Helpline launched for those who discover family & friends watch Love Island

The government has established a free helpline for people that have recently found out their closest friends and relatives are watching Love Island.

Love Island's Marcel and Gabby

Love Island contains literally dozens of moments of mild surprise.

The ITV reality show — in which facile representations of the human condition attempt to copulate on television in order to boost their social media ‘brands’ — has already affected millions of people, with unsuspecting members of the British public being subjected to inane conversations about ‘whether or not Kem is going to get with Amber after the recoupling’, as well as being asked ‘can you believe what Montana said about Olivia last night in the beach hut?’

“It’s really important for people to feel as though they fit in with their family and peer groups,” said Dr Robert Vicars, a Professor of Human Beings & Geese at the University of Hull.

“It can be an acute psychological trauma therefore to discover that not only do you have much less in common with your social circles than you thought, but that they actively enjoy consuming television that is the intellectual equivalent of ingesting a gallon of battery acid.”

Chloe Mayo, a collector of rare beards who exclusively watches BBC 4 documentaries about renaissance-era poets and ancient Roman coinage, said: “During the Brexit referendum an old school friend of mine posted a Facebook update talking about how important it was for us to ‘take back control of our borders’ and that ‘Britain should be for the British’, which was pretty disappointing really.

“But then earlier this week she shared a selfie with the caption: ‘Can’t wait for tonight’s Love Island’.

“I just replied with ‘Fuck you’ and unfriended her. I can’t believe someone I used to know so well would have those opinions.”

Helpline operators will also be offering support to people who find out their loved ones like Mrs Browns’s Boys, think Made in Chelsea is aspirational or have Don’t Tell the Bride on series-link.

TV Review: Blind Date Reboot

Looking back now, the 90s was perhaps humanity’s greatest period in history.

Sandwiched between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the War on Terror, it was a time of innocence. We were emerging from the bleak years of Thatcher; Brit Pop, Girl Power and New Labour promised a bright future as we approached the new millennium.

So in the age of Trump, Brexit, ISIS and other assorted awfulness, who can blame us all for wanting to pretend it’s that joyous decade once again?

In lieu of a working time machine, popular culture is manufacturing this shift in the spacetime continuum by bringing the past to us. The Crystal Maze has been resurrected by Channel 4 just months after doing the same with TFI Friday, with Blind Date the latest relic to be dusted off and thrust in front of the viewing public’s collective blank expression.

If we take a moment to consider the current state of TV dating, the new Blind Date should be a welcome relief from the eternal void we all thought the bottom of the barrel was protecting us from. The misogynistic cattle parade of Take Me Out was but an aperitif ahead of the likes of Love Island – a chilling insight into the Instagram-fuelled dystopia we’re all clearly heading towards – and Naked Attraction, a show in which contestants literally pick their matches based on the size of their labias.

‘Hey sir, whaddya say? This specimen’s got real strong thighs, perfect for working the field ‘til sundown.’

‘True, but that minge looks like a poorly carved Christmas ham.’

You thought you didn’t need a personality to succeed dating on TV in 2017? You barely need a functioning face.

Originally fronted by Cilla Black, Blind Date pulled in almost 20 million viewers at its peak, and Channel 5 have kept faithfully to the original format, presumably in a bid to pick up where it left off in 2003.

So why is it that this reboot has us longing for 9/11 all over again?

Blind Date host Paul O'Grady

Paul O’Grady stood in front of light bulbs inside cylinders. More fun than the new Blind Date.

It wasn’t that the original was good – it was mindless trash, obviously – but it was of its time, and there was nothing else quite like it. Modern TV dating hasn’t set the bar higher, quite the opposite, but it feels like we’ve just seen too much. It’s like watching the Hammer Horror movies and expecting to feel scared, or rewatching Jim’ll Fix It and expecting not to feel nauseous.

We’re two weeks into the show’s return and both of the opening episodes have been spectacularly, almost impressively, dull. As already mentioned, the format is identical to its previous incarnation, with one guy or girl picking from three guys or girls, and then vice versa, with catch-ups on the dates from last week in between. This led to an awkward gap to fill in episode one, but the producers got around this problem by showing us the dates of two random couples they had matched off-screen – presumably failed auditionees. Unsurprisingly, watching two people who you had no emotional investment in walking around European cities and not getting on doesn’t really work.

To be honest, you’re hard pressed to feel any attachment to any of them. There’s very little time to get to know the contestants, while their pre-prepared answers to the three vacuous questions – invariably built around a bad pun – are so devoid of wit and intelligence that you wouldn’t want to anyway.

