V TV REVIEW
Remind me never to eat pasta at Camille Paglia’s place. in Without Walls: The Penis llnsheathed (Channel 4) she fondly informed us that the classical representation of the male genitalia reminded her of her grandmother’s gnocchi. Analyse that if you dare.
At least i think that’s what she said. The renowned American post-feminist rent-a-mouth might know her dicks, but diction is a stranger to her. A glazed look came over her eyes as she slurred her way through a tortuously arch discussion of the phallus in cultural history, the erudition of which can be gauged by her summing-up: ‘Men, get it up, women deal with it.’. Paglia's delivery was a cross between Sarah Dunant on badly-spiked Speed and a bored Pizza Hut waitress, stresses all over the place, vowels stretched out to fill the gaps in vague sentences, and self-conscious garbling when she got to the ‘jokes’. You got the impression she was making it up as she went along.
P0p psychology is all fine and dandy if it’s got a dose of subversion or innovation, but Paglia’s thesis was dully predictable: men are ashamed of their penises because of their old- fashioned priapic power connotations. To support this, pundits like the ludicrously-bearded men’s movement writer Jack Fritscher were wheeled out to exhort us to ‘get a grip on your dick’. Judging by the rings round Jack’s eyes he’d been practising what he preached with trans-Atlantic gusto.
These people of course are American and thus entitled (by article 87 of the Constitution) to be daft. British att critic Sarah Kent has no such excuse. ‘Manhattan is all pricks' she glibly informed us, apparently referring to the fact that buildings on that crowded island are taller than they are wide. Similar nonsense issued apace from the Kent mouth. her Opinions reliant on abysmal generalisations like ‘Men feel very frightened of their own sexuality’. To me, the opposite would seem to be true. Men aren’t frightened enough of their own sexuality, as a swift glance into a nightclub or city centre bar any weekend would confirm. Shy, retiring erotophobes they ain't.
But, hey, this was a playful programme. To conﬁrm it our Camille was gently chided from off-camera to reveal what she would do if she had a penis. She hummed and ha-ed before mumbling ‘Go after Catherine Deneuve
in a hurry’. Well it was either that or ‘God, you’ve got a nerve. Harry', i couldn’t be sure.
IN AN AGE where bad TV inevitably has a hidden agenda, whether it be covert sponsorship (You Bet), reactionary sexual politics (Blind Date) or the rehabilitation of Terry Wogan (Do The Right Thing), it’s almost refreshing to watch a show that is drivel for no sinister purpose, honest- to-badness schlock as it were. So the passing away of lionse Of Eliott (BBCl) should be marked with respect for its expensively-created awfulness, its painstaking attention to dire dialogue, its peerless devotion to anachronistic slang, constant obtrusive shots of those costly period vehicles,
‘As Beatrice she developed a peculiarly Idiosyncratic style of ‘actlng’ which consisted of staring fixedly oft-camera to the left as it about to vomit, before pivoting around with wild eyebrows and delivering her cruelly bland line through pursed lips.’
and an unrivalled selection of deliciously wooden acting.
Stella Gonet leads the way here. Admirers of stiltedness will of course remember her from the ill-fated Scottish series The Advocates a few years back, but it’s in The House Of Eliot! that her oak bore ﬂower. As elder Eliott sister Beatrice she developed a peculiarly idiosyncratic style of ‘acting’ which consisted of staring fixedly off- camera to the left as if about to vomit, before pivoting around with wild eyebrows and delivering her cruelly bland line through pursed lips. Devout fans of the series scanned the Radio Times every Saturday for the inevitable ‘Beatn'ce gets committed to an asylum’ but it never came. She remained at large in the ﬁnal episode (the last ever, l’ve checked with the BBC and they’ve promised) while pouty little sister Evie (Louise Lombard who at least has the advantage of an alliterative name) got into a strop and vowed ‘Ready-to-wear, you’ll have to do it without me!’ We all will, Evie. From this Saturday a little light will have gone from the world, a little comer of British naffness dead forever. (Tom Lappin)
A selection oi television highlights,
listed by day, In chronological order. Television listings compiled by Tom Lappln.
I Only Fools And liorses (BBCI) 8—8.50pm. Repeated classic comedy, with Del rashly attending a class reunion, where a nasty face from the past (looking a lot like Jim Broadbent) turns up.
I love llurts (BBC I) 9.30—10.30pm. Adam Faith and Zoe: Wanamaker star in the penultimate episode of the tempestuous menopausal romance. Their marriage is collapsing, but, ironically, Tessa’s father re-marries.
I Take My Mothenln-Lavt . . . (BBC2) 9.30—l0.20pm. The myths and truths of the mother-in-law are explored with clips from comedians Les Dawson and Mike Reid, interspersed with real-life stories of family relationships from Beryl Bainbridge and Irma Kurtz.
