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Telly Picks and Massive Pr*cks!

What to watch…? What to watch…? What to watch…? If you’re currently suffering from an embarrassment of tele-visual riches, aka “The Netflix Effect” or “decision fatigue”, then I have a few recommendations for you this week. Having been under the weather with Covid recently and virtually house-bound, these have provided me with some food for thought and a wee bit of spice – highly valuable if, like me, you can no longer taste any actual food.

The first is a Channel 4 programme called “My Massive C*ck”. If you haven’t heard the buzz about this one yet, then I can tell you that it’s… well… a fairly amusing way to spend three quarters of an hour. It’s a documentary of sorts, giving you a playful peak into the lives of men with very large penises. A simple premise; but it turns out that having a massive member is not all it’s cracked up to be. Going beyond the sniggering and the substantial gawp-factor, this programme actually proves quite insightful. We meet a host of men who reveal that having an extremely large phallus can in fact be a nightmare. Far from a blessing or a sign of great virility, a ten-incher can make everyday life an embarrassing struggle. One chap said that he didn’t get offered a job once because the interviewer misconstrued the bulge that was showing through his suit trousers as an erection. …Not quite what companies mean when they ask for someone who is “hard working” and “passionate about the job”. Another bloke explained that going to a public swimming pool was virtually impossible because of the bulge; he had to swim alone, outdoors in a cold and obscure lake. We later see him taking a trip to a fancy doctor to look into the possibility of getting penis reduction surgery – the complete opposite of what most men pop along to Harley Street for. Challenging various myths and assumptions – from the stereotype that all black men are particularly well-endowed, to the notion that a super schlong is what women crave in a man – this programme is well worth a watch. It’s on All 4 here for another couple of weeks.

On a somewhat different note, but perhaps even more intriguing, is a simple YouTube video from GQ – “10 Things Matthew Perry Can’t Live Without”. On the surface, this is just another episode in GQ’s “essential items” interview series – not necessarily anything to write home about. But as Perry guides us through his selection, things take a very strange turn indeed. Of course, your expectation is that this funny fella who played Chandler in “Friends” will provide a few laughs and a few interesting items – perhaps a prop from the set, or maybe a priceless Old Master painting of some kind; after all, he was raking in $1 million per episode towards the end of the sit-com’s run. In fact, however, what you get here is a bizarre revelation. It turns out that Matthew Perry is absolutely obsessed with Batman. Starting out with a Batman baseball cap, he then moves on to show a Batman watch, a black Aston Martin that looks very much like the Batmobile, a Batman office chair and a pair of tracksuit trousers with the Batman name and logo emblazoned on the leg. His only remaining items after this are a black t-shirt, a pair of black leather boots, black sunglasses and a pot of hair wax – essentially, the components of a kind of off-duty Batman costume. He also mentions having his own version of the Bat Cave, which is apparently crammed full of yet more Batman paraphernalia.

- GQ
- GQ

I don’t know if this whole thing is a big wind-up or if he’s serious. He makes a few humorous comments about identifying with Batman, but they’re the kind of thinly-veiled jokes that leave you wondering. Is this a prank? Or has he perhaps latched on to this idealised image of a man to give him strength through his well-documented struggle with drugs and addiction? Whatever it is, it offers some intriguing viewing; so see what you make of it. 

Finally, I would like to point you in the direction of “Driving School” – an old, fly-on-the-wall series that has just become available to view again on the BBC iPlayer archive. First broadcast in 1997, this programme does exactly what it says on the tin, following real learner drivers as they struggle to master clutch control, reverse round corners and pass their tests. More than this, though, it follows their lives – the ups and downs of the learning experience and the impact it has on them, both financially and emotionally. I know the theme may sound a touch mundane; but the driving really isn’t the point. The real appeal of watching this programme now, a quarter of a century on, is the perfect window that it provides into the period. Across six half-hour episodes, you get an absolute treasure trove of ‘90s fashion, ‘90s homes and décor, ‘90s speech and expressions and ‘90s cars and technology. For example, one love-struck teen has to roller-skate his way to the local phone booth every evening to call his girlfriend. One driving instructor bustles about everywhere in a pleated plaid skirt, constantly taking calls on her brick phone. One seventeen-year-old turns up to take his driving test wearing a tie, of all things! If you’re of a certain age then you’ll remember this series from when it was originally broadcast and have one heck of a nostalgia trip re-watching it. I certainly did. But if you’re young enough that the nineties is an unfamiliar period to you then this is the perfect resource for understanding where all those fashionable retro-clothes and haircuts came from. Along with other fly-on-the-wall hits such as “Airport” and “The Cruise”, this is a British TV classic. The sort of telly that inspired “The Office”, it should definitely be revisited. Happy viewing!

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