A recent BoingBoing post reminded me to check out Charlie Brooker on YouTube, although the clips it linked to were some of his less brilliant. Brooker does not just sit on a couch and insult twats on TV (as the original link showed), but his deconstruction of the way television manipulates our emotions is some of the best media studies-turned-comedy I’ve seen. The closest the U.S. has is the duo of Colbert and Stewart, but their focus is mostly on politics. (One of my students reminded me that ZeFrank does some of this too). Instead Brooker assaults the entire apparatus. For more on the series, here’s a Wikipedia thingy and the official BBC Four site. Here’s a selection of the best moments I could find on YouTube:
Brooker looks at how Reality TV is edited, and how narratives can be manipulated out of raw footage.
Here’s his overview on the dreadful Celebrity Big Brother that I had the misfortune of seeing when I was in Liverpool.
“Aspirational TV” pretty much deconstructs everything that’s wrong with not only television but capitalism in general. Brilliant!
He also takes on the X Factor, known in the US by our similarly crap version, American Idol.
Brooker doesn’t always slag things off–here he praises the series The Wire, and rightly so, because it is one of the best shows ever.
Charlie Brooker’s ScreenWipe Season Two (July-Aug 2006):
Episode One: 1 2 3
Episode Two: 1 2 3
Episode Three: 1 2 3 (Severely Edited b/c of YouTube, but here’s the real deal)
Episode Four: 1 2 3
Episode Five (Screenwipe USA): 1 2 3 4 5 6