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Scraping the Barrel



Sexy Beasts

Dating shows have been a staple of television for decades. We’ve had blind dates, we’ve had simple dinner parties, and, well, some flat-out crazy ideas of television shows.

Normally, I’d seperate these TV shows into different posts because it makes me look busier but to be honest I’m tired of dating shows, and if my other half didn’t watch them I’d have never known the existence of the majority of these shows. However, my other half does watch these shows and I am therefore forced to suffer through them, and write about them as the grumpy arsehole I am and for that we thank her.

In the 90s we had very simple dating shows – Cilla Black presenting Blind Date is a distant memory of mine and while it got a bit raunchy and a bit cheeky, it didn’t need the bells and whistles that a lot of shows seem to have today (see: This Demented Reality). This brings me to Sexy Beasts (2021, Netflix) which is a remake of Sexy Beasts (2014, A&E), a bizarre dating show which has the noble intention of showing that personality is more important than looks, but gets buried under the stereotypical tropes that come with a dating show. If you want to see a person made up to look like a tree make out with a person made up as a gorilla, this is for you.

Honestly, the prosthetics are impressive – they really are – the thing that lets this show down are the people. Of course Jeremy, 23, who seems like he spends more time looking at himself than anything else in the world, is going to say he’s a ladies man and then spend his date talking about nothing but himself and how much time he spends at the gym, as he drags his knuckles along the floor before beating his chest (he’s a knuckledragger and <\/em>a gorilla). One thing that’s hard to notice is all of these people seem young – which adds to the odour of desperation coming off these people who should be wearing t-shirts saying “PLEASE LOVE ME!”. Of course, there’s also your stereotypical nerds and “alpha males” which makes the show about as entertaining as folding laundry. Worst of all, you don’t even see how the couple fares once revealing their appearance, because it all seems scripted. Honestly, if you’re going to watch it, do it for the prosthetics – not the people.

Which is a great segue into First Dates (2014, Channel 4) which is a wonderfully simple premise – people apply for the show, and their boffins behind the scenes match up each couple to their likely match, who then go on a date in a restaurant while surrounded by cameras. The entertainment here lies in the “will they, won’t they?” aspect where some people, you can tell, are an instant match whereas there are some who simply shouldn’t be in a room together never mind sat at a table. An example of the latter is one bloke who gets out of his flashy car in a tailored three piece and spends his date discussing his wealth, his material posessions, and interrogating his date like she’s got his kids in the back of a refridgerated truck. On the sweeter side of the show, you have the adorable old couples who – I’ll be honest – I’ve never seen a bad date out of. They know what they’re here to do and by God they get it done. The real drama comes from the people who end up checking out the other people in the restaurant while completely ignoring their own date (yeah, that happened).
In conclusion, if you want to watch desperate young people made up to look like crocodiles and squids awkwardly fumble over each other like schoolkids at their prom, go for Sexy Beasts. If you want an entertaining watch with some heartwarming moments sprinkled with bits of drama, go for First Dates.

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TV Shows

Death’s Game (2023)

In the pantheon of TV series that defy convention, “Death’s Game” stands tall as a marvel of storytelling and creativity.



Death's Game

In the pantheon of TV series that defy convention, “Death’s Game” stands tall as a marvel of storytelling and creativity. This 2023 Drama/Fantasy series, starring the talented Seo In-guk, Park So-dam, and Kim Ji-hun, takes its viewers on a wild, whimsical, and wondrous journey through life and death. With its blend of humor, heartache, and heroics, “Death’s Game” is more than a show; it’s a life lesson wrapped in a fantastical package.

At the heart of “Death’s Game” is Choi Yee-jae (Seo In-guk), a character who epitomizes the term “unlucky.” After a series of life-crushing setbacks, Yee-jae decides to end it all, only to find himself in a peculiar bargain with Death, portrayed with a sardonic charm by Park So-dam. The deal? Yee-jae must endure death in 13 different lives to earn his chance at redemption. What follows is a rollercoaster of emotions, actions, and revelations.

