Let's Talk Positively About TV (For Once)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006, 3:21 PM

Yes, I watch Iron Chef. Yes, I'm slightly embarassed.

When I was a kid, my Mum always told me that if I have nothing nice to say, then I shouldn't say it at all. So I thought instead of a winge, I will post some praise about TV shows that I actually enjoy.

1. My Name Is Earl: Impossible not to love. Jason Lee is one hell of an actor, and Earl is one hell of a character. It's a fresh idea, and the writing runs the full gauntlet from subtle to funniest-home-video style shenanigans. The instant likability of Earl is the jewel in the crown.

2. South Park: I only watch it for the biting social commentary. Honest!

(Well, there goes my credibility.)

3. Boston Legal: An absolute bargain, two fantastically developed characters for the price of one. Dare I say it: William Shatner is a good actor?

4. Family Guy: I'm a sucker for ridiculously constructed pop-culture references. Reading my blog, who would've thought?

5. Iron Chef: If not for the camp-ness of the entire show, if not for Chairman Kaga's outfits, then for the fantastic food they serve up. "Surprise Chef" Aristos has nothing. Nothing!

Other shows I love, but usually miss because of work or some other commitments: The Chaser's War On Everthing, Spicks & Specks, The Daily Show, Media Watch, Futurama and The Shambles.

So you see, I'm not a bitter old man, angry at everything. I actually do enjoy a laugh. I know it's stranger and possibly more disturbing than a Craig McLachlan comedy show, but there you have it.

It's A Hit!

Saturday, August 26, 2006, 2:16 PM

Yes, I put this picture up again just to annoy you, Yvonne.

Prepare yourselves for another burst of Tench-bashing.

Without a computer to hold me back, I've found myself watching much more TV than maybe I should be. And yet again, I've found something on Channel Ten worth bitching about.

First, it was Ten's promotion of it's "hit new series" David Tench Tonight, which didn't even manage to win it's timeslot. (Quote courtesy of News Ltd.):

Among other debuts this week was the Ten Network's heavily promoted, animated talk show David Tench, which last night came up against Celebrity Survivor but managed only 1.14 million viewers.

Then, I was bemused to find Ten's new British purchase It's Me Or The Dog billed during an ad break as a "hit new series" before it has even premiered in Australia.

So it seems that all you need to have a hit is an actual product. Using this logic, I would now like to establish Couch Culture as "A Hit New Blog", hoping to gain an audience of stupid people who actually believe what is good for the faceless masses must be good for them. And then we may just have a chance of converting them into actual people and making the world a better place.

Killing Time

Thursday, August 24, 2006, 1:57 PM

In a tragedy to rival the demise of Hey Hey It's Saturday, once again I have blown my home PC into a million pieces. Well really it's still all in one piece, but that is what I would like to do to it seeing as it has failed me for the second time in three months. So while I rock gently back and forth in the corner in my semi-comatose state, please enjoy this list of things people have suggested I do with all my new-found spare time, complete with my responses.

  • Go and see Snakes On A Plane. (No mother f'n chance.)
  • Learn to cook. (What, you don't like my Kartoffelpuffer*?)
  • Finish reading "Catch-22" by Joseph Heller. (Do I have to? It's like Dr Seuss for adults.)
  • Exercise more. (I think I speak for the entire nation whan I say ,"If you exercise for pleasure rather than health or money, you seriously need your head checked.")
  • Go and tell Andrew O'Keefe to stop being a fool. (Done that.)
  • No, physically go and say it to his face. (Done that too.)
  • Really? (Yes!)
  • Find the cure for Cancer. (It's not like I haven't been trying.)
  • Paint the house. (I don't like paint.)
  • Fine, clean the house. (I don't like houses.)
  • Learn some funky dance moves. (I'm pretty sure that's illegal.)

I'm happy to take any other suggestions.

*It's a German potato pancake. What do you mean you've never heard of it?

It Must Be Spring

Monday, August 21, 2006, 7:30 PM

Spring. Actual results may vary.

I think Spring officially arrived for me today.

It was a nice, warm day here in Statlerland, so I decided to take a bit of time out by having a walk around a particularly well-known lake. I was thoroughly enjoying myself, walking along with sun beaming and headphones blasting, when I was suddenly swooped by a magpie. Because I was listening to my music, I didn't realise what had happened until the bird came back for it's second attempt. Naturally, I ducked, but the magpie ripped what must have been a small strand of hair out of my scalp, either with it's beak, or grabbing it with it's feet. Quite frankly, I didn't see, I was out of there in a shot!