Paul O’Grady is a likeable screen presence and does an okay job of a pretty thankless task, but the show’s airtime (7pm, Saturday evenings) means there is no place for anything more risque that O’Grady might have been able to offer. The fact that it is bland was perhaps to be expected, but not even being able to call it bland family fun is a serious failing.

Despite all of its flaws it is at least not jarringly offensive, but then Blind Date never was. In 2017, perhaps that’s a part of the problem.

Think Outside Christmas – A Festive Advert Special

Ho, ho, fucking-ho. It’s Christmas time, isn’t it? You can tell because every other advert on television is trying to make us cry in an attempt to convince us to buy things.

It was back in 2007 that John Lewis launched their first ‘Christmas advert’. Fast-forward to 2016 and high-end retailer after high-end retailer are falling over themselves to outdo each other in their rampant, saccharine consumerism.

Suitably filled with festive joy, let’s take a look at the ads that will be encouraging us to part with our money this year.

M&S – Christmas with Love, from Mrs Claus

You can’t rely on a woman to do much right, but you can rely on her to buy shoes. This isn’t just any brand of feminism, this is M&S feminism.

It’s fair to say that the internet has lost its shit over the latest M&S Christmas advert, with many observers claiming that the retailer has comfortably beaten John Lewis’ effort this year (we’ll come to that shortly).

The ad follows the exploits of Mrs Claus who, immediately after wishing her husband well on his trip around the world delivering presents, embarks on her own journey – answering the call of a young boy who wants to make amends for ruining his sister’s trainers.

She’s stylish, attractive and sophisticated, and one can only imagine this is what passes for empowerment at M&S Towers.

In fairness, she does do a great job, as the young girl seems to be very happy with her shoes, but then it sort of pales into comparison against providing the entire world with gifts – but then I suppose she can’t be expected to achieve as much as her husband, can she.

John Lewis – Buster the Boxer

It might have been John Lewis that pioneered the concept of epic festive tales supplemented by slowed down pop covers, but the department store have gone with a bit of a different tack for 2016.

It’s fair to say this year has sucked pretty hard, so it’s nice to see that John Lewis has decided to try and elicit an emotion other than cloying sadness with their latest Christmas advert.

Buster the Boxer is a tried-and-tested combination of cute animals and humour, but it works, and actually feels Christmassy, compared with previous efforts that have arguably been a bit cynical.

It’s a shame, therefore, that so many people are disappointed with it. Having said that, maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised? After all, Brexit and Trump were very much self-inflicted disasters. Perhaps Western society isn’t largely made up of frothing-at-the-mouth, hate-filled racists, but frothing-at-the-mouth, self-hating masochists.

We’ll only have ourselves to blame if next year’s John Lewis advert features a young boy left orphaned when his entire family is wiped out in a Christmas tree fire, right after his precocious, talking teddy bear is diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Waitrose – Home for Christmas

The secret to an affective Christmas ad, at least from where we’re standing, seems to be the combination of some sort of journey (whether it’s literal or emotional), a melancholic soundtrack and, more often than not, CGI animals.

Waitrose’s festive offering certainly utilises all three of those ingredients – a courageous robin travelling across land and sea, encouraged on his way by rousing orchestral music. How very pleasant.

So why does the whole thing fall a bit flat?

The problem is a lack of context. Is the little girl able to discern individual robins by sight and knows her old friend hasn’t been back all winter? Do the little birds know each other and are engaging in a Christmas reunion? Maybe he just really likes mince pies.

It’s also neither sad or funny, and while there is certainly an element of jeopardy, the robin really has no one to blame but himself if he gets eaten, drowned or stepped on all in the name of pastry. I know it’s from Waitrose, but for fuck’s sake. The pretentious arse.

Sainsbury’s – The Greatest Gift

Sainsbury’s found themselves in a spot of trouble two years ago when they cashed in on the horror of war to sell products. Since then they’ve gone no where near the John Lewis-style of Christmas advert, and have followed up last year’s ‘Mog’s Christmas Calamity’ with ‘The Greatest Gift’, which follows the stop-motion exploits of Dave as he… I dunno, tries to get home for Christmas or something. To be honest it got boring half way through. It’s three and half minutes long for God’s sake, and after mainlining festive cheer into my eyeballs all day I got distracted.

The message is kind of nice I guess, but then that’s spoiled by James Corden’s awful voice permeating the whole thing.

