This summer, I kind of fell out of love with television. Yes: that joy fountain had started to dry up. Until, that is, three encounters this week, one of them involving Mr T.
Some time ago, my mind was blown by Nadia G (extreeeme!) and her Bitchin’ Kitchen on Food Network. Not since then have I felt the simple love buzz that’s now back in my life thanks to BBC Three’s World's Craziest Fools.
Presented by the still-buff Mr T (real name Mister T, yes, really: he changed it from Laurence Tureaud in 1982) and aimed at kids – and mid-30s husks like me with the attention span of a mosquito – World’s Craziest Fools is the show that keeps on giving.
Exhibit A: Clip of bloke trampolining, inevitably getting wedged in the springs (classic You’ve Been Framed stuff) before being mounted, upside down, by a passing blond labrador. This is one of many highlights under the subhead Fools Messing With Animals. Other segments include slapstick that possibly, morally ambiguously, celebrates violence. But, hey, let’s not overthink it: maybe it will inspire you to do something kind today. Mr T’s job, you see, is to reassure us after a particularly distressing montage: “Don’t worry: the skateboarder/ kid/man’s testicles were ok!”
Mr T closed this week’s show (after explaining how he’d invented skiing in the 1980s “and then disinvented it, coz I hated it”) saying: “Remember: you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone. But you don’t know what you missin’ ’til it arrives! So be good to yourself. And to each other. So long, suckas.”
Number two: Human Planet. John Hurt’s epic voiceover. Swirling shots of Eastern Amazon rainforest. A community where the kids hunt and cook tarantulas for dinner (“Rosana, pass me the chilli”), the mothers breastfeed orphan monkeys and the men dice with death. Alpha male Tete is looking for honey because his wife hasn’t had any for ages “and she is mad”, he explains to his mate. The camera pans out on a treetop Tete enjoying his honey feast, keeping his wife sweet and winning the respect of his tribe. If this scene doesn’t move you, check your pulse.
Number three: Celebrity Big Brother. Many thoughts (and feelings of guilt and shame) hit you while watching CBB. The main thought is “why am I watching this when I could be doing something more productive, such as defleaing the cat”. But you might still get pulled in, bingeing and crying. Yes, the word celebrity has now been stretched beyond breaking point to the extent that two of the contestants have earned their place in the hall of fame by sitting on their bums alongside their mum and dad watching telly (George) or smoking and swearing on Benefits Street (Dee). But, hold the snobbery. This might just be a new era: a more meritocratic one? A world where White Dee can emerge as Duchess Deidre of Solihull (which she did with a typical down-to-earth swagger) and boxing promoter Frank Maloney can emerge as Kellie.
For all the cynical sniping about this stunt, that takes some nerve. As does greeting Audley Harrison’s reasonable “Do I call you Kellie?” with a straight-off-the-bat “If you wanna get paid for your next fight you do, yeah”. Hissyfits, handbags and hormones (and that’s just the boys), I have already been in tears at the ridiculous, pantomime-fairytale madness in the house and it’s only the beginning.
World’s Craziest Fools is next on BBC Three tomorrow at 8pm, and Tuesday at 7pm and 7.30pm.
Human Planet is repeated on Tuesdays at 11pm on BBCFour Celebrity Big Brother, nightly, 9pm, C5
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10:00am Thursday 2nd July 2015
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Marc Evans and family returned to Cornwall for a long weekend of surfing, fish and chips and architecture
11:00am Thursday 18th June 2015
You can ‘Notts’ be serious! Peter Truman enjoys the cream of world tennis in the heart of the East Midlands
4:31pm Thursday 11th June 2015
Katherine Macalister gets a bird’s-eye view of the capital from the grand four-star Lancaster London hotel
11:00am Thursday 4th June 2015
Marc Evans enjoys a taste of East London chic, and a formidable late breakfast, at the Andaz Liverpool Street
2:04pm Thursday 28th May 2015
TIM HUGHES takes to two wheels – and a cable – to enjoy the dizzying heights of Morzine and Châtel in France’s Portes du Soleil
12:00pm Thursday 21st May 2015
Katherine MacAlister discovers ultimate understated luxury in Turkey’s Barbaros Bay
1:57pm Thursday 14th May 2015
Lucy Ford learns that there is much more to Jersey than TV detective Jim Bergerac
3:02pm Thursday 30th April 2015
There is much more to Antwerp than frites and fat ladies, finds Carol Wright
4:01pm Thursday 23rd April 2015
Jonathan Broadley likes ham so much he took a foodie tour of Spain to sample it
4:23pm Thursday 16th April 2015
Tim Hughes experiences the delights of traditional Austrian hospitality in Vor Arlberg
11:00am Saturday 11th April 2015
I have something to tell you, babe, and you’re not gonna like it… "I know we’re supposed to be on a diet. But I’m in a hot dog-eating contest. With Death. And I’m about to lose…”