I guess like anyone else watching this programme I just want to know why. Why me, principally but also: why should anybody be subject to this? Why must Joanna Lumley Meets Will.i.am be a thing? Could it have not been an unthing, an isn’t, a never-to-be? It’s not the format I particularly have an issue with. Witless hagiography by fawning cunt I get – that is inevitable as Boyd Hilton showering daily in celebrity piss. But why Joanna Lumley and why Will.i.am? What door does this particular combination unlock? Why not Vanessa Redgrave meets Nokio the N-Tity? Judi Dench meets Ralph Tresvant? Honor Blackman meets Kermit Quinn?
Witless hagiography by fawning cunt I get – that is inevitable as Boyd Hilton showering daily in celebrity piss.
A quick recap for those of you unfamiliar with either. Blowanna Slumley – 60s piece of ass who was hot for a while, went off the rails before rehabilitating in comedy. Shill.i.am – essentially Pop Pop from Community if he got a record deal. Blowanna visits Shill at his LA home. Four days they spend together – four days of unbroken salad tossing from Lumley as she follows the manlet around like a lovestruck groupie. “He is an extraordinary man” she tells us in case we go off-message for a second. Producer, fashionista, philanthropist – he is his own global brand. That settles it then.
Shill.i.am – essentially Pop Pop from Community if he got a record deal.
He shows her his Grammy awards, his gramophone and his photo with Obama. He humbly claims credit for shifting momentum in the Democratic nomination race by recording Obama’s campaign song “Yes We Can”. She talks about his “deep sense of social responsibility”, a sense reflected in his lyrics. Inscribed over an archway in his home are lyrics from Where Is the Love, the world-famous hit that he wrote.
“Did you write that?” she asks. “Yeah,” he says. A damp-eyed Blowanna squints up at the archway through her cataracts. “But if you only have love for your own race. Then you only leave space to discriminate“. It has all the profundity of David Brent quoting Des’Ree. He reveals the song was his very personal response to 9/11. All of a sudden Guantánamo doesn’t seem so bad.
Lumley is relentless. “He’s determined to please which makes him all the more endearing”. Hello Magazine is a brutal interrogation next to this. He tells her about his Coca-Cola sponsored eco-project Ekocycle which turns empty bottles of pop into “aspirational fabrics”. She views a pair of polyester Ekocycle jeans “This is almost unbelievable isn’t it?” Not really Blowanna. Your carbon footprint after flying 5000 miles to film this might well be though.
He takes her to where he grew up – the social housing projects of Boyle Heights in East Los Angeles – perhaps hoping she’ll get shot or carjacked and finally shut the fuck up. The only black boy in a Hispanic community Will avoided gang life by
sucking every gangster cock in the neighbourhood studying hard, dancing and hiding in bins. Realising that a life of sexual slavery to Hispanic gang members was ahead of him his devout Christian mother had him bussed to a school 20 miles away where he flourished, excelling in music, art and an impersonation of Carl Lewis every time the Cholo Beaner gangsters showed up.
“I love my neighburhood” he confides “But imagine I stayed there? Life would be fucked”. As fucked as this documentary. “Will.i.am is surely a Renaissance man for our times” Slumley concludes as she is propelled back across the Atlantic by the miracle of Aeronautics.
Remember: your licence fee bankrolled this.
The verdict: Where is the point?
Marks out of 10: 2