There’s plenty more where all of that came from – even budget supermarket Lidl is getting in on the act this year – but if we have to sit through any more vacuous, gooey sentiment we might shut down Think Outside the Box for good and spend all Christmas throwing puppy parties for dying children. And we can’t have that.

Think Outside the News: Back to the Future Part II to be reclassified from satire to political biopic

Biff Tannen as Trump

Popular sci-fi sequel Back to the Future Part II — in which a wild-haired megalomaniac seizes power and transforms America into a lawless dystopia — is to be reconsidered by film critics as a historical biopic.

The plot follows Marty McFly and Doc Brown as they attempt to thwart the wealthy and corrupt womaniser Biff Tannen, who was acquired his undeserved wealth by stealing the DeLorean. Biff proceeds to use his money exclusively for quenching his own thirst for despotic power and hot pieces of ass.

For a long time thought to be a lighthearted and satirical family film, the second instalment of the BTTF trilogy will instead be placed alongside Schindler’s List, Hotel Rwanda and The Killing Fields as a dark and disturbing depiction of real life events.

Biff portrait

“I used to love watching Back to the Future Part II as the fantastical piece of escapism I thought it was but, now it turns out to have been true all along, I feel like I need to go back and consider it with the seriousness it deserves,” said Rebecca Dudley, a human woman from Northampton.

The movie’s director Robert Zemeckis said: “I was surprised when we were overlooked for the ‘Best Picture’ Oscar in 1990 — they usually lap this biography stuff up.

“I mean for God’s sake, that was the year Dead Poet’s Society got nominated, and that was bloody awful.’

Historians are now planning to scour the history books to double-check whether or not William Wallace was actually an anti-semitic Australian, and that the entire Jurassic era wasn’t actually just a theme park.

Trailer Trash – Office Christmas Party, Rogue One, Passengers & Assassin’s Creed

As we emerge from our 18 month slumber, crawling out from the warm and safe womb of inactivity and straining our eyes against the bright and cold of 2016, it’s safe to say that we wish we hadn’t.

Waking nightmares and the almost systematic genocide of our nation’s most loved TV and film personalities aside (thanks, cancer), it’s nice to see that the relentless conveyor belt of sex, violence, hyperviolence, high concepts, jump scares, belly laughs and tears continues unabated.

Ahh, oh how we’ve missed you. Here’s some stuff that’s happening over an indeterminate period of time.

Office Christmas Party

UK Release – 7th December 2016

If we ever have The Hangover franchise to thank for anything, it’ll be the oh-so-longed for backlash against the deluge of midlife crisis porn those films coughed up like a vodka, blood and shame-soaked hairball.

In the meantime we’ve got Office Christmas Party, starring Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman and a whole host of other actors who are of course in this film.

It’s written by Jon Lucas – the creator of the aforementioned trilogy. We can only assume that his life is so suffocatingly repressed that he needs to live vicariously through these obnoxious, self-indulgent bro-fests, grinning like a frat boy while his cast drink and grope away decades of gender politics like they’re in a Donald Trump wet dream.

So, yeah. Merry Christmas.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

UK Release – 14th December 2016

If you’re one of the five people to have read Think Outside the Box regularly in the past you may well have noticed that we struggle to be sincere about anything, instead favouring sardonic disdain and swearing. Mainly because it’s both big and clever.

However, we’re simply unable to muster anything other than wide-eyed, childlike wonder at the Rogue One trailer.

Though narratively similar to A New Hope, The Force Awakens was a huge departure tonally, especially when compared with the Rancor-sized catastrophe that was the prequels. Significantly darker and boasting an approach to special effects that demonstrated just how much the franchise had grown up since the CGI-heavy second trilogy, J.J. Abrams’ contribution to the saga seemed to acknowledge the advanced years of the original Star Wars fanbase.

Judging by the trailer, Rogue One is following suit, combining that more mature tone with all the joy of the originals. Go on, try to deny that you’re anything other than feverishly excited about this.

Passengers

UK Release – 21st December 2016

Passengers follows on exactly one week from Rogue One in what will probably prove to be either Box Office suicide or a smart move, capitalising on the world’s sci-fi hype.

It’s got a lot going for it in its attempts to be the latter though: the always fantastic Jennifer Lawrence; the hugely likeable Chris Pratt (who was so great in Guardians of the Galaxy); and Michael Sheen, who’s never in anything rubbish (almost).

It’s riffing on that lost in space theme that has been done so many times before, but with that cast, as well as the director of The Imitation Game at the helm, this could very well be excellent.