The initial episodes are akin to a tragicomedy. Yee-jae’s life, filled with failed job interviews, financial ruin, and personal despair, is the epitome of bad luck. But there’s an underlying humor in his relentless misfortune, something almost Kafkaesque. His eventual suicide, leading to the bizarre agreement with Death, sets the stage for a series that consistently flips the script on expectations.

Each of Yee-jae’s subsequent lives is a mini-arc filled with unique challenges and, often, absurdly humorous ends. From the adrenaline-fueled demise of extreme sports enthusiast Song Jae-Seob to the tragicomic fate of Kwon Hyeok-Su, a bullied teenager, every episode is a blend of satire, dark comedy, and poignant storytelling. The series brilliantly balances the gravity of death with the levity of life’s absurdities.

Kim Ji-hun’s portrayal of Park Tae-woo is nothing short of brilliant. He’s the villain you love to hate – a character so intertwined with Yee-jae’s fates that every encounter with him is both infuriating and enthralling. The clever linkages between their fates add a layer of depth to the narrative, making Tae-woo’s villainy not just personal but almost cosmically ordained.

Park So-dam’s Death is not your typical Grim Reaper. She’s witty, sardonic, and, surprisingly, empathetic. Her interactions with Yee-jae range from amusing banter to deeply philosophical exchanges, adding a layer of complexity to the show. Her portrayal brings a human touch to a supernatural being, making her one of the most memorable characters in recent TV history. She’s less Grim Reaper and more like your sarcastic best friend who enjoys dark jokes a bit too much.

At its core, “Death’s Game” is a meditation on life, death, and the choices we make. It explores themes of fate, redemption, and the interconnectedness of lives. The series prompts viewers to ponder profound questions: What makes life worth living? How do our actions affect others? In a world where death is a game, what does it mean to truly live?

“Death’s Game” is a rare gem – a series that combines drama, fantasy, humor, and philosophical musings in a wonderfully entertaining package. It’s a show that makes you laugh, cry, and, most importantly, think. In the end, Yee-Jae’s journey through life and death is not just about his redemption; it’s a mirror reflecting our own lives, urging us to cherish every moment, every breath. This is not just a TV series; it’s a life-affirming experience that stays with you long after the final credits roll.

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TV Shows

Help! My House is Haunted!

In an era where TV has reached the zenith of innovation and creativity, “Help! My House is Haunted!” emerges as a defiant middle finger to progress.



Help My House is Haunted

In an era where TV has reached the zenith of innovation and creativity, “Help! My House is Haunted!” emerges as a defiant middle finger to progress. It’s a paranormal ‘reality’ show that could only scare someone who believes their toaster is sentient. As a non-believer in the supernatural, I found this show to be a delightful circus of the absurd, albeit unintentionally.

The show’s premise is as original as a white wall. People who probably get spooked by their own shadows call in a team of ‘experts’ to investigate the ‘hauntings’ in their homes. Each episode is a carbon copy of the last: spooky noises, dramatic gasps, and infrared cameras capturing more dust particles than ghostly activities.

In the vaudeville of paranormal TV, the hosts of “Help! My House is Haunted!” are like a mismatched band of ghost-hunting misfits. You’ve got the hipster priest, the astronaut from the moon landing everyone forgets, and the tech guy who seems perpetually out of his depth. Together, they form a team that’s less Ghostbusters and more like a group project where everyone forgot to do their part until the night before.

The main host resembles what would happen if a hipster discovered religion, or vice versa. He’s the type who looks like he’d sip artisanal coffee in the morning and chant ancient incantations by night. With a demeanor that oscillates between solemn reverence for the supernatural and a thinly veiled eagerness to spout whatever ‘ancient lore’ the producers fed him, he navigates each haunted house with the confidence of a man who probably thinks sage can solve structural problems.

The female host is reminiscent of the third astronaut on the moon landing – important in theory, but ultimately the answer to a trivia question nobody asked. She starts each episode with a semblance of authority, introducing some local with a ghost story that’s about as convincing as a politician’s promise. Once the exposition is handled, she often fades into the background, occasionally re-emerging to fumble with some ghost-detecting gadget like she’s trying to tune a radio to a station that doesn’t exist.

