Aerial Telly Awards 2012
Let me just stop you right there if you’re thinking of opening your mouth, running your mouth, offering your opinion, having what passes for a thought in what passes for your mind and allow me to explain something. In every sphere of life there are the gatekeepers – those who decide who lives or dies, whether you thrive or nosedive. Aerial Telly is one such gatekeeper. Find yourself on the end of a critical beatdown from the boy and you have about as much chance of success as Cornholeius Bumrage and Borey Stinks have of putting on an exciting fight. Once he has you in his sights you are as helpless as Beenadick Cumdumpsnatch at a “how working class are you?” contest (first prize: a lifetime of low self-esteem).
The time for his annual awards has arrived again and his flawless, fair, honest, brutal, unyielding, truthsome précis of what matters in television and elsewhere will once again be the most pawed and pored over document of the year among those in TV whose opinion actually matters. He thinks this year has been aight. To say it has been a great year would be factually incorrect and before giving credence to an empirically false statement like that he would rather moderate a 19 hour debate about “like, guys and stuff” between that girl with the hairy arse, Toby Dung, the owner of a Twitter parody account and Suzanne Moore’s scratchcard waif. He thus expects things to get better in 2013 and television would not want to play with him on this. He’s not a boy you want to disappoint.
Best show: Girls, HBO
Was it Girl Power or White Power? Throw a brick out of a window this summer in That London and you’d hit two people locked in a to-the-death turd joust on that or some other sixth form debating society foolery. Aerial Telly saw past that nonsense to a brilliantly conceived and confidently executed chronicle of affluent twentysomething cracka-ass crackers with no more clue how to live, love or be happy than Olympic diver and nipple maven Tom Daley has of how to make a grown woman come. At 26, Lena Dunham has the smarts, balls and front many spend 30 years in the business acquiring. Expect more from this little freak.
Worst show: Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy, E4
“Hubris. A fine quality, often possessed by cunts who perish from it.” said Oenomaus on Spartacus and he could very well have been referring to Blowall Fieldung who perished like the cunt he is as a result of his own hubris in producing his bewitchingly bad Luxury Comedy. Surreal concepts took to the air a dozen a second then clunked to the ground one at a time like Mr Burns’s flying monkeys. Rarely has a show featured lazier writing or been more uncritically accepted by its audience of grunts, children and the professionally wacky. That he wound up bullying a woman off Twitter months later suggested we were dealing with a deeply unpleasant broken man at the very end of his fame tether. Either way, this was the worst thing on television in 2012 and the sound of its flatulent exit once even his supremely gullible fans rumble it will echo down the ages like the natural disaster it increasingly resembles.
Worst thing in the universe: Carol Ann Duffy’s Olympics poem
The Olympics would have been alright if you could shut up, filter out or slaughter every rat bastard who never watched sport, knew the square root of fuck all about sport then suddenly decided they were an expert on i) All sport, ever. ii) The marginalisation of women in sport (the one thing they don’t watch, ever) iii) How much more brilliant these human growth hormone guzzling cheats were than professional footballers and iv) Won’t someone think of the playing fields? (“You know the ones, guys – the ones that were shitcanned, the ones we never mentioned before because we hate, fear and misrepresent sport at every turn.”)
So while the country was in this state of self-righteous delusion it was natural for people to search for things to sum up the moment, capture the mood, distil the essence. A photograph of an American wrestler and an Iranian wrestler with their arms around each other was posted, retweeted around Twitter with a demand that it be on EVERY newspaper front page because it would END WAR. Displaying the political nous of Paul McCartney’s Pipes of Peace video this moral panic was possibly the most sickening thing about the whole fortnight but to really encapsulate the hypocrisy, dishonesty and piety of that time we need to turn to our poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy
In her poem ‘Translating the British, 2012‘ Duffy produced one of the most jawdroppingly gormless pieces of doggerel ever put to paper
We’ve had our pockets picked,
the soft, white hands of bankers,
bold as brass, filching our gold
When in doubt, wail on the bankers: check
We are Mo Farah
Explicit claim of contribution to stranger’s triumph we didn’t have shit to do with: check
for every medal earned,
we want school playing-fields returned.
The disappearing playing fields! Check
We are Nicola Adams and Jade Jones,
bring on the fighting kids
Most people don’t know shit about boxing: check.
Yes, it summed up the moment. A moment of stupidity, poison, dishonesty and hate. Well done Duffy. Everything in the universe is better than you.