The second time I found Spring was late this afternoon, when the local kids started playing in the street again. Not something I've been looking forward to, considering the kids only have one volume setting AND IT'S NOT A QUIET ONE. Add the fact that I went spare at a neighbour last year for leaving her two-year-old unattended in the street (I nearly backed over the poor kid with my car), thus making me your friendly local Evil Incarnate ("Avert your eyes, children!"), and I know soon enough my stress ball will need replacing.


At least it will be summer soon. I'm sure there are other good points I'm missing, but I can't find them right now.
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Hooray For Plaudits!

Sunday, August 20, 2006, 1:20 PM

A quick heads-up to Liz at successful-blog.com, who somehow saw it fit to award me a coveted award as a Successful and Outstanding Blogger. I also win some used ticket stubs from the new "Charlie And The Chocolate Factory" movie, and half a bag of crushed Oreos.

Liz, I have no doubt that this won't be the last time I'm called an SOB because of what I write, but I'll thank you in this particular instance. It also brings me one step closer to world domination the respect of my peers, so again, thank you.

The Tench Of Failure

Friday, August 18, 2006, 12:15 PM

David Tench, proudly animated using the Sega Master System.

So I admit it. I did watch the premiere of "David Tench Tonight". Because I desperately hope that one day, someone will actually create an Australian show on commercial TV that will make me laugh. And not in a "This episode of Neighbours is so poorly scripted and acted, that I'm going to wet my pants" style of laughter.

Unfortunately, David Tench didn't even allow me to laugh at it's rank awfulness. Put simply, it defied physics by sucking and blowing at the same time. One of my housemates and I were even betting on whether the show would last past the first ad break.

But someone recently told me that I should be clearer about my opinions, so here is a point-by-point account of exactly why David Tench makes baby Jesus cry.
  • As I mentioned earlier, why would you let the cat out of the bag three weeks before the premiere, instead of riding the Gabbo wave and having half the country tune in to see what the fuss is all about? If you're going to employ the evil temptress that is a viral marketing campaign, have the balls to use it to it's full effect.
  • As my housemate pointed out to me, "Stiff, awkward and poorly animated... and that's just Pat Rafter!". The viral marketing capaign is a very aggressive campaign. It draws attention to the show immediately, and we all know that first impressions count. Why would you open your premiere with, quite possibly, the most wooden interviewee in Australia?
  • We're clearly not at a point technologically where live 3D animation isn't disconcerting. I kept wondering what was going on with Tench's eyes. Was that supposed to be a blink?
  • David Tench's charisma, or lack thereof. Anything that makes Darryl Somers look good needs to die. Very quickly.
  • I believe we were promised world class celebrities. Who knows Ella Hooper outside of Australia? Who knows Ella Hooper outside of Violet Town?
  • Trying to be controversial does not make you cool. Look at Sam Newman and John Laws, there are now three month waiting-lists for people wanting to kick their arses.
  • Is David Tench American or Australian? Choose one!
  • The man behind Tench is a terrible, terrible interviewer. Inserting a zoom-in to Tench's head and thoughts won't cover up his gaffes, guys. It's like covering up Russell Crowe's stupidity with a guitar.
So to others who subjected themselves to the "comedy stylings" of Tench, what do you think? Have I hit the mark, or is Tench the funniest thing on Australian TV since The Wedge? I await your verdict.
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Five Searches That Have Brought People To Couch Culture

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 3:21 PM

Now with added hares!

In the two months that Couch Culture has been running, I've had quite a few people drop in via search engines. Most have been "Yasmin's Getting Married", "David Tench" and the always hilarious "Yasmin's Getting Axed". But now and again, there are one or two incoming searches that make me stand up, take notice, and laugh my arse off just a little. This is the story of those searches, awkwardly assembled into a list as part of the problogger.net group writing project.

"White Guy Dance Off Jig" - Now why do I have the feeling that someone is laughing at me? Try a search for "Kevin Bacon" and work from there. No need to thank me.

"The Sock Puppet Movie" - Back off Hollywood, this one's mine.

"Male Maturbation"- Slightly disturbing, but then again, I do have the tendency to talk a bit of wank at times. I only hope that it isn't someone who is looking for (snigger!) pointers.

"Chez Statler" - Are Christian Voice trying to work out where I live, or is it just someone looking for a French coffee house? You decide.

And finally, my favourite, and most recent incoming search - "Ukrainian Rabbit Vodka" - There is just so much wrong with that, I don't know where to start.

So, to my fellow bloggers, what are the strangest searches that have led people to your site? And not to leave the non-bloggers out, what is the most out-of-context site you've found while using a search engine?
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Where The Bloody Hell Are You?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006, 5:13 PM

Aloisi delights in seeing one actual person who has come to watch the game.

