Christmas contains two massive TV highlights for me. The first is The Big Fat Quiz of the Year, the bawdy pub-quiz style show where Jimmy Carr and guests take satirical potshots at popular culture. Apparently, some people got offended this year, although the biggest surprise was how many were offended by it despite not even watching it. Ofcom rightly dismissed these people, leaving their cult leader (the Daily Mail) chewing over how to go after the main ‘offenders’ next. James Corden, watch out. One step wrong at The Brits this week and you could be toast.

The second TV treat is Charlie Brooker’s Yearly Wipe, which acts rather like the former, but with less quizzy high-jinks and more vitriol. The satire has a more brutal edge, but it very rarely goes after a target unfairly. So I was delighted to see that BBC2 had commissioned a weekly series. Perhaps this is genuine interest in developing the show. Or maybe they just need to fill in time before BBC1 broadcasts the next series of Have I Got News For You. It doesn’t matter, I’m happy with their decision anyway.

Weekly Wipe contains pretty much the same ingredients as its yearly parent. Brooker uses monologues to skewer the ridiculous and stupid, be they groups, individuals or events. His vast popular culture knowledge means celebrities and the media who track their every move are prime targets, often deservedly. Films, TV and adverts are all ripped apart, unless he likes something (e.g. Django Unchained), in which case other people’s reactions to it are slaughtered.

Current events aren’t ignored either. The most recent episode looked at both the horsemeat scandal and the gay marriage vote. The former is easy to write about- everyone across the spectrum is fairly shocked, even if some know-it-alls claim otherwise. The latter poses a more interesting dilemma. As Brooker rightly identifies in his monologue, anyone pro-gay marriage is seen as being brainwashed by a liberal media. It is interesting how the left-wing media and right-wing media blame each other for manipulating the public. The left blame the Murdoch empire and the Daily Mail for creating a landscape that encourages women to be judged by their looks and maintaining a white middle-class establishment, whilst the right attacks Guardian readers for society being too PC and not letting us deport immigrants. Neither has the stranglehold the other suggests in reality, but try telling them that.

To his credit, Brooker satirises both camps. His attack on the anti-camps are pretty much the same as you could read on Twitter e.g. making decisions based on religion is a bit silly, this kind of prejudice is outdated etc. His critique of the pro-camp in many respects was more of a satire of the media’s treatment of them- the same couple wheeled out, asked the same questions. It was interesting how the two groups were never allowed to comment on each others arguments, as if gay people and straight people live in separate towns.

Brooker is brilliant at these monologues, but the show is not without its faults. The one section that I do not get, and actually bores me, is the Shitpeas and Cunk bits. Is the point that stupid people give opinions that they are not qualified for? If so, that is much better satirised in Brooker’s mockery of internet comment forums Points off of You. I wonder off and pour myself a drink when they come on.

But this a minor blip. The rest of the show is, bizarrely considering Brooker’s downcast demeanour, a joy. I hope the show gets recommissioned for later in the year. We will need something to get us through the winter nights.

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