Best Male: Louis CK as Louie on Louie, FX
Maybe it’s a sitcom, maybe it’s two short films. Sometimes they’re thematically linked, sometimes not. One week deliberately funny, the next deliberately not. Louie is whatever Louis CK wants it to be and the total artistic control with micro-budget model produces a show like no other – a riff on the absurdity of life. At the heart of it is Louis CK playing himself – brilliant, schlubby, battered, mauled and defeated by the 21st-century, his ungrateful daughters and a showbiz landscape with just no room for a strip lighting man. Give the best comic on the planet free rein and this is what you get. Glory.
Best male supporting: Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut on Breaking Bad, AMC
The hothouse environment of Breaking Bad, the best show currently broadcasting, already produced last year’s best supporting male Giancarlo Esposito (who now toils pointlessly in the salt mines of NBC’s Revolution) for the soul chilling Gus Fring and once again produces a supporting performance powerful enough to lead a show all its own. Mike Ehrmantraut, a cold methodical underworld fixer with a steely intelligence and forensic eye for detail honed in his years as a cop, had the kind of low-key menace and Shut The Fuck Up glare the Grim Reaper himself looks at and is all “I want to be that guy”. Jonathan Banks puts in the performance of his lifetime at the end of his lifetime. That fucker’s dead any second now I swear. Look at him.
Worst Male: Eli (Michael Blaiklock), Don’t Trust the Bitch In Apartment 23, ABC
Apartment 23 was all over the place. A sometimes funny, always messy, tonally inconsistent tossed salad of a show that never seemed to know which way it was facing, where its heart was or if it even had one. The most obvious problem was the voyeur next door Eli popping up through his ever open window to deliver unfunny one-liners about how he’s a pervert like he’s in an episode of Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In. It looks like a chore for the cast to even acknowledge him never mind interact with him and on a show where nothing seemed to fit together he was the squarest peg bashing against holes as circular as the logic for including him.
Best female: Sofia Helin as Saga Noren on The Bridge, BBC Four
No one had seen anything quite like her. Implausibly hot yet Assburger’s up the ass; socially inept yet a world-class detective. The Bridge revolved around a powerhouse performance from Sofia Helin whose Saga Noren won praise from notoriously prickly Aspie’s groups about how frigging alright it was. Bouncing off the over friendly dog Martin (Kim Bodnia) Helin helped cement the most compelling odd couple duo of the year and when it came time to show some recognisably human emotion in the finale she swung for the back fences and knocked it out of the park like a roided up Barry Bonds.
Best female supporting: Maisie Williams as Arya Stark on Game of Thrones, HBO
“What do we say to the god of death?” Syrio Forel would ask his charge Arya Stark. “Not today” the spirited no-tail would respond and she has kept up that happy habit of not dying while being sought after by the goons of the coward boy king Joffrey. Maisie Williams in her first TV role brings a curious mixture of innocence and worldliness to Arya making her probably the character you least want to buy the farm on the show. While she keeps sticking motherfuckers with the pointy end that seems a long way off for the cross dressing girl with the smart mouth, fiery heart and ovaries of steel.
Worst female: Emily Mortimer as MacKenzie McHale on Newsroom, HBO
Oh Newsroom how did you piss me off? Let me count the ways for they are legion. Will McAnnoy, effortlessly combining the blank sanctimony of the left with the priggish douchebaggery of the right was a start. The registered Republican with no visible conservative views Will.I.Am.Insufferable’s “mission to civilise” was jointly the least welcome and least coherent of the year. His Executive Producer and ex-broad MacKenzie was introduced as a brassy sassy woman of the world, who had stomped through war zones US Marines had ran screaming from and then spent the remainder of the series breaking down like you imagine the woman Robert Johnson addresses in “Stop Breaking Down Blues” breaks down: instinctively, repeatedly, at the drop of a hat. Sorkin sold out his female characters quicker than a pimp on the Vegas strip and the squealing imbecile MacKenzie was the worst offender. Emmy nominations are guaranteed but Aerial Telly saw through this quicker than Carrie Mathison saw Nicholas Brody was a wrong ‘un.
Citizen journalist of the year: Amir Khan carjack guy
Back in the day when you got badmouthed by inaccurate tabloid reporting your options were limited. But now camera phones, broadband Internet and armed robbery have democratised the media. Instant response to an audience of literally quite a lot of baffled strangers is at your fingertips like BLAW. The city of Birmingham’s Amir Khan carjack guy fearlessly addressed the stories of he and his friends being knocked out by Bolton’s light welterweight champion with a heartfelt off-the-cuff speech that featured a point-by-point rebuttal of the press’s version of events that included multiple exhibits such as a Louis Vuitton purse (or was it a pouch?), some car keys and the Breidis Prescott fight.
“Your chin looks big on TV but when I was connecting with it… it looked fucking bigger!” he noted sagely. In wrestling back editorial control for the people, he did us all a great service. Here’s to you Amir Khan carjack guy. You waste man.
