Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Of Kittens and Goodies

We have a new obsession in the house. And it all started with one of Cs stories. He was wondering if giant animals could destroy skyscrapers. My flippant reply was, "Kitten Kong could." Which naturally lead to "What's that?"

..and that lead to the Goodies.


For those of you who don't know, the Goodies are a bit of an institution in Australia. Graeme Garden, Bill Oddie and Tim Brooke-Taylor were the stuff of oft-repeated childrens afternoon TV on ABC for years throughout the late 70s, 80s and early 90s. For all I know old Aunty is still showing them. Though I believe they have migrated to cable television these days. Even years later, my DH and his engineering friends would still watch Goodies episodes at the pub before heading off (slightly inebriated) to their lectures. Now if you're not familiar with the Goodies, you maybe wondering exactly what sort of a show would appeal to small children and inebriated pub-crawling engineers (and still be suitable)?

Well, that is an interesting question, and I'll answer it by saying -  when I was a small child, I never realised how many of the jokes I was missing - the Goodies were silly slap-stick with large props and ridiculous story-lines. Most of which revolved around mad-scientist Graham getting carried away with an invention or Bill going a little crazy with an idea and then the whole team trying to figure out exactly how to undo it. Each episode also usually had a lot of catchy tunes - as anyone who's sung along to 'The Funky Gibbon', or 'Kitten Kong' can attest.

What's also in there is occasional nudity (usually female), and an awful lot of innuendo of the 'nudge, nudge, wink, wink' variety. As well as quite a few witty references to cultural norms or pop-culture in general (not always PC).

This has already led to some interesting discussions - particularly with the silly send-up adds on why Tim Brooke-Taylor likes men - the queer/straight imagery is now so cliche it has lost a little of it's comedic impact (which was based on inversion of stereotypes). We also had some interesting discussions on representation of other cultures (almost always stupidly over-the-top cliche, which according to the Goodies was a deliberate anti-racist message, but still makes this mummy cringe a little - and was worth a good talk on what and why these are cringe-worthy). Ditto their representations of women, which I felt was maybe not so nuanced. And yet, I think it's still worth watching and very, very funny.

As to some of the many adult references in the show, when I first watched the Goodies as an adult, my reaction was 'How did I miss THAT?' But I did. (And it's a similar reaction to every other person I know who watched it as a child and then again as an adult - though there may have been some judicious editing by broadcasters...).

And that's what makes it such a brilliant show.

Strangely, it's a show that is bigger and more well-known outside of the UK than inside. The Goodies will even occasionally do live-show tours in Australia.

So I had no qualms showing my two "Kitten Kong" ... what I didn't quite expect was that they would both want to watch it again, and again, ... and again. (Their high-pitched laughter was almost more than poor DH could cope with). J actually preferred to watch more than just the one episode and was willing to branch out to watch silliness like "The Goodies and the Beanstalk".  But C loves watching Twinkle destroy London again, and again.

And though neither has been introduced yet to the wonders of Ecky Thump, it's only a matter of time before they'll start thinking of black pudding as a weapon...

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