All I Know I Learned From Telly - TV

Well this has all got a bit meta, hasn’t it? TV teaching you things about TV? But if you think about it, it makes perfect sense – apparently creative folk are nothing if not self-indulgent, so why wouldn’t they make TV about their own little world?

Which means that there’s nowhere better to learn about the process of making television than from the art form itself. Faultless logic, see?

It is. Really. Because we know everything on TV is always totally realistic.

The Newsroom

Those people in the background of the news are actually doing things


I thought the people who sat behind the newsreaders were basically extras, there to make things look important and busy. But no. According to The Newsroom they’re actually up to stuff, like constantly checking on everything to find out if something important has happened that they should be reporting on. And then doing the research, and helping pull together the story. And then doing some VERY IMPORTANT SHOUTING across the room. They serve a function beyond being bloopers waiting to happen! In fact, you could even go so far as to call them journalists! Who knew?

Yes, maybe I should’ve clocked this from a childhood spent watching Drop The Dead Donkey, but there were very many things I didn’t understand about that show at the time. Mostly the innuendo. Frankly, I’m amazed my parents let me watch it.

Standards on American local TV are very, very low


As in, astoundingly low. So long as you’re conscious, you can do it. Sometimes you don’t even need to be conscious. Take Parks and Recreation’s Joan Callamezzo. She once passed out on camera for hours, and it was all fine. That’s what the proliferation of channels and viewer choice brings you; middle-aged women passed out behind their sunglasses. With that level of competition, I’m beginning to think that perhaps I should revisit my ambition of becoming a media personality, move to rural America, and start a local cable show. All I need is an idea…

Alan Partridge

Pitching and ‘ideas generation’ makes everyone involved want to die


Talking of ideas, it’s really time we addressed Alan Partridge. Oh, Alan Partridge. A man so mediocre that….nope, that’s it. He’s just a man so mediocre. That’s about it.

And oh my, what terrible ideas he has. And oh, how terribly he pitches them to the BBC. It’s a masterclass in awkward and horrific and making you want to curl up in a ball and gnaw your own leg off.

And let’s not even get started on W1A’s Siobhan Sharpe.

Always blame the network


If you do manage to convince someone to buy your terrible idea, chances are it’ll all go horribly wrong. It’ll probably still go wrong if it was a brilliant idea to start with. Just look at Episodes, an entire show based around the idea of ruining a perfectly good TV show.

Whose fault is it? It’s the network’s. It’s always the network’s fault, with their endless drive for ratings. God, those bastards ruin everything. Unless you ask the network, in which case it’s the fault of the research, and the numbers, and probably also the internet. Maybe also a little bit Matt LeBlanc.

Which leads us to our final point:

Episodes


Do not work with Matt LeBlanc


OK, I might’ve got fiction and reality confused here. In his defence, LeBlanc does seem like a charming man when he’s on Top Gear, but he’s up against the incredibly small charm-yardstick that is Jeremy Clarkson. So maybe he is a colossal bellend, like his character on Episodes. Who is him. But not him.

Look, it’s just really confusing, OK? Best steer clear just to be safe

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