Robert Hampton

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30th December 2010

Twenty Ten – again

What a year 2010 was! It had twelve months, each consisting of at least 28 days. On some of those days I made blog entries. Here are the highlights.

I began the year in January fretting about an alleged Crystal Maze remake starring Amanda Holden. This story fortunately turned out to be utter bollocks. Ginger people again proved that (yours truly excepted) they have no sense of humour or perspective. Britain experienced a deluge of snow, and Merseyrail impressed everyone by soldiering on throughout, a feat which they would surely repeat next time we experienced awful weather… right?

I finally joined the Wii owners’ club, just as the console stopped being cool. My rekindled love for video games did not result in me getting rickets. I also celebrated my first Twitterversary and cautiously welcomed the iPad.

I also took time to blog at length about a US comedian no-one has heard of over here, illustrating my post with YouTube clips which have now been removed for copyright infringement.

In more serious matters, the Haiti earthquake occupied people’s thoughts as a humanitarian catastrophe unfolded in the devastated country.

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23rd March 2010

Get into the Flashback Booth
Posted by at 4.58pm | Television | No responses

It was Autumn 1996 (I think) and your humble webmaster was flicking around the channels on his Telewest analogue cable box (Channel 7 is YOUR local channel!), alighting on the nascent Paramount Comedy. This was a time before the channel could rely on Frasier and South Park to prop up its schedules, and instead relied on two main sources of programming: old US sitcoms from the 1970s, and old US sitcoms from the 1990s which were cancelled after 7 episodes.

Amidst all the rubbish was the occasional gem, and the one I discovered that cold October night was It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, a wonderfully surreal sitcom starring the titular comedian and his neighbours. What marked this show out was that all the characters “knew” they were in a sitcom — cue much fourth-wall breaking and subverting of the genre. It wasn’t unusual to see the show play around with time (“It’s now two weeks later!”) or turn the cameras around to get the audience involved: one memorable episode saw the audience invited to Garry’s mother’s birthday party, only to give her a heart attack when they yelled, “Surprise!”

Running for four seasons from 1986-1990 (and originally screened in the UK on BBC2), it was somewhat overshadowed when Shandling made The Larry Sanders Show in the following decade, and nobody really seems to remember this show. There’s not even many dodgy clips on YouTube to jog the memory.

But I have found a morsel of Flash video goodness for you, so while you’re waiting for that essential DVD to arrive, here’s the ace opening titles in full, setting the tone for everything that follows:-