more adventures in audio

Yep, a week has passed already and despite not thinking I’d be doing another audio post for some time, I’ve done it already. Thanks to my brother, Cezza, not only for helping me figure out this technology stuff but also for being an awesome guitarist and allowing me to use one of his very own tracks at the beginning and the end of the post. You can follow him on Twitter right here.

I actually picked a topic this week that wasn’t, well, me! I was afraid I was turning in to Ron Burgundy. It would be great to know what you think about what I discuss in this post, so please get in touch once you’ve listened.

This was kind of a serious topic so I’ll make the next one more fun.  Feel free to email me with suggestions.

Here goes part two of my adventures in audio……….

scripted reality: why wrestling and the hills are more alike than you think

I know what you’re thinking. Wrestling is a semi-sport where beefy people beat each other up, self-harm for audience entertainment and perspire inelegantly in PVC trunks. The Hills is a TV show about a group of flouncy, LA rich kids who insist that we share in every sordid detail of their privileged lives. They cannot possibly be connected.

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But, the WWE and The Hills are more alike than you might think.  On Tuesday, I was catching up on all the latest WWE gossip at PWTorch.com when I came across a story about former WWE Diva, Torrie Wilson, appearing on the American version of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here alongside Spencer Pratt from The Hills. Being in the UK, I don’t have access to this show. Even if I did I doubt I’d watch it. I can bearly bring myself to watch the British version, mainly because they choose celebs so obscure I don’t know who they are. And that’s saying something because I’m quite obsessed with popular culture.

So, apparently Spencer had been upsetting all his fellow contestants in the jungle basecamp and had started a fierce squabble with Torrie Wilson. If I remember correctly it involved an unfounded allegation of steroid use. The PWTorch article also asked readers to identify which heel wrestler Spencer reminded them of.  I got to thinking, the similarities between WWE and The Hills really are striking. I can tell you need a little convincing, so let me elaborate.

Both the WWE and The Hills produce television which, on the surface, appears to be real. But when you apply some logic to them neither are entirely truthful or natural.  We know that when someone gets kicked in the head in wrestling, it isn’t a full force kick. Like when Randy Orton kicked Ric Flair in the skull on Raw this week. We KNOW the kick was just a scuff of the skin rather than a huge crack.  And that’s ok. We suspend our grasp of reality and get lost in the story for the duration of the show. We buy in to characters that are half real, half an exaggeration of their actual personalities. We go along with scripted storylines, we cheer and boo at heroes and villains, and we anticipate what might happen to those characters the following week.

The Hills is much the same. Yes, the people the show follows are real people. But the reality we see on the screen is a distorted, skewed and slightly manufactured version of reality. Whenever you see Lauren  meeting with Brody for lunch, they have mic-packs clipped to their jeans. They may have arranged to meet for lunch in advance, but before they could sit down to that meal, a production team has wired them up and has  set cameras up across the street to capture their conversation. It’s real, but far from natural.

The Hills also has its fair share of heroes and villains. Those of us who are fans of the show like nothing better than discussing how flaky Justin is and how Audrina is just so silly for returning to him over and over again. And when they play the “Coming up next on The Hills…..” clip at the end of every show, we almost can’t stand the seven day wait to find out what happens next in the lives of our favourite “characters”.

Also, both shows are aspirational. I have made no secret of the fact that I’d sell a kidney to look and move like Michelle McCool. I’m sure there are men who watch Randy Orton, John Cena and CM Punk and feel the same way.  Despite knowing the lives of professional wrestlers are short, painful and emotionally draining, many fans still secretly aspire to that lofty level of audience adoration.

When watching The Hills, that laid-back, wealthy, fashionable, cool lifestyle is certainly aspirational. Be honest, if you’re a woman who watches The Hills, you’ve probably secretly imagined yourself living Lauren Conrad’s life, despite knowing full well that what we see on screen is just a tiny, exciting snapshot of her actual life. After watching an espisode of The Hills I find myself thinking in their rhythm of speaking. You know what I mean. That “I know, riiiiight? Ok, so, I called Doug last night and you TOTALLY won’t believe what he said to me. Like, for real, OH MY GOD he was so mean to me.” I can’t lie, when I’ve been watching a really amazing episode of Raw (rare at the moment, I know, but still) I get a little spring in my step. I feel a bit feistier. Like I’ve got fire in my belly. It rubs off on me.

So you see, even though it seems unlikely, the ‘it’s real, but it’s not’ formula applies to two entirely unconnected TV entities and makes them bedfellows. Now, with the serious media analysis over (ha, I’m just SOOO academic), time for something a little more light-hearted to finish. PWTorch asked us to assign Spencer Pratt to a WWE heel, right? So let’s do a quick run-through of the cast to see what we can come up with. If you are familiar with The Hills, feel free to disagree with my choices and suggest alternatives. This would be a whole lot easier if the women of the WWE were given more time to develop public personas, but I covered that already in an earlier post. Let’s see what we have here……….

