Sunday, July 31, 2011

Buono Estente!

Welcome to La Republicca, where the weather is always Scorchio (45 degrees Celsius--113 degrees Fahrenheit) and El Presidente is always watching over you, whether you like it or not. And to the extent that there's any relief from life in this self-proclaimed Earthly Paradise, it would be television, specifically Chanel 9 . . .

The "Chanel 9" sketches on The Fast Show were like a sealed universe of their own. The basic premise was a parody of the sort of television that English tourists might encounter while vacationing in the Mediterranean. The setting, to the extent that it was ever established, was a country identified only as "La Republicca," (ruled over by "El Presidente," whose image only appears once--on a pair of pasties) and the made-up language of the country was a hilarious mash-up of Spanish, Italian, Greek, Portuguese, with a lot of nonsense phrases thrown in, not to mention frequent mentions of soccer player Chris Waddle (not just the name, but the man has some seriously big teeth, although he still comes in way behind members of the Royal Family, who could bite small children in two without much effort).

The first sketch introduces the core characters; newscasters Poutremos-Poutra-Poutremos (Paul Whitehouse) and Kolothos Apollonia (Paul Shearer) and weather-lady Poula Fisch (Caroline Aherne). We also see the first of the "Gizmo!" ads; a weird orange thingy thrown together by the prop department which is implied to have magical properties in every room of the house, not to mention the garden, your baby, and your love life . . .

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