herald

Sunday 20 April 2014

From gun porn to food porn

Once upon a time, Discovery presented itself (disingenuously) as a respectable home for legitimate TV science, but it's long since stopped caring (or pretending). Time to rename the channel "Blowing Sh*t Up!" and be done with it.

On Monday night's Mythbusters (where sh*t is blown up with gusto) the gang repeatedly fired bullets made of human teeth into a pig carcass. "Yuk", I thought. "Awesome!!" is what I was encouraged to think. This pig desecration was, however, but a warm-up for American Guns.

American Guns is a slice of "reality" hokum centred around the gun-trading Wyatt family. They sell guns. They customise guns. They fire guns, a lot, in super-slow motion. Paige (the daughter) shoots stuff while wearing skimpy hot-pants (like an extremely dangerous Daisy Duke). It's basically "Right to Bear Arms" porn for NRA members.



REVOLVER

Monday's episode saw (mum) Renee and (dad) Rich preparing for a trip away. "You never know what kind of wildlife you're going to run into in Alaska", said Rich, feebly justifying Renee's need for a gigantic holiday revolver.

"I'm... intimidated looking at the size of that," Renee cooed, as she caressed a phallic Magnum (the gun, not the ice-cream), shamelessly pandering to male viewers who get off on eroticised violence.

On it went. They built a functioning double-barrelled cannon for a civil war nut, before attempting to turn gun-sceptic Ann into a fervent firearms junkie. Ann's husband Jesse, you see, wanted to honour their love by purchasing a pair of customised pistols. Manly black for him. Girly pink for her. Aw! The old romantic.

By programme's end, Ann had, unsurprisingly, become a born-again convert and the young lovers christened their matching weapons by... shooting ceramic ducks. Rich looked on, approvingly, before solemnly telling them, "This power that you have. No one's ever going to take that away from you". My jaw is still on the floor.

If objects being blown to bits by bullets failed to thrill you, then The Plane Crash offered a bigger helping of extravagant destruction. "Years of meticulous planning" had, we were told, gone into this stunt (or experiment). A team sourced a Boeing 727, stuffed if full of "state-of-the-art research equipment", and then deliberately crashed it into a dry lake bed in Mexico.

Why? Well to answer the question we all, apparently, ask ourselves when we board a plane: "Where should I sit that would increase my chances of survival?". Eh? If you're asking yourselves that question (regularly) then I'd suggest that "crippling paranoia" rather than "potential plane crash death" might be your real problem.

Anyway, the crash happened, and we rubbernecked, and the poor old crash test dummies (who looked upsettingly like catatonic passengers in total denial) were flung about a bit. What ultimately compromised the documentary was the unresolved tension between its exploitative aspects and its "ethical" integrity. The interviews with (clearly) still-traumatised crash survivors felt uncomfortably out of place in a programme that was chiefly concerned with eye-popping spectacle.



LUDICROUS

I started with gun porn and will finish with food porn, having finally caught up with the hilarious Nigellissima. Nigella Lawson's onscreen persona has obviously been thoroughly probed and parodied by now (by Ronni Ancona et al), but the reality is still so ludicrous it's almost piss-take proof.

She remains staggeringly posh. One recipe demands, she says, an "espresso cup's worth of flour" (as if that's an everyday measurement, like a "truffle tin's worth of sugar"). She lounges in her sun-dappled, bourgeois fantasy-land garden guzzling "Sambuca kisses", before admitting to a "pash" for spelt spaghetti. And then there's the relentless coquettishnesss. The batted eyes, the coy perma-grin, the Carry On style eroticising of food.

"This is exactly how I want it", she breathlessly says of a pork loin, "juicy and golden". Matron, please!



AMERICAN GUNS hiiii THE PLANE CRASH



hhhii NIGELISSIMA hhiii

Opinion

Entertainment News