Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Beneath the surface lies the future.

There are two types of famous. There's good famous. And there's bad famous.

Example of good famous:

Cher employs celebrity psychic James Van Praagh (Gee Note: Who looks like an artist's impression of Burt Reynolds recovering from an eating disorder) to contact ex-husband Sonny Bono. Praagh claims he did this and that Bono advised him that Cher should go on tour with a Sonny look-a-like singer. Nobody makes a big deal out of this story or makes fun of either participant. Partly because Van Praagh is well thought of in Hollywood. But mostly because everyone pretty much accepts that Cher is "eccentric" and that she can do whatever the hell she wants. Seriously she could turn up to The Academy Awards wearing clothes made out of baby dolphin skin, carrying a bag with the logo "F*** Pakistan" and nobody would bat an eyelid. "Oh there goes Cher" the gossip columnists would say. "So whacky!". 

Example of bad famous:

Tila Tequila was recently invited to perform at The Gathering of the Douchebags Juggalos festival. She took to the stage to perform a set of six songs, only to be met with boos and jeers. Still hoping to get this crowd of overweight teenagers on her side, she took off her top and advised the masses that she wasn't leaving until she finished. Despite the fact that there was now a tiny Vietnamese lady with huge breasts standing in front of them, the Juggalo "family" still didn't warm to her. In fact so outraged were they by this that they started pelting the stage with bottles, rocks and, well, human excrement. Tila was eventually led away from the stage by security after being struck several times, suffering multiple lacerations and bruises in the process. The thing is though, none of this led to  a public outcry or a call to tighten security for events where idiots with severely questionable hygiene habits are likely to attend. Instead it was reported as "Tila Tequila got bottled off the stage by a bunch of geeks wearing face paint. What japes!". See Tequila is the bad kind of famous. Which means that she could fall off the side of a sky scraper only for a passing pigeon to break her fall in mid air and most people wouldn't care. The rest would label her as an animal murderer.

(Gee Note: EDIT- So I initially posted a long rant here about how anyone who would launch missiles at a 4'11'', 96lb, woman would be a complete idiot. Which of course most people would agree with. It then dawned on me that those who don't agree probably can't read anyway. So instead I'm going to tell an old joke.

Horse walks in to a bar.

The barman goes "Why the long face?"

The Horse goes "Dude. I've just been stuck in a room with a bunch of Juggalos. You'd be pretty pissed off too if you were me").

Which brings us to Katie Price.

For our overseas readers who will undoubtedly never have heard of Katie Price, she's a… ummm… to be honest I have no idea what she actually does on a day to day basis. She used to be called Jordan and made a living out of showing off her Himalayan sized chest to "lad's mags" and tabloid newspapers. Then, obviously realising that she'd need another string to her bow to continue to make money, she tried being a pop star. When it became apparent she couldn't actually sing she started doing the rounds on reality TV shows. On the show "I'm a Celebrity…" (Gee Note: Where a bunch of forgotten pop stars and assorted no hopers get thrown together in the Australian outback and forced in to such things as gobbling kangaroo testicles and fist fighting ostriches), she met loveable if slightly stupid singer Peter Andre and romance blossomed. A year later they were married and starring in their own show, an Osbournes-esque documentary following their trials and tribulations as celebrities desperately trying to find their niche in the world with no obvious talent.

The problem is, despite portraying a perfectly blissful marriage, Price was often characterized as being stroppy, controlling, and coarse. Andre on the other hand, apart from being a bit dull, seemed to be a perfectly pleasant chap. So when the news of their divorce surfaced, and Price was photo'd frolicking in a pool with another man soon after the split while Andre turned up on breakfast televisions shows crying about losing his kids, the nation quickly turned on the artist formerly known as Jordan. Blissfully unaware of the negative reaction hurtling towards her like a tornado, she signed up for another series of "I'm a Celebrity…" after her latest fly-on-the-wall show "What Katie Did Next" saw a dip in the ratings. Now part of the joy of "I'm a Celebrity…" is that for the first week or so the viewing audience gets to vote on who they want to undertake such trails as crawling around in Wallaby dung and eating maggots. And so it was written that the British public would pick up their phone en masse and make Price humiliate herself at every turn. After seven days of beating a path through cockroaches and mud Katie finally had enough and jacked it in. She then publicly dumped her boyfriend Alex Reid in a television interview before adding “I'm sorry if I've upset people”.

Don't worry though folks as they soon got back together (Gee Note: Phew!) with Reid actually going on to win a celebrity version of Big Brother. About a month after that they were married and then, this August, they made a television journey that many greats before them (Gee Note: Such as Mikey Graham. Hell yes) have made. They threw on their Proton Packs and decided to do a little Ghost Hunting.

That's right folks. Lock up the kids and your pets to bed. Yvette “Dude is she supposed to be trying for sexy or scary? It's just weird, you know?” Fielding is back leading Kate, Alex, and their friends around three spooky locations. With an opening line that goes “these five plucky Ghost Hunter's lives will never be the same again” (Gee Note: For some reason that statement makes me think of “Scared straight”. You know those public service programmes they do when they take tear-away teenagers to a jail and get some jacked up hornball to scream “Ima gonna makes you my bitch!!” over and over again until everyone agrees prison isn't all that much fun. Damn a paranormal version of that would be awesome. Some great big ghoul pops out and pins a poor schmuck to the wall yelling “You think it's fun being DEAD! DO YA!!! Well the only one's laughing around here are the deceased clowns. And those muthaf***ers crazy man!”. God I would TiVo every single episode of that. And tell no one about it. I don't want people thinking I'm a loser after all. Got a rep to uphold ya dig?), it promises us at least the spectacle of watching a famous person everyone seems to dislike getting seven bells scared out of her.