I Home Improvement (Channel 4) 9.30—l0pm. Tim Allen stars as TV handyman Tim Taylor, jumping to conclusions when he thinks Jill’s careers advisor is interested in more than her CV. I Roseanne (Channel 4) IO—lo.30pm. Yet another Hallowe’en in the Conner household, with Dan persuaded to pull a stunt on Nancy (Sandra Bernhard).
I Spellbintler (Scottish) lO.30pm—l2.25am. Timothy Daly plays an LA attorney whose search for love leads him to a sexy devil-worshipper (Kelly Preston).
I The Jaclt llee Show (Channel 4) 1030—! 1.05pm. The grumpy stand-up hits thirty and longs for ‘the good old days of The Clash — when bands had real tunes.’ I The Word (Channel 4)
ll.05pm-12. lOam. Terry Christian, Huffty, Dani Behr and Mark Larnarr introduce more salacious showbiz chat and music.
I Fantasy league ’94 (BBC2)
ll.l5-l l.45pm. A further instalment of the shoddy soccer game-show with a suitably irreverent approach, hosted by Frank Skinner and David Baddiel.
I love letters (Channel 4)
l2. lO—l.40am. Jamie Lee Curtis stars in a slight, thoughtful drama as a classical music DJ who begins to act out her dead mother’s love letters in her own life.
I The llevr Adventures 0t Superman (BBCI) 5.30—6.l5pm. The superhero drama continues with Morgan Fairchild turning up as a scientist planning to spray Metropolis with inhibition-loosening pheromones. Sounds fun.
I Unplugged: Pearl Jam (BBC2) 8.35-9.10pm. An acoustic session with Seattle's grunge kings, including material from their hit album Ten.
I "m Blue (Channel 4) 9—l0pm. When Martinez’s brother dies of an overdose. his father sets out to kill the drugs pusher.
I Arena: Theatre Without Actors (BBC2) 9. lO—lO. 10pm. A look at the birth of modern documentary techniques at the beginning of the l960s, and the pioneering work of Robert Drew. who is credited with creating ‘cinema verité’.
I llon’t Forget Your Toothbrush (Channel 4) lO—l l.05pm. Breakfast king Chris Evans hosts the live entertainment and game show with help from fellow wackoid Jools Holland.
I United States (it Television (Channel 4) ll.05-l 1.50pm. Laurie Kightlinger takes a trawl through the wilder extremes of American TV, offering a compilation of some of the more bizarre shows on offer. from The Joan Rivers Show to Dril’L’li‘thS Of The Rich And Famous.
I late Uch (Channel 4) 12.20—4.05am. Channel 4’s service for insomniacs introduced by comics Kevin Day and Smiley includes a concert by Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers.
I Valley Of The llolls (Scottish) ll.30pm—l .45am. The cult film based on Jacqueline Susann's best-selling novel about the perils of showbiz success. Three actresses rise to the top but fall prey to dependency on pills.
I Movieuatch (Channel 4) 6-6.30pm. Johnny Vaughan hosts the film review show from Wrexharn where punters review The Music Of Chance. Gun/ted and La Crise.
I Ain’t Misbehavin’ (BBC 1) 7—7.30pm. A new comedy series from Roy Clarke. starring Peter Davison. Nicola Pagett. Lesley Manville and John Duttine in a farce-heavy tale of adultery in Yorkshire. Ain’t promisin’.
I Pie In The Sky (BBCI ) 7.30—8.20pm. BBC l 's big Sunday drama hope stars Richard Griffiths as a past-it c0p who waan to retire and run a restaurant. In the first episode, his colleagues are loath to let him go. See preview.
I Encounters: The Elephants tit "lam (Channel 4) 7-8pm. A little- known herd of elephants, descended front Hannibal’s elephants. is stranded in the desert sands of Tahel. Tuareg nomad Ibrahim Ag Youssouf tries to find out how his tribe co-exists with the elephants.
I lloney For Tea (BBCI) 8.20—8.50pm. A suitably twee title for a new Felicity Kendal comedy vehicle. She plays a widow who grew up in the States. Left penniless, she and her all-American son head for Cambridge where her late husband had set up a trust for his old university college.
I Anna lee (Scottish) 8.25—l0.25pm. Imogen Stubbs plays the feisty detective. investigating mysterious threats to London’s Notting Hill Carnival.
I lie lliro: The Godfather Part II (Channel 4) 9pm-12.35am. Coppola’s masterpiece stars De Niro as the young Vito Corleone tracing his passage from young Sicilian finding his way in Little Italy in the early 19203 to American Godfather. The second part moves on to the 50s where the familv is now headed by Michael Corleone (Al Pacino). Better (marginally) than the first Godfather and in a different class from the third.
The List I l—24 March I994 67