Assassin’s Creed

UK Release – 1st January 2017

You know that feeling of frustration – nay, betrayal – when a film has flat out failed to meet the expectations built up by its trailer? Don’t you just hate that?

Us too.

It’s refreshing therefore that the makers of Assassin’s Creed have decided to forego that facade, instead making it clear from the off just how fucking terrible this film is.

Based on the popular video game franchise of the same name, Assassin’s Creed’s plot is ridiculous, albeit in keeping with the original mechanics of the game’s narrative. It’s one saving grace could be an unfathomably excellent cast, considering it looks for all the world like it is going to be filed away alongside Super Mario Bros., Max Payne and Mortal Kombat as a dreadful video game movie adaption.

A line-up of Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Brendan Gleeson and Charlotte Rampling would often be cause for optimism, and yet… well, just watch that trailer and try to feel optimistic.

Think Outside the News Special: Potential Jeremy Clarkson replacements revealed

Clarkson, May, Hammond

Following the decision to not review Jeremy Clarkson’s contract when it expires at the end of next month, the BBC are preparing for an exhaustive talent search to seek out the next presenters of their most successful export, Top Gear.

Here at Think Outside the Box we have had a sneak peak at the list of potential replacements, and we are now able to bring you a world exclusive – yes, WORLD EXCLUSIVE – having thoroughly checked our information with absolutely nobody.

Jonathan Ross & Russell Brand

Do they know anything about cars? Probably not, but then Top Gear hasn’t offered anything resembling intelligent and thoughtful automotive conversation for years.

What Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand do offer however is guaranteed lad-bants, something which might otherwise be in short supply when the trio of Clarkson, May and Hammond departs. Possible features of the show if fronted by the two former BBC stars would include laughing hysterically at the expense of audience members wearing trainers with Go-Faster stripes and calling up pensioners to tell them that their loved ones have died in a car crash.

Gordon Ramsey

Possibly best known for Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares in which he aggressively swears at and intimidates humble seaside café owners whenever he’s annoyed, confused or hungry, Ramsey would appear to be the perfect replacement for Jeremy Clarkson. He may lack the humour, wit or Jack-the-Lad like-ability of Clarkson and Co., but at least he’s perhaps the most likely to give the Top Gear producers the beating that the show’s fans think they deserve.

The Test Card Girl and her terrifying, quadriplegic clown

Test Card Girl

Emotionless & dead-eyed car reviews from 2-6am

It’s been a few years since they were on the TV, but this bizarre late night double act represent traditional BBC values. Whether those values involve casual racism and spontaneous violence is unclear, but the pair should at least remind viewers of a simpler time, when you could drive a car without wearing a seat belt, leave your doors unlocked at night and walk down the street without being blown up by a terrorist or raped by a radio DJ.

Joe Swash

This hasn’t been officially rumoured – he’s just on fucking everything.

The Ghost of Enoch Powell

A left-field choice certainly, but the restless spirit of the former Conservative MP would at least provide that “Doesn’t Give a Shit” character trait that made Clarkson so popular. If his infamous ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech taught us anything about Enoch Powell, it’s that he isn’t afraid to say what he thinks, and that’s exactly the sort of quality that would come in handy when reviewing the design and manufacture of a shoddy family hatchback by some lazy Spic or slitty-eyed Chinaman.

His salary shouldn’t be too expensive, although the BBC would have to stump up for a team of witch doctors and Shaman to capture his demonic soul in a glass orb.

Think Outside the News: Survey reveals 86% would let Jeremy Clarkson shag their mum

More than four-fifths of the British public would still want the BBC to reinstate Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson even if he shagged their mum, a new study has found.

Despite indulging in casual racism, punching people in the face and generally acting like an arsehole for years, a petition in support of Clarkson has garnered one million signatures.

Jeremy-Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson: Probably doing your mum.

Rob Vicars, a Tonka Truck collector and Jeremy Clarkson fan said: “So what if he punched someone in the face? He’s bloody hilarious. Like when he calls Mexicans lazy or recites racist nursery rhymes. What has this country come to if we can’t give the freedom to do whatever the fuck you like to the richest and most influential people in society?”

Other celebrities that respondents considered to be above the law included Terry Wogan, Bez from the Happy Mondays and former Match of the Day presenter Des Lynam.

“It’s political correctness gone mad,” said Rebecca Dudley, a casual racist from Northampton, before wandering off to throw rocks at other rocks.

The study also found that 52% would let Jeremy Clarkson spit on their shoes, and that 24% would let him kick their nan in the shins.