Regular readers may be familiar with a rant I had during the World Cup. Well, from an Australian perspective, after the World Cup, seeing how most of us lost all interest in the competition as soon as our boys were knocked out by those lying, cheating, unsportsmanlike gentlemanly Italian fellows.

So I thought I'd put a quick post up to remind you all that The Socceroos are playing a match against Kuwait in Sydney tonight. What, you didn't know? But hasn't the media made a incredible fuss about it, like they did with our gallant soldiers in Germany? No?

I'm so confused.

(P.S. Go Archie! And Kristian!)

Strange Happenings In The Former Soviet Union

Monday, August 14, 2006, 10:05 PM

And after we're done... we're gonna race shopping carts! RAWK ON DUDE!

Very strange news has surfaced in the Ukraine recently, as scientists believe they have found pyramids like those in Egypt. (Courtesy of my new favouritest Russian website in pravda.ru):

Gigantic pyramids, very similar to Egyptian ones, have recently been discovered in Luganshchina. Scientists conclude that five thousand years ago, a highly developed civilization lived on the territory of modern Ukraine.

This unusually important find was noticed just two years ago by school-children from an archeology camp. So far, only the top sections of the huge constructions have been uncovered and scientists say that it will take a whole decade to fully clean the soil off the pyramids.

Any Aussie would tell you that something built to that massive scale must have been built to keep the rabbits out. And who can blame them, when you have rabbits of this size hopping around central Russia:

Residents of Novoselovo district in the Krasnoyarsk region have come across a mysterious phenomenon in the field. They discovered several tunnels of unknown origin in an area located some 100 meters away from the highway connecting the cities of Krasnoyarsk and Abakan , in the vicinity of the village of Kurgany.

There are about 10 holes in the field. Each hole has an entrance to a cave-like hollow place in the earth. Some of the tunnels are big enough for a person of medium height to stand up straight.

What's going on here? I'm guessing a vodka-fuelled posse of archaeologists are touring the former Soviet block creating archaeology-related jackass-style pranks and mayhem. Tenuous I know, but does anyone else have any theories?

Australian TV Comedy Lives!

Rival stations please take note: this is how you put together a well concocted, convincingly performed and all-around well executed piece of comedy.

Plus, when I first saw it, I laughed so hard a tiny bit of wee came out.*

*With full respect to the comedy stylings of The Sandman.

The Things You Find When Searching Through Old Study Papers

Sunday, August 13, 2006, 3:55 PM

This is your brain.

This is your brain during the OH&S requirement of your tertiary education. (Click for a better view.)

Yep, this is the last surviving copy of the first and only adventure of Jim the Sock Puppet. Too bad I forgot my crayons that day, isn't it? Enjoy!

And Now: Some Hard-Hitting Journalism

Friday, August 11, 2006, 11:09 PM

Much more important than Lebanon.

While browsing the Interwebs, as one would do on a Friday night when trying to avoid the Friday Night Piss-up, I came across this picture on a website purporting to be a quality new service (news.com.au: Breaking News 24/7) . The picture also links to this "article":
Send us your viral snaps

Send us wacky snaps from your camera or mobile phone and we'll publish a selection of the best photos on NEWS.com.au.
Well first of all, suggesting that people send in "viral" and "wacky" photos is only going to end up misunderstanding, tears, and a possible high-profile lawsuit.

Secondly, how the hell is this journalism? The mind boggles.

News Limited, I don't expect you to be the BBC. But at least pull up your pants and try to have some journalistic integrity.
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But That Only Happen In Movies!

In an effort to get some good comment-creating action happening here on Couch Culture (and remove pictures of Yasmin from my front page), I thought I might share a story.

This story happens in a country far, far away, even farther away than Perth. I had the night off work and had joined some friends at a local establishment for drinks and all-round good ol' fashioned funtimes™ when one of my friends (he is a dancer), suggested we all go down to the bar in the basement where the dance music was playing.

I'm definitely not the dancing type, there was even a special bill passed through the Australian Senate last year forbidding me to wiggle my butt in public. But since I wasn't in the country, there was no need for fear of incarceration, and I soon found myself doing the straight-white-guy dance.

The basement bar was a little less crowded than the one above, and there was no marked out dance floor, so we simply picked out a spot, stood in a circle and had a bit of a jig. Naturally, my dancer friend was busting a few moves and putting the rest of us in our place. It also helped that he was at the point between be drunk enough to lose all inhibitions, and being sober enough to stand.

