Sunday, 17 October 2010

Bad Boys

*Trigger Warning*

So. Charlie Brooker has given up his Guardian column, Screen Burn. The man who called Cilla Black “the result of a unholy union between Ronald McDonald and a blow-dried guinea pig” has had enough of his misanthropic ways and is calling it a day, in terms of skewering TV “personalities”, anyway.

Brooker claims that meeting his victims and discovering they were actually quite nice, and feeling like a “witless bully” has encouraged him to leave the celebrity-bashing alone. But you and I know better. Why has Brooker mellowed? Because, obviously, he married a delightful young woman I like to call Konnie Hug, on account of the fact that she hugs every single person she interviews on The Xtra Factor.

Huq: Good at hugging wannabies.
Her hugs make the contestants glow and smile and think that maybe they might be able to win. I wish she’d hug me. It would make me less of a bitch. And hugging Huq has clearly charmed Charlie down from his bitter perch. Perhaps. Presumably also having a post-Blue-Peter-presenter-partner means he can’t write things like, “it’s a bit like watching a programme in which children queue up to be punched in the face by Father Christmas. Absolutely riveting for all the wrong reasons” about X Factor. (But she is very funny too: witness this segment she did for Screenwipe, where, apparently, they met.)

While I admire Brooker’s new-found love for the human race, I am also hugely disappointed. Which says two things: 1) I am a bitch who likes reading these brutal put-downs, much in need of a Konnie Hug; and 2) I am a complete stereotype of a woman who finds ‘bad boys’, or at least men who are appalling to other people to be funny/ exert their own sense of power, to be quite attractive.

The absolute apotheosis of my love for the Bad Boy comes in my admiration for (obsession with?) another Charles, Gossip Girl’s beautifully dreadful Chuck Bass.


Dude, I'm Chuck Bass. Even Europeans must know what that means.
Oh Chuck, with your bowties, your thick frowning brows, your billions of dollars, your little black book and your “I’m Chuck Bass” catchphrase, you make me swoon. Your machiavellian machinations are even more devious than Blair’s, and I can’t stop watching. (In the season 4 evil-off between B. and C., my money’s on C.)

And Chuck is also (temporarily) saved by a beautiful, kind, good woman (who incidentally seems to be a good hugger). He starts believing in the goodness of humanity. He gives money to charity. He realises his chauffeur is a person with a family who has feelings and needs a raise.

And – and this is something I’ve been watching out for since the beginning of season one – Chuck admits to the attempted rape of Jenny Humphrey. GG is a guilty pleasure for me, but even more so given the positioning of Chuck as a constant sexual harasser right from the first episode. It takes over three seasons for anyone to come out and call it rape. He’s shown to be penitent, and a changed man, but when his relationship breaks down (of course his girlfriend-saviour is really a golddigging prostitute), can we be sure he won’t revert completely?

Maybe I’ve talked myself out of my crush. What does it say about us that women are expected, encouraged, nay, assumed to watch Gossip Girl naked while rubbing ourselves with Creme De La Mer and fantasising about Chuck? Oh yes. Rape culture. And before you say, “Blah, blah, blah, humourless feminist,” the intersections of misogyny, racism* and unbridled consumerism are all there – it’s called western capitalist patriarchy in some parts.

And let’s not forget, Charlie B (the other one) has his moments of total sexism (but it’s funny!!! cleverly, he anticipates the reactions of humourless feminists and tells us we’re stupid in advance) and making homophobic slurs. But of course, that’s all in the past. His love of a good, here’s-one-I-made-earlier-let-me-give-you-a-hug woman has changed him.

So I’m back to sex and violence. Nothing wrong with falling in love with a foul-mouthed, preferably handsome man who has a reasonably big ego.

And nothing wrong with drooling over the delicious teenagers, yummy clothes** and sensational martinis in a silly but glamourous TV show.

But careful, readers; while they look like they taste good, these Upper East Side treats might just stick in your throat.

You know you love me... xoxo

* The way Chuck and Blair treat Vanessa is totally indicative of their sense of entitlement and incessant casual racism.

** Two references for clothes this season are GG and Mad Men: obviously MM is a million times cleverer than GG but still at risk of the same glorification of misogyny if watched without attention.

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