118. Iconography

Tapehead no 118

Foolishly, Tapehead keeps looking for reasons to be cheerful. None, nada, niet…

According to Channel 4, Roseanne returns “as fresh as ever with plans to pull out all the stops for her ninth and final season.”

Fresh? Fresh Roseanne. Presumably people with flats for sale will stop bothering with the smell of home-baked bread or real coffee and simply slip a tape of fresh Roseanne on.

The opening credits, though, do not augur well being a scary mutation of Roseanne’s porcine guises though the years. Nor does the screeching volume of the taped laughter.

As for the story, Roseanne and Dan are not talking. This is good. Darlene and DJ always have the best lines anyway. (When Roseanne asks DJ how Dan is bearing up, he’s not sure, asking: “Does he usually cry when he vacuums ?”)

Unlike Homicide and even NYPD Blue, there is not a single snigger to be found in the fist of a new series of ER, which Tapehead has resisted becoming involved in for years now. Cardiac Arrest was always in a different league.

He is, for example, amazed – and appalled – to see that the nauseating Dr Green is still at liberty, even though he keeps killing babies. And that, after all this time, the only vaguely interesting character is still…George Clooney. 

Carter spends his first episode as a doctor trying so hard to look like David Duchovny, it hurts.

Sure, there is a terrific, sudden bloodiest, a cry of “he’s arrested” and a heart-thumper, but all of these are overruled not only by the inclusion of a game off softball but fives. 

“The staff are worried that the hospital will be closed,” we learn this week. 

What the hell. Just close it down.

As soon as Harry Enfield does a Michael Caine impression, you know Harry Enfield & Chums is going to be funnier than Cows and Tony Ferrino put together. (Michael Caine impressions are just funny.)

Tapehead is particularly taken with Jurgen the German – the blond German tourist who insists on telling strangers: “I feel I must apologise for the conduct of my nation in the war” and then ends up being swept away in a fascist rant. Expect school kids to take up Enfield’s lead with abandon.

The same goes for the right-on middle-class father whose son has brought his boyfriend home, telling the young man: “Awfully nice, and completely normal, to meet you… Make yourself at homo.”

For real laughs, though, nothing beats an interview with David Bowie, especially if it’s by Alan Yentob, who’s been interviewing Bowie since Cracked Actor in 1975 and is still coming up with same unorthodox approach. (What other kind of crazy maverick would come up with the idea of calling a Bowie retrospective Changes ?)

Yentob is still asking “where did the idea for Ziggy Stardust came from ?” (We don’t care. We never did.)

 It hasn’t dawned on him that “Bowie’s bewildering variety of incarnations” is the most boring, over-analysed, aspect of him: a red herring.

The only people who think the word “eclectic” is okay are music journalists. (The lowest of the low.)

Besides, only an idiot would want to keep interviewing Bowie. These days, Bowie’s so sincere, so earnest, such an impossible luvvie, he sounds like a cross between Lionel Blair and Ray Wilkins, gaily shattering what illusions any of us still keep for him

These actually come flooding back, with the flashbacks of him thin and fucked up, in fabulous broken teeth and fedora, strung out on cocaine and LA paranoia in the back of a limo, the sirens coming after him, the Man Who Fell To Earth or Thin White Duke can come for tea at Tapehead’s house any time.

In the meantime, what Yentob should have talked to him about is obvious: his hair.


Changes: David Bowie: Sat, 10pm, BBC2

Harry Enfield & Chums: Tues, 9.30pm, BBC1

ER: Wedw, 10pm, C4

Roseanne: Fri, 10pm, C4