TV on the internet is a great thing. 4OD and BBC iPlayer are brilliant, and it’s very handy when people upload American shows onto a video sharing site before it’s shown in the UK (not that I would touch such legally dubious resources, *cough*). My problem is not with TV on the internet.
No, my problem is with the internet on television; shows such as Lennyhenry.tv, Alex Zane’s Rude Tube, and the “Funny 5″ section on Richard & Judy. I think Lily Allen and Friends may also have included web clips in it, but I never bothered watching Lily Allen and Friends, I’m not that desperate.
The shows are essentially the same — a comedian presents a variety of popular clips from YouTube and provides a commentary on them. It’s sort of like You’ve Been Framed, except — get this — even worse.
Firstly, YBF is hosted by Harry Hill, who is actually funny. Not funny enough to make YBF anywhere near worth watching, obviously, but he does a better job than most would. Secondly, the clips on YBF are at least filmed on video cameras, unlike web clips which are often filmed with webcams or mobile phones. Watch mobile phone footage on TV for too long and you’ll do your eyes a mischief. Finally, at least when you see the clips on YBF you haven’t seen them before; you might not know exactly what’s going to happen.
This is not a luxury that you are given when watching internet clip shows, as some tedious acquaintance has almost certainly already emailed you a link to the clip that you are about to see, accompanied by a message that says something like “a cat falling off a piano lol”. That clip of the prisoners dancing to Thriller in the Philippines made me smile the first time I saw it, but by the time it made it onto TV I’d probably been made to watch it about twenty times. Even genuinely funny things can get boring if you see them that often.
I can’t really decide which is worst. Lennyhenry.tv is probably the most depressing, as it just looks like a middle-aged man desperately attempting to look modern enough to save his career. He might as well have called it “How can I be old when I know what the internet is?” In fairness to the man, though, I suppose he does come out with the odd funny line.
Alex Zane, on the other hand, does not. On top of that, Alex Zane’s Rude Tube was not only an internet clip show, it was also a list show. It was, however, a one-off, and so the viewer had fewer clips to endure, assuming some people actually bothered to sit through the entire thing.
Richard & Judy‘s “Funny 5″ section is definitely the most irritating, because it’s usually presented by Rufus Hound, and because the pair of them tend to laugh sycophantically at everything he says regardless, it seems, of whether or not he intended it to be a joke. It’s surprisingly hard to tell when Rufus Hound is trying to make a joke because everything he says is equally inane, but when he intends it to be funny I think he leans forward a bit and grins slightly. On the plus side, “Funny 5″ is at least relatively short.
I can quite happily watch most things on television (I once sat through an entire episode of BBC 3′s Scallywagga) but I’ve never managed to endure more than about 15 minutes worth of “internet on television” programming, despite my best efforts. People worry about the internet being used by terrorists and pornographers, but to my mind the biggest threat is TV executives with time to fill and a limited budget.Join TVScoop on Facebook for exclusive competitions and gossip