Then there’s the techie. He’s the guy in the horror movie who suggests splitting up, and you just know it’s not going to end well for him. Armed with an array of devices that look like rejected prototypes from a sci-fi film, he approaches each investigation with a level of enthusiasm that’s inversely proportional to his actual contribution. He’s like the guy at a party who’s super excited just to be there, even though he doesn’t quite know what he’s doing.

In every episode, this trio embarks on a ghost hunt that’s less about finding ghosts and more about losing credibility. The hipster priest leads with his mystical mumbo-jumbo, the third astronaut tries to keep up, and the techie is just happy to be included. Together, they create a symphony of the absurd, a dance of the deluded, a carnival of the comical.

The houses featured on the show deserve a mention. They range from slightly creepy to ‘that’s just poor maintenance.’ If these walls could talk, they’d probably say, ‘Fix me!’ But instead, the owners choose to believe they’re hosting a ghost convention. The real horror story here is the plumbing.

Then there are the homeowners. Their willingness to believe that every draft is a ghostly caress is as baffling as it is hilarious. It’s like watching a grown-up version of ‘Monsters under the Bed’ – only less convincing. They regale the hosts with tales that could easily be solved with a call to a handyman rather than a medium.

The homeowners on “Help! My House is Haunted!” are an eclectic bunch, each with their own unique brand of haunted hysteria. They’re like contestants on a game show where the grand prize is confirming their house isn’t just old, it’s supernaturally old. Let’s take a light-hearted poke at these brave souls who’ve invited the world (and a trio of quirky ghost hunters) into their homes.

The Jump-at-Your-Own-Shadow Type:

First, we have the classic ‘jump-at-your-own-shadow’ homeowner. These folks are startled by everything – a floorboard creaks, it’s a ghost; the wind howls, it’s a ghost; the fridge makes that normal humming noise, definitely a ghost. They’re the type who would mistake a Roomba for a poltergeist. Watching them describe every mundane house sound with a terror-stricken face is like watching someone play a horror movie on mute – spooky, but somehow amusing.

The Historian of Haunts:

Then there’s the historian of haunts, a homeowner who’s convinced every creak in their home is a century-old ghost with a grudge. They’re armed with backstories for every potential spirit, narrated with the drama of a soap opera cliffhanger. “This is the room where Mildred, the previous owner from 1923, reportedly misplaced her knitting needles. We think she’s still looking for them.” It’s like a live-action history channel, but with more suspense and less accuracy.

The Eager Enthusiast:

Don’t forget the eager enthusiast. This homeowner is just thrilled to be on TV. They’re less concerned about the haunting and more about how their hair looks on camera. Every ghostly encounter is recounted with a gleam in their eye, as if they’re auditioning for a role in a ghost story. They’ll dramatically recount the time a ghost moved their keys from the kitchen to the living room, a story that suspiciously sounds like everyday forgetfulness.

The Slightly Skeptical Spouse:

Often, there’s the slightly skeptical spouse or partner dragged into the saga. They stand in the background, arms crossed, eyebrow raised, emitting an aura of disbelief. Every time their partner recounts a ghostly tale, you can almost hear their internal monologue: “We could’ve just called a plumber, but no, we had to get ghost hunters.”

The Reluctant Participant:

Lastly, the reluctant participant. This homeowner doesn’t really believe in ghosts, but strange noises in the night have finally gotten to them. They’re the person at a surprise party who knew about the surprise all along. They go along with the investigations, half-expecting (and maybe half-hoping) to find a logical explanation – like that the ghost is actually just a raccoon in the attic.

The homeowners on “Help! My House is Haunted!” are a delightful mix of believers, skeptics, and those just happy for a break from normalcy. They bring a human touch to the ghostly proceedings, their quirks and fears adding color to the show’s paranormal palette. While we might chuckle at their ghostly grievances, there’s something endearing about their earnestness. After all, isn’t there a little part in all of us that wonders what goes bump in the night?

The show’s use of ‘science’ deserves its own comedy special. The equipment, which looks like it was bought from a Halloween clearance sale, is supposedly top-of-the-line ghost-detecting technology. The only thing these gadgets seem to detect, however, is the gullibility of the audience.

