TV Choice: X Factor, Take Me Out & ElfBy Mike Pyle
December 09, 2010
Every week our square-eyed reporters take a look at what’s on TV – the highlights and the lowlights – and pick what they think you should watch or avoid.
The X-Factor, ITV1, Saturday, 7pm & Sunday, 7.30pm
It's the final this weekend and this means one of two things for most people – fever pitched, One Direction-inspired excitement or the feeling of reaching the light at the end of the tunnel.
For me it’s a mixture of both.
On one level I hate everything about The X-Factor – from the irritating contestants to the loathsome judges via the braying idiots in the crowd.
But the show is so well put together that when it’s in front of me I can’t help but be drawn into it.
However you feel about it, stubbly singer Matt Cardle, Lego-haired irritants One Direction, pint-sized rapper/singer Cher Lloyd and stationary Rebecca Ferguson will go head-to-head with their bids to follow in the illustrious footsteps of Leon Jackson and Steve Brookstein.
Take Me Out, ITV1, Saturday, 9pm
Take Me Out is another example of how something completely and utterly terrible can also be brilliant. Well, ‘brilliant’ may be going overboard, but good fun nonetheless.
The premise is simple – take a boy, dangle him in front of 30 desperate girls and watch them go into a frenzy.
The girls each have a light which they can leave on if they fancy the boy in front of them or turn off if they don’t – as host Paddy McGuinness says: “No like, no lighty.” (Those who prefer their TV to be more high-brow would do well to note that this is the type of show where the host can get away with speaking in baby-talk.)
At the end of each round in the last series the boy got to pick his favourite girl and the pair were sent off to a bar to get drunk.
This series sees the show go upmarket and the couples are sent off to take in the sun.
It all makes Blind Date look like Hamlet.
Elf, Channel 4, Sunday, 5.40pm
Christmas films are more miss than hit but this comic offering is an exception to the rule.
It’s about Buddy (Will Ferrell) who is brought up as an elf by Santa’s helpers but, as Buddy grows about 4ft taller and significantly clumsier, it’s clear that there has been a bit of a mix up.
It emerges that Buddy is actually a human and he goes off in search of his dad (James Caan). It’s pretty standard stuff but Will Ferrell is outstanding in the main role and has made this into something of a modern Christmas classic.
Falling Down, ITV1, Wednesday, 10.35pm
None of my selections this week are particularly challenging for the old grey matter but, since we’re all half-cut most of the time at this stage of the year, that’s probably no bad thing.
Falling Down is a film that most of us will have been able to relate to at some point.
It’s about William Foster (Michael Douglas) who finds himself at his wits’ end and decides to take his anger at the world out on society by going on a psychotic rampage.
Stuck in rush hour traffic, Foster, who is known throughout the film as D-FENS because of the number plate on his car, abandons his vehicle and goes into a shop and asks for change to make a phone call.
The proprietor refuses so he tries to break a dollar by buying a can of pop only to find that the change wouldn’t be enough for his call.
At this point he goes berserk, trashes the shop, and so his rampage begins.
It all sounds a bit mindless, but there is actually a bit more to it than that. It’s about how a man can feel alienated by the world around him and is in turns darkly funny, touching and thrilling.