Suddenly, a group (posse?) of five guys confronted us. One of the guys took my friend aside and has a stern discussion with him. The rest of the posse produced video-phones.

It was on. A dance-off.

I'd always thought dance-offs only happen in movies and poor excuses for music videos. But here it was, happening in front of me on a Tueday night in a semi-urban backwater.

The competition was tight. Everytime my friend busted something out, his opposition followed it up with something equally good. As we neared the end of the song, it was impossible to pick a winner.

Then he did it. Timed perfectly with the last bar, a magnificently executed split. The bar went wild. The enemy was vanquished. Handshakes and hugs were exchanged between my friend and the posse.

And then he came to me, and I realised just how drunk he was by the look in his eyes. And he said something to me that I'll never forget.

He said:"Statler, who won?"

The next time I saw him, he told me that he only barely remembered the entire incident, and had never heard the song he danced to before that night, and so he didn't know when it would end. From what I hear, the dance-off is now a part of that bar's folklore.

So now I ask you, dear blogreaders, have you ever been witness to something that has made you say "But that only happens in movies"? Or something else similarly bizarre? Please drop your answers in the box provided.
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That's It! I'm Buying A Mac!

Thursday, August 10, 2006, 10:13 AM

Double the killer? What the hell?

Open Correspondence With Channel Seven

Tuesday, August 08, 2006, 12:01 PM

One of my biggest qualms about the state of Australian television is that the three commercial networks are more increasingly (over about the past five years or so) running programmes overtime, particularly in primetime. Let's face it, if the commercial TV stations were running metropolitan train services, the Government would have fined them so heavily that they wouldn't be able to run a cost-effective business. Channel Seven, from my obsevations, seem to be the worst culprit, so about a month ago, I wrote a letter to Channel Seven's General Enquires office (I would have prefered email, but apparently Seven don't do general enquiries by email, surprising considering they're in partership with Yahoo) :
I was hoping you could satisfy my curiosity.

Is there a standard practice with Seven's programme scheduling that pushes most programmes 7-10 minutes later than the advertised starting time, thus making switching to a rival station after a Seven show an unsavoury option as rival programming has already long since commenced?

Or is this phenomenon simply a side-effect of staff ineptitude?

Yours Etc.
J. Statler, Esq.
Weeks passed, and I forgot about my harsh-but-fair enquiry. And then today, I finally recieved my reply.
Dear Mr Statler,

We recieved your recent undated letter.

We acknowledge that programs (sic) can occasionally start several minutes after the advertised time and you will find this across the board with all commercial networks. The scheduled timing vary slightly due to timing issues throughout the day.

We appreciate you taking the time to write to us. Letters such as yours are a valuable source of viewer insight into viewer attitudes and concerns.

Yours Faithfully,
He raises a valid point in suggesting that all commercial stations do it, but I knew that already, and it sounds like the type of "Everyone else is doing it" excuse that a twelve year old boy uses when he's been caught smoking behind the shelter sheds. Overall, the reply is played with such a straight bat it would have made Don Bradman proud. And my question wasn't answered. Why does this have to happen? If the Government networks can run to advertised times, if community radio stations can run to time, then why can't a large corporation with millions of dollars run to their own schedule?

I'm considering writing a more in-depth response. Watch this space. Thoughts on the issue are more than welcomed.
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Yasmin's Getting Axed! (Really This Time!)

Sunday, August 06, 2006, 9:42 PM

Getting that Gold Logie's going to be even harder now.

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Network Ten has left the would-be bride at the altar, canning its latest reality TV instalment, Yasmin's Getting Married, after just one week.

The show - playing cupid to find a young woman a husband - was dumped today after a pitiful ratings debut.

Hooray for reasoning in a world full of insanity! And all this after I posted this article a few days ago.

I haven't been this smiley and delighted since I was sung 'Happy Birthday' in the middle of Swanston Street by two mates and a guy dressed as a sperm. In peak hour. Two months before my birthday.

It really is that good.

And yes, I'm aware that I take delight in very strange things. Don't bother pointing that out.
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David Tench-ed

Saturday, August 05, 2006, 10:01 PM

Ray Martin called: he wants his hair back.

Dear Channel Ten,

I have absolutely no respect for your shoddy marketing campaigns, but if you are ever going to pester every person in Australia with an annoying viral campaign again, like you have with "David Tench Tonight", for God's sake don't let the cat out of the bag three weeks before the show begins.

You could have had half the country tune in for the premiere, but you screwed it up. Idiots.

I now expect to see "David Tench" killed off at the end of the year in a triple mercy killing including Rove Live and The Wedge. And then I hope the Australian comedy industry takes out a restraining order on you.

Shame, shame, shame.

