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Update: This show is now on at midnight, weds - saturday. I fear it will soon dissapear off our screens completely
So one day I'm browsing around TV and I find that someone else is doing exactly the same. Except this isn't another person, this is part of a TV show!
On at 12pm every Weds-Sat on Paramount Comedy 2, flipside TV marks a new concept in comedy and chat show combined.
--------------------------- What Is Flipside? ---------------------------
Flipside TV is a live show (although one often wonders how much is pre-planned) where three guests flip around the hundreds of TV channels on Sky. They watch shows and then participate in discussion with the other members of the panel and the host.
There will usually be a few shows that they come back to throughout the show. Favourites include "most haunted live" and "Plastic surgery live" for their pure comedy and discussion value. They also watch some rather obscure channels.
It's an interesting concept. Watching people watching TV. One would think it's a suicidal business idea because you'd surely lose viewers to the shows you're highlighting. But I suspect there are sums of money exchanged in sponsorship by these shows and Richard Bacon (series Producer) put across the interesting position:
“It’s the perfect TV idea. People love flipping channels. And on Flipside, we do the flipping for you. The more successful Flipside is in sending its viewers away to see TV they can enjoy, the more they will return to Flipside.”
But I'm not one of these flippers. I mean I rarely like the TV that's on at 11pm. But flipside seems to pick out some very interesting snippets of shows. It's interesting to hear what they think of it and some of the funny comments that come out. So I usually just stick to watching flipside.
Flipside often gets a bit loud though. With all four people trying to get across what they think at the same time. Sometimes it's also quite hard to follow. But the host is usually good at keeping things under control. There's certain an amateur feel to the show which is part of it's appeal.
It's the live element that makes it interesting. Someone will suddenly come across something interesting and they'll shout at the host or something. It just gets a bit mad sometimes. The wrong picture will come up on the TV (Because they'll put another guests' viewing on instead of the one who's talking) or it wont come up at all.
So what is flipside TV? It's 4 people sitting around, flipping through channels and laughing at some of the rubbish that's on the tele. Sometimes participating in serious discussion about whether something is good or not and sometimes arguing with each other.
The Flipside competitions always make me laugh. Each night they have an audience participation topic (sometimes they'll ask for audience participation in something completely abstract and on the spot as well like they'll get onto the topic of a song and forget the singers name "if anybody knows, please phone in and tell us".) and a competition.
Such topics would be like "who would you not want to meet in a pub (famous person) and why?" or general silly questions which could spawn hilarious answers from the public.
The competitions have a silly qualifying question. But unlike shows like "this morning" who seem to take it seriously, they really go for the stupid selection of answers and add comedic value to it. For instance I remember one (one of the more vulgar ones I might add)
Where does batman keep the batmobile? a. In the batcave b. In Halfords garage c. In robins back passage
Being the immature person I am, I found this profoundly funny.
-------------------------- Who Is In It? --------------------------
There's a team of 3 presenters who take it in turn to present at least 1 night a week each. Iain Lee is their top man, bringing his fantastic brand of comedy. You may remember him from the Channel 4 11 O'clock show or Ri:se. He's one of the most under rated presenters around, with a fantastic and unique brand of comedy and professionalism.
Another good presenter comes in the form of Richard Bacon who used to do blue peter. He had a lot of potential as a presenter until the drug allegations against him. But now he can only find work on things like the Big Breakfast and radio adverts. Now he's on here, not much of a step up. But he is a great presenter. He also produces the show!
The third regular presenter is Justin Lee Colins. I have to admit I had to look on the website to find his name. I know him as "the guy who did that 10 things you didn't know about program on Bravo TV" but he is also a great presenter.
All three are seasoned presenters and bring their own unique element to the show. So you can expect it to be different every night.
As for the guests, the only one I can name is Lauren Lavern. The rest are all people that you know the faces of but can't put your finger on their names. They are known as "that guy who did that thing on that show". Like Keith from the office. But they do have some good comedians and TV personalities from Britain on the panel.
So it's not exactly A list stars but they're usually pretty good at guesting. However I must admit that some nights the chemistry just hasn't been there and the guests have simply been bad. They've made rubbish jokes and comments, which in any other circumstance would be followed by an awkward silence.
--------------------------------- Who Would Like It? ---------------------------------
This is not one for grandmothers. I would say the viewership ranges from 16 year olds to 30 year olds who have a taste for slightly sick comedy. I mean it's not that bad and it's not too sick but sometimes it gets a little dodgy and the jokes are certainly adult most the time.
There's also a good display of nudity (courtesy of Naked News, Bravo and Men + Motors) and they have recently had naked news presenters doing a new segment to the show "flipside news". Expect full frontal (though discrete and tasteful) nudity for very brief periods of time.
There's a bit of discussion around men-based programming and some very rude jokes made. It is just the sort of comedy for my age group. There's also some offensive language (although not much) and perhaps some comments could be interpreted as offensive.
Again, this show just seems the perfect sort of university student style show!
---------------------------------- What's The Attraction? ----------------------------------
Why do I like this show so much?
Well it's amateur, it's obviously low budget and it's main content is based around other TV channels. But somehow I still like this show.
The amateur style makes it feel more personal.
The concept also just reminds me of sitting around with my friends. We'd flip around TV stations and comment on the shows we came across or start discussions based on them and go off on tangents. It's exactly like that.
I also love the idea. There's rubbish on TV, so lets watch a bunch of other people watching TV. It's as ironic as big brother (especially when the girls were in the bedsit). We're bored, watching other people board while watching other people who are bored.
With flipside we're watching TV, watching other people watching TV.
What would be great is if another channel did a similar show and then flipside tuned into them every now and then. In fact it is my dream to have every show on TV like flipside and they just tune in to each other constantly. Commenting on how crap the other one is etc.
But I can only dream. So that's the appeal, it's just interesting to watch and it is just like what we do, only other people are doing it!
Flipside TV is unique and low budget. It's still finding its audience and its feet a little bit. But it is good viewing.
If anything, they alert you to what's on and give you feedback on how good or bad it is while it's on. So you can choose to see it or not. It's like having your own reviewing panel live.
I wouldn't be surprised if someone took the concept further and created a channel out of it. Where all they showed were TV reviews all day and incorporated Flipside into the schedule. I mean it is a good idea after all, but making money out of it would be difficult.
I like flipside if only for it's charm. I would suggest that if you're a little immature and enjoy a little bit of comedy then you go and have a look. It is entertaining to say the least.