5 July 1998

"two fat persons / click click click" -- Ian Dury

Television is something I endure. I watch to get a score update, or to watch a game, or, believe it or not, to catch non-sports headlines and breaking news stories. I may even watch the occasional TV show, here and there. But often it's through gritted teeth, as adverts squeeze through every open space they can, especially in sports broadcasts - the Service Merchandise Home Run Derby is tomorrow in Denver, for example, as ESPN squeezes a little more revenue out of baseball's All-Star break.

So imagine my surprise to actually fall in love with a TV show: Two Fat Ladies. I won't delve into any sizist-bashing or ageist-bashing here; the ladies are not sex symbols, AFAIK - which is, in a way, a blessing. Our eyes are normally so bombarded with supermodels, aspiring supermodels, spokesmodels, and just plain cheesecake, that I suspect menfolk must somehow either tune it out or grow to like a regularly-scheduled mental Pavlovian drool. No one complains, except the Donald Wildmons and Mary Whitehouses of the world.

I, instead, have become a faithful viewer of two charming zaftig senior citizens who know their way around a kitchen and, partly through the magic of editing (for, otherwise, the snappy patter would be snapless), are like your two wacky aunts letting you help with Thanksgiving dinner. This is radical, subversive programming, and, luckily, it's a revolution you can dance to (well, at least it comes with recipes), rather than being some dry, didactic bore. It's a good story well told, or, at least, a set of spacy monologues and dialogues with an end result that feeds a family of eight.

No hype, no special effects, no rote trendiness or demographic fixations - just utter realness that doesn't insult you by reminding you how genuine it is (a frequent fault of all those boring slice-of-life programs). May God bless the BBC and public broadcasters everywhere. I wonder if the Food Network shows old Keith Floyd reruns.

25 November 1999

Thanksgiving brought back memories of busy, wacky kitchens, both at family gatherings and my various stints at restaurants. So I dug this out of the "purgatory" directory. Now, with the death of Jennifer Paterson, TFL reruns are a bit difficult to watch sometimes.