Except that doesn't happen. In fact nothing at all happens. For two long ass, tedious hours not a single thing of interest takes place. Now shows like this have a very simple formula. Put some people in a room. Tell them there's some ghosts in there. Then turn off the lights and watch them freak out after every creak and groan of the woodwork around them. Easy peasy chocolate squeezy. But if the buildings you happen to visit don't actually make any sound or don't have the occasional draft wafting through them then, well, all you have in the can is footage of folks looking cold and bored in nightvision (Gee Note: Just like Paris Hilton's sex video. BOOM! Yeah. I went there. I'm all about the dated pop culture references).

And without that, your left with the charisma of the participants to save your show. It's why programmes like Most Haunted work. I mean sure watching a middle aged Scooby gang creeping around an abandoned warehouse doesn't sound like an evening of thrills, but when you have nutbaskets like Derek Acorah sashaying they're way through corridors wailing “I sense the presence of a spirit here. A man. An evil evil man. Oh you nasty man! Leave us here you horrible horrible man!!” then you can't help but be entertained, if only for a microsecond. Sadly though Ghost Hunting with... Katie and Alex has somehow amassed a collection of the least exciting individuals since the last annual "Seaquest DSV appreciation society" get together (Gee Note: Actually that's a bit unfair. I quite like Seaquest DSV. Well the first two seasons anyway. It all went downhill after Roy Scheider left. Same with Jaws really. Scheider = Mark of quality. Mario Van Peebles on the other hand. Jaws: The Revenge? Highlander 3? That dude's got “franchise killer” written all over him).

Let's take a look. You have in no particular order.

Katie: Former glamour model, failed pop singer, current reality TV star who's is disliked on a national level.

Alex: Former cross dressing (Gee Note: No. Really) cage fighter who isn't quite as charming as Peter Andre. Or quite as nice as Peter Andre. Or quite as good looking as Peter Andre. Oh Jordan! Why did you ever leave Peter Andre!

Danny: Katie's brother. Who has Leo Sayer's hair. Seriously I made a note to mention this when watching the show and thought I could do a thing along the lines of “Danny it turns out is something something something which is amazing/a shame as he seems to go to the same barber as Leo Sayer”. But having watched him stumble around in the dark holding a camcorder for 120 minutes all I've got is “Leo Sayer hair”. That's it. Nothing else. I mean as I'm typing this there's a documentary on Channel Five called “Killer Squid Invasion” that I have on mute in the background. And I swear I know more about squid in the five seconds I've glanced at the screen than I do about Danny. For example, squid move really quickly. Also they've got really big eyes. Danny? I've got nothing man. Nothing.

Gary: Smiles a lot. Not as scared as Phil.

Phil: Doesn't smile a lot. More scared than Gary.

That right there is your motley crew of hell raisers. Woah doggies. This is going to be a barn burner right?

Sadly not. As it turns out watching five boring people stand around doing nothing is more soul destroying than you'd imagine. In fact even Yvette Fielding seemed embarrassed by the whole thing. By only the second location she's resigned to sending the Katie and Gary upstairs to play with a giant Etch A Sketch, while whispering half heartedly to the remainder of the group that there should be a lot of energy in the room (Gee Note: There wasn't by the way). At the third and final location, an old church that they had to get special permission to film in, a séance fails so spectacularly that she basically says “Well bollocks to this for a game soldiers. I'm wrapping this up right now”. All that was missing was her looking directly at the cameras and shrugging her shoulders to make it complete.

So with a lack of anything that could be mistaken even briefly as entertainment, the editor has obviously had to fill in the gaps with other points of interest. Such as a psychologist Professor Geoff Beattie, who as far as I can tell is made of oak, offering his opinion on how the ghost hunters interact with each other.

We also get some ludicrous soundbites from Katie and pals such as Alex saying “I reckon Katie's going to crap herself. Crap her panties.” (Gee Note: Charming bastard), Gary calling out “If there's anyone here can you show yourself. And I don't mean show us your tits Katie!” (Gee Note: Oh my), and Ms. Price herself complaining that “You're going to shit me up” (Gee Note: Lawks! Shit you up you say? I have no idea what that means but it sounds awful). In fact the two best moments from the entire show are made up of conversations.

Firstly you have an old steward who gets the ball rolling in the first location by telling the gang about a nasty spook messing about upstairs.”They say he was a man who used to be mean to his servants”.

“When you say mean,” replies Alex rather alarmed “Do you mean he raped them?” (Gee Note: Which, you know, is the most natural question in the world to ask.)

“I don't know!” says the old geezer “I wasn't there!”

The second one is when Gary refuses to take part in the whole church séance thingy, believing it to be disrespectful to, um, something or other. Feeling the need to defend himself he continues, “I'm not religious in any way... although I am Church of England”.

But outside of those isolated incidents, Ghost Hunting with... Katie and Alex is a snoozefest of the highest order. Which is a shame because Katie Price for once comes across as a normal-ish woman. Although you wouldn't know it unless you made it all the way through, and truth be told if your not asleep by the 40 minute mark I'd be amazed.

Still it could be worse. No one got molested by an oversexed ghost. And no one got hit by a bag of poo. Sometimes you can be thankful for small mercies like that.

Just ask Tila Tequila.

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