Yours etc,
J. Statler, Esq.

Looking for more Tench, eh? Head on over to my disemboweling review of the David Tench Tonight premiere here.
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Oasis Of Wisdom

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 1:15 PM

I'll smash yer face in, geezer... Just let me finish my Dostoevskiy.

I have always been under the impression that the band Oasis were just a bunch of fighting, boozy, drugged up attention whores, basically floating around without a grasp of the real world. I wouldn't have given them the time of day.

That was, however, until I was forwarded a book of music quotes by a friend of mine, which graced some of the most brilliant, insightful and probably blasphemous thoughts I have ever read about the modern-day music industry. And God.

But don't take my word for it, because for your edification, I give you eleven of the most intelligent quotes you will ever hear a popstar say: (Beware: Naughty words ahead!)

"He was in Take That! He's a fat dancer from Take That. Somebody who danced for a living. Stick to what you're good at, that's what I always say."

Noel Gallagher on Robbie Williams.

"They should be shot."

Noel Gallagher on The Backstreet Boys.

"They don't do anything. Make a record, you lazy bastards!"

Liam Gallagher on The Rolling Stones.

"The bloke's on another planet!"

Noel on Robbie Williams, again.

"She looks like some fucking tart from fucking Newcastle."

Noel on Christina Aguilera.

"Just because you sell a lot of records, it doesn't mean you're any good. Just look at Phil Collins."

Liam Gallagher.

"He's a fuckin' circus monkey!"

Noel has another dig at Robbie Williams.

"If a guy suddenly appears before me with a big beard and locks and all that caper and performed some fucking miracle, and then said to me "Liam, I am God", I'd say, "Fair enough, it's a fair cop. I didn't believe in you, but fair play, you've got me. But until that day comes, he can fuck right off."

Liam on God.

"Kylie Minogue is just a demonic little idiot as far as I'm concerned. She gets cool dance producers to work with her for some bizarre reason, I don't know why. She doesn't even have a good name. It's a stupid name, Kylie, I just don't get it."

Noel on Kylie.

"She can't even chew gum and walk in a straight line, let alone write a book."

Liam on Victoria "Posh" Beckham.

"I despise hip hop. Loathe it. Eminem is an idiot and I find 50 Cent the most distasteful character I have ever crossed in my life. Eminem's new song about his kid - isn't it the most ridiculous piece of music you have ever heard in your life? I just don't like the dragging women around on dog leads and all that stuff."

Noel on Hip-Hop and R'n'B.
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My Mum Would Be So Proud

Wednesday, August 02, 2006, 11:41 AM

Who would have thought you could find such a deliciously relevant picture on Teh Webbernet?

Today is my anniversary.

No, I'm not married or anything. Today is the anniversary of the day I decided to give up caffeine. Well, I quit around this time last year. What do I look like, a swiss timepiece?

I've never been a coffee or tea drinker, but I always had a sly penchant for [insert globally recognised beverage with a registered trademark here]. One day I realised that, not only was I helping prop up a company that would probably rate quite highly on "The Big List Of Global Corporations That Need A Good Rap On The Knuckles", but it was quietly messing with my sleep cycle and hurting my hip pocket. It's not all that healthy too, apparently.

In fact, my little experiment has been so successful, I've been ruminating for as much as six months as to whether I should quit drinking too. I've always been only a very occasional social drinker, so I've never had any problems with it, but I've always been a little dumfounded by the idea of a ritual body-poisoning on a Friday night.

So I'm asking: has there been anything in your life that you've given up - it doesn't have to be food, drink or smoking - and what were your experiences? Especially if there are any former, or even non-drinkers out there, I'd like your comments, too.
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Yasmin's Getting Axed! (Hopefully)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006, 11:59 AM

I wouldn't be putting my money on a Gold Logie. She'd have to beat Rove, John Wood, Darryl Somers, The Veronicas and the dog from Neighbours to even stand a chance.

So Yasmin's Getting Married. But does anyone care?

Ten are billing it as (wait for it...) "Bridget Jones's Diary meets Sex & The City meets Fawlty Towers." Translated it means there will be half a hour allotted on Ten every weekday to show John Cleese do his Ministry of Silly Walks bit wearing expensive stilettos and a pair of granny undies.


In fact, I would sooner have a sub-thermal rivet injected into my spine than be subjected to another reality TV show. Or I could just mail a dictionary to Ten with the words "Diversity" and "Variety" highlighted in fluoro yellow. It would be more expensive, but it would save me the inconvienience and discomfort of paraplegia.

I give it a week.


Find my most recent thoughts on the show's actual axing here.
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