TV Diaries: The launch
We don’t really do binge -watching here in Lippie Mansions, at least, MrL doesn’t. Most of the time, I don’t mind in the slightest, but sometimes you just want one… more… episode… My own fault though, I guess, I married him.
That aside, I’m at a bit of a loose end at the moment, having just finished my contract at A. N. Publishing Corp., so I thought I’d treat myself to a couple of weeks off, just me, my dreadful taste in viewing, my streaming services, and my beloved telly. Watching what I want, when I want and with no viewing companion judging me from the other end of the sofa.
Today is my first proper day off in months, and so far, I’ve watched three documentaries, half an episode of something I can’t remember the name of, and crocheted 15 rows of pistachio green onto the five star-shaped blankets I’m making. Let us not mention Animal Crossing, okay? Hey, I might be doing nothing, but at least I’m not idle. Also, I’ve been up and awake since 5.30am, for some reason.
I’m addicted to documentaries about comedy and comedians, especially about the comedy of yore, and this morning I finished Monty Python Almost the Truth (Lawyers Cut) a six part series made in 2009 about, well, you should be able to figure it out from the title, really. I’m not, actually a fan of Monty Python, but I do find their comedic legacy fascinating. Side note: the first penis I ever saw was Graham Chapman’s in Life of Brian (1979). Its still the first thing I think of whenever anyone mentions the film.
It was a good, well made, and interesting series, particularly in the later episodes which focused on the films, rather than the TV series, and the final episode, about the death of Chapman from cancer, was really quite moving, but a lot of the clips across the series seemed to have been chosen purely because they featured bare tits. Now, I don’t mind the occasional bit of bosom on the box, but it was gratuitous then, and it’s definitely gratuitous now, however lovely the bosoms on display are. Yes, I’m aware of the irony of complaining about this after mentioning the penis in the previous paragraph.
Oddly, I don’t think I’ve ever met a real female Python fan, and, judging by the talking heads on display in this series, I’m not sure I ever will. Its a VERY boy-sy series, tits aside. I was a bit too young to appreciate Python in its heyday (I’m from the Alternative Comedy generation), and the cartoons used to give me nightmares as a toddler. I was left wondering what was actually funny about the sketches, because the doc focused mainly on talking heads telling us what they though the funny bits were, and people laughing whilst remembering a joke isn’t as funny as a joke itself is. Still, it’s well worth a look if you love Python. If, like me, you wonder what the fuss is about, it won’t illuminate you on that score, but the Pythons themselves are all very interesting and engaging, and it’s fascinating nonetheless.
I also watched Jayne Mansfield 66/67 (2017) which I hadn’t actually heard of till the algorithm on Amazon Prime served it up to me this morning. I’m obsessed with Hollywood history and glamour (seriously, if you haven’t already listened to You Must Remember This, you really should). and Mansfield, with her gruesome and sad end, has a fascinating story.
This was a weird, frustrating, annoying, but still interesting watch. With a subject as rich in myth and fact as Mansfield, particularly in her last couple of years, why dress it up with cartoon “recreations” of events that weren’t witnessed, and interpretive dance?
A major Monroe-esque sex symbol of the late fifties and early sixties, Jayne starred in 20 or so movies, spoke five languages, was married three times, had five children (one of whom was mauled by a lion, shown in a cartoon recreation in the doc), and in the two years focused on in ’66/67 was both an alcoholic, and an alleged satanist. Jayne died in a car crash in 1967, and there have rumours ever since that she was decapitated in the accident.
With all of that to cram in, along with talking heads from the likes of John Waters, Kenneth Anger (the author of Hollywood Babylon, which gives you an idea of the sensationalist slant this doc takes), and, for some completely unknown reason, former pop star Marilyn, why give over fully half the documentary to laying out the history of Antony LaVey, the satanist who may, or may not have “cursed” Jayne and her lawyer to die in a crash?
Did I mention the interpretive dance scenes? There are interpretive dance scenes. Sadly, the troupe selected for this purpose, appear to have dosed themselves up on NightNurse especially for the performance, and it drags the film down every single time they’re on screen.
Anyway, I’d give it a firm three stars, there’s an interesting story there – and I learned a LOT about Hollywood satanism in the sixties, and, if this had been a documentary actually about Hollywood satanism in the sixties, I think I’d have liked it more.
I also watched You Don’t Nomi, but more about that tomorrow, because it gave me an idea, and it turns out I really need to watch Showgirls now. I’ll be here for the next couple of weeks, unearthing and watching the TV dreck that’s available on the interwebs so you don’t have to.
Don’t thank me.