Best network show: 30 Rock, NBC
Seven seasons in and 30 Rock hits the comedy sweet spot as hard as ever. Most shows this far into a run are either i) Long dead – it’s pretty rare for a comedy to run this long; or ii) Floundering hopelessly armpit deep in increasingly desperate attempts to recreate past glories. 30 Rock though just keeps the bitching episodes coming. Lemon and Donaghy form a Yin-Yang of the liberal and conservative instincts, perfectly in balance, perfectly opposed, both wrong about everything. With Tracy, Jenna and Kenneth offering meaty backup the show looks as if it could run a lot longer without pissing anybody off.
Worst network show: Alcatraz, ABC
In the unholy rush to create the new Lost no show was as thick-eared or lazy as Alcatraz. Supernatural time slip, government cover-up, scrote of the week procedural and Jorge Garcia (Hurley from Lost) combined in a show that spectacularly failed to engage and was not possible to enjoy on even a trashy guilty pleasure level. The Alcatraz inmates travelling forward in time to wreak havoc in the present-day faced quite a culture shock when they realise that while we have dismantled Communism, mapped the human genome and have phones more intelligent than the average press officer we have not yet eradicated shite TV. Bombshell.
Best documentary: Storyville – Knuckle, BBC Four
My but the travelling community do like to fight and the seemingly never-ending feud between the Quinn McDonaghs and the Joyces is the focus of Ian Palmer’s fascinating film. Shot sporadically over 12 years Knuckle shows us one piss poor fight after another usually featuring a victorious James Quinn McDonagh. We learn much about the background of the feud, Gypsy culture and life and see some fecking hilarious videos sent between the families taunting each other, videos that fuel the cycle of inept violence that has somehow, against all the odds, left two dead and many pissed off. A compelling look at a world rarely offered for public display Knuckle is a thoughtful non-judgmental film that may leave you a little sad but will definitely leave you a little better informed, much like when your girl dumps you for somebody sexually attractive.
One season wonder: Bent, NBC
NBC treated Bent like Justin Lee Collins treats his women: thoughtlessly, obnoxiously and in the end psychotically. The single camera situation romcom featured some of the best new writing and performing on TV this year but NBC gave it six episodes in a mid-season burn off with feck all promotion and then promptly cancelled it. No, wouldn’t want to be supporting a show like this when you could be bankrolling another season of Smash with Wack Davenpoor. Not for the first time NBC stood for No Bloody Clue.
TV kink of the year: Gillian Darmody’s mother son incest
In the year when Gyp Rosetti submitted to violent stranglefuck, the Prime Minister fucked a pig on Black Mirror and Jimmy Savile was revealed to have used the nation’s care homes and hospital wards as his lifelong personal knocking shop it was going to take something special to walk off with this gong. Happily, Gillian Darmody stepped up to the plate. When most mothers visit their boys at University they fuss around the place, do a bit of laundry, generally do the mumsy things that embarrass him but they know he secretly misses like crazy. But not Gillian. She travels up to Princeton to bang the living shit out of her son Jimmy giving him the kind of hide-behind-the-sofa mommy complex that isn’t easily shifted. It was a shocking scene but most sane men’s reaction was that if Gretchen Mol were their mother they’d fuck the smack talk out of her too. Well done Boredork Empdire. You sick pieces of shit.
The Twilight Zone what the eff was that? award: The Booth at the End, FX
The action on The Booth at the End never moves from the titular cafe booth and it’s always the same. The nameless protagonist (Xander Berkeley) drinks coffee, receives visitors, makes the same deal with each of them. He gives them their heart’s desire if they perform a task. That’s it. You want your son’s cancer cured? Rob a bank. Want the chick in the advert? Reconcile with your father. And the weird thing is it always works. No one knows who the guy in the booth is but he’s awfully good at raising the question “how far would you go to get what you want?” Originally a web series, it’s exactly the kind of high concept low-budget project TV should be chomping on for its future health.
You came back! We thought you were dead: Dexter, Showtime
Dexter took its loyal viewers on an odyssey last year so noxiously faecal last year that many left never to return and you really couldn’t blame them. But those of us who stuck it out got our reward with a brave and bold return to form with difficult questions actually being faced head-on and not cutely sidestepped. In Ray Stevenson we have one of the better big bads of the show’s run and Deborah finding out that Dexter is the greatest serial killer since Landry from Friday Night Lights drove us into intriguing new territory that was negotiated expertly by the now divorced real-life couple of Jennifer Carpenter and Michael C Hall. With LaGuerta sniffing around the Bay Harbor Butcher case things are finally getting interesting again in Miami-Dade. Hoo-fucking-ray, Dex.
Imagined: Monday 11 November 2012