"Merlin" may have been dull, but at least I wasn't yelling at the screen

I saw two pieces of televisual recrement yesterday which pissed me off beyond belief: first off was Tony Blair on The Daily Show, which saw the former Prime Minister doing what he always did best, i.e. saying absolutely bugger all but in a way bound to make people love him a little bit more. Jon Stewart was at his most accommodating, gushing all over Blair about how nice it was to meet a world leader willing to talk to him, without realising that he might as well have been talking to a grinning cardboard cut-out of Blair accompanied by a mix-tape of Blair’s most repeated excuses for his actions in the Middle East.

If you watch the second half of the interview, you’ll notice that all Blair really says is that “of course it’s a very complicated situation” again and again but occasionally listing a few foreign places to lend his niddering responses the feeling of authenticity. Of course the audience love him because of his quaint British accent and the fact the he actually deigned to go on the show in the first place, but he couldn’t have had an easier ride – shame on Jon Stewart for wasting the opportunity.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, I then sat through Rick and Steve: the Happiest Gay Couple in All the World, which is an animated comedy about gay lego men and therefore seemed quite promising, but which it turns out is the most disgustingly homophobic thing I’ve seen since Paul Daniels. The first episode introduced us to gay couple Rick and Steve, one of them effete and girly and the other camp and horny, who liked eating quiche and were desperate to have a threesome. We also met their lesbian friends, one of them butch and manly, the other camp and boyish, who hated men and were desperate to have a baby. Oh, and even more hilariously, an older gay man with HIV (that famously laugh-out-loud-funny condition) who was wheelchair-bound (as if the virus on its own wasn’t funny enough!) and took lots of pills, along with his toyboy who was – wait for it – effete and girly. And quite camp.

And so the whole olid affair unfolded, in a story that involved more gay people of different stereotypical varieties and a proliferation of jokes about wanking, semen, cottaging, penises and debilitating viruses. It beggars belief that such a thing could possibly exist in the 21st century – if it was about any other minority it simply wouldn’t be on television. It’s impossible to come up with any kind of example without actually being offensive, but Abdul and Imraan: the Happiest Muslim Couple in All the World is the kind of level we’re looking at, and it would naturally be about bearded men who abused their wives and were determined to blow up a building. Yes – ouch. Yet somehow when it’s about homosexuals it gets on the telly.

What is it about gay people that’s different, then? I’ll tell you. It’s that they make this programme themselves. Yup, that’s right – Rick and Steve are the product of a gay television network, Logo, who were apparently keen to treat their LGBT viewers with a series which “satirized (sic) all aspects of gay life”.

All aspects of gay life??? So that’s wanking, threesomes and HIV, then? Oh, and quiche.

Right wing conservatives can put their feet up; there’s no need for them to perpetuate gay stereotypes and whip up homophobia, gay people are doing it perfectly well themselves.

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