Each episode builds up to the big reveal, where the hosts unveil their ‘findings.’ Spoiler alert: it’s never a ghost. It’s usually something along the lines of “This place has a lot of history” or “The energy here is unusual.” Groundbreaking stuff, really. It’s like going on a treasure hunt and finding a coupon for 10% off at your local diner.

“Help! My House is Haunted!” is a masterpiece of unintentional comedy. It’s a romp through the world of make-believe, perfect for those who enjoy a good laugh at the expense of logic and reason. For those of us who don’t believe in the supernatural, it’s a weekly reminder that reality is often stranger than fiction – and a lot more entertaining. Watch it for the laughs, not the scares, unless you’re scared of poor home maintenance – in which case, this might just be your horror show.

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TV Shows

The Terror (Season 1)

This show not only delivers a masterful blend of suspense and horror but also manages to infuse a surprisingly delightful dose of humor into its grim narrative.



The Terror

As someone who appreciates a good blend of historical drama and supernatural thrills, I approached the first season of “The Terror” with a mix of excitement and skepticism. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this show not only delivers a masterful blend of suspense and horror but also manages to infuse a surprisingly delightful dose of humor into its grim narrative.

The show, based on Dan Simmons’ novel of the same name, reimagines the lost expedition of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror in search of the Northwest Passage. It’s like if “Master and Commander” met a ghostly polar bear at a haunted house party – sounds bizarre, right? But trust me, it works!

First off, let’s talk about the setting. The barren, icy landscape is both breathtaking and bleak, a perfect backdrop for a tale of survival and supernatural terror. It’s like the crew members are attending the world’s worst winter retreat, with no s’mores or sing-alongs, just a monstrous creature and dwindling supplies. The setting alone gives “The Cabin in the Woods” vibes if the cabin was a 19th-century Royal Navy ship trapped in the Arctic ice.

The cast is stellar, with Jared Harris playing Captain Francis Crozier, who is essentially the grumpy uncle who knows best but no one listens to. His dynamic with Ciarán Hinds’ Sir John Franklin and Tobias Menzies’ Captain James Fitzjames creates a cocktail of ego, leadership clashes, and British stiff-upper-lip-ness that’s more intoxicating than the copious amounts of liquor they consume.

Speaking of which, the show does an excellent job of highlighting the crew’s reliance on alcohol. It’s like an extreme version of a workplace where the office water cooler is replaced with a barrel of whiskey. This inevitably leads to some darkly comedic moments, as you’d expect when a bunch of sailors are cooped up together facing imminent doom.

Now, let’s address the creature lurking in the background. It’s not just a monster; it’s like Mother Nature’s angry spirit animal with a vendetta against colonialism. The creature scenes are a mix of terror and awe, and its interactions with the crew are like the worst game of hide and seek ever played.

“The Terror” also excels in its depiction of the crew’s descent into madness and despair. It’s a bit like watching a very cold, slow-burning version of “Lord of the Flies.” The men are initially all “God Save the Queen” and “Hip Hip Hooray,” but as things go south, so does their sanity. It’s dark but executed with such finesse that you can’t help but find the absurdity in their increasingly bizarre and desperate actions.

Amidst the horror, the show sprinkles in moments of human connection and humor that provide much-needed relief. It’s like finding a half-frozen but still smiling snowman in a blizzard. These moments are subtle but brilliantly placed, showcasing the resilience of the human spirit even in the most dire circumstances.

The blend of historical detail, supernatural elements, and character development is seamless. It’s like a history lesson but with ghosts and cannibalism – educational yet spine-tingling! The show does not shy away from the harsh realities of 19th-century exploration, nor does it hold back in its depiction of supernatural horror.

Season 1 of “The Terror” is a triumph of historical horror that offers more than just scares. It’s a witty, chilling, and strangely heartwarming journey into the unknown. It’s perfect for those who love their history with a side of horror and a dash of dark humor. So, bundle up, grab your favorite blanket, and prepare for a voyage that’s as hilarious as it is horrifying. Bon voyage, and watch out for the polar bears – they’re not as cuddly as they look!

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