiliation like the rest of us".

Yeah, that's a fair cop. I also don't live in an area where I'm forced to socialise with now-smug poms which is also a minor boon. As I said, though, my Spider-sense tingled that night and told me to stop watching that game at all costs. It didn't prove me wrong at Lords or Cardiff, nor Edgbaston in a rare positive way, so I followed it.

Youth of Australia said...

That's the specific one I was thinking of. In particular the way the voice-over states that it becomes too gruesome to show on TV after a certain point.
'If YOU want to see this lesson in discipline, get the adult-rated DVD for the full scene!'

Man, before you listed them I forgot how much they hated Blue Womp.
He WAS a total asshole...

Cheers. It was just for that personal touch... of course I spent a while looking it up because I couldn't remember any of their names.
I don't blame you.

When he made a century Ravi Bopara was a national hero, now they're all ashamed of him.
Beneltonitis I think it's called.

I had a quick look last night and it brought me a lot of mirth... but has anyone brought up the length of your parodies?
No. Not ever. Pity.

I often find them quite difficult to read in a sitting and need to set apart time for them.
...um, sorry.

Was the decision to make it a Robin Hood crossover based on that one guy who looked a lot like Jonas Armstrong or was there another cast connection?
Kind of, but also because it means I can fight the temptation to have Will Scarlett in the next story and Friar Tuck in Tennant's finale.

Also, on that note reading Inspector of Landon Moor in TAFE and suddenly realising my teacher was reading over my shoulder with a disgusted look on her face was one of my most awkward moments from 2 years ago..
Disgusted? Lanyon Moor? That's not a particularly digusting one! In fact, there's very little swearing... I mean, MAYBE the "whore licks" gag, but it's remarkably tame even so.

It didn't prove me wrong at Lords or Cardiff, nor Edgbaston in a rare positive way, so I followed it.
Good for you!