LAUREN

Strong, dependable, and fun. The kind of girl you want to be best friends with.

lc

She is …….

mj

Mickie James

——————————————–

HEIDI

Naive, headstrong, misses the joke sometimes and can’t do what she knows is for her own good.

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She is……

WWE Diva Maria Kanellis attends a press conference announcing th

Maria

——————————————–

STEPHANIE

Seems like she’s your friend but not always trustworthy. Watch your back.

sp

She is……

maryse

Maryse

——————————————–

AUDRINA

A beautiful girl who you’d love to be friends with, but she has questionable taste in men.

Audrina-Patridge

She is…….

mmcool

Michelle McCool

——————————————–

LO

Kind of a background friend. Not the first person you think of but always there in a crisis.

lo-

She is…….

afox

Alicia Fox

——————————————–

SPENCER

A complete and utter prick who most people would like to punch in the eye.

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He is…….

Untitled-1

The Miz

——————————————–

BRODY

Charismatic, always around when needed but a little shady when it comes to the ladies.

bjenner

He is…..

Untitled-2Edge

——————————————–

DOUG

A little sleazy and full of his own inflated sense of self-importance.

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He is……

matt_hardy

Matt Hardy

——————————————–

JUSTIN

Manages to blow every opportunity he gets.

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He is……

kennedy

Mr. Kennedy (Sorry, Ken. Cheap shot, I know.)

Where were you when Kennedy got fired?

I was feeling proud of myself for getting out another wrestlegasm post, drinking tea and eating another fat-laden breakfast baguette. (Shut your mouth, Michelle McCool.)

So, within just a few minutes of publishing my full recap of this week’s Raw, I realised Mr. Ken Kennedy has been released from the WWE. I’m CRUSHED. No sarcasm. He was one of my favourites. I really did miss him.I suppose that wrist injury was worse than it looked.

If you don’t believe me, look here.

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raw(lite): orgasmic borderlines and over dressing

[I wrote this recap last night, but I was so tired by the time I got done with the writing, I fell asleep before I could do all my lovely photoshopping. So just put your brain on rewind and pretend it’s still Friday night.]

It’s Friday night, I put my pink bow PJ bottoms on at 8pm, flicked the mushrooms out of my Chinese food (because they are the work of Satan), had a semi-cold Carlsberg Export, felt sorry for myself  ’cause my jaw problems kept me from going to the gym, argued over the name of Eminem’s new single, opened another beer, failed at Guitar Hero, watched Eastenders and felt happy when Terry got sent to prison, started watching Gordon Ramsay humiliate pitiful chefs, remembered I need to recap the rest of Raw. So here I am. Don’t you just wish you had my rock & roll lifestyle? I can feel your jealousy burning through the monitor.

So, Thursday’s post pretty much told you what was bad about this week’s Raw. Tonight I will try to be a little more optimistic. I’m not gonna lie, the alcohol is helping. I am also alternating between re-watching Raw and listening to Fall Out Boy’s Folie a Deux album. Patrick Stump makes everything better.  Vince McMahon had just pushed his phoney Kroenke out of the ring and I was waiting for things to improve (’cause they couldn’t get much worse.) WROOONG! Here’s The Miz. He revealed a Cavs jersey, the crowd booed, and he declared himself 6-0 against John Cena. There I was, wondering how long it’s going to be before John’s actually allowed to retaliate, when…….

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Hoorah! Things are looking up. But before John could make it in to the ring and finally shut The Miz up, Rhodes and DiBiase started laying in to him. The Miz joined in and before we knew it, my John was being kicked in to a pile of mush. Heels = 3,  Babyfaces = 1.  Things are looking a little uneven. Oh, DAAAA-AAAVE! You’re needed. Batista came to help and managed to flatten all three bad dudes in succession. The Big Show appeared (urgh) and then Jerry Lawler. Lakers colours never looked so…..so….. stretched? The asymmetrical shoulder strap though. Very ‘on trend’, |Jerry. Love you, King. Mwah!

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With the ring cleared of nasty boys, there was nothing else to do but announce a five v five, good v bad, Yay v Boo match for the end of Raw. At this point I was really hoping the jerseys were just for graphic effect. They weren’t. Much to my disgust. I’ll come back to that later. Wait, who is the fifth good fella? You’ll have to wait to find out.

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It was time for the regular show to start. After Maryse’s dalliance last week with a can of Elnett (which they’ve totally changed the smell of, by the way) she was taking on Baby Kelly, to retain her Divas Championship.

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I was little worried for Kelly. She does a mean backflip but Maryse is a mean ole madame and I was pretty sure she’d get creamed in to the mat. But from the moment Kelly did her (better) version of the Maryse hair-flick, I knew she’d be ok. It all started to go wrong when Maryse had Kelly on the announce table and was pounding her in the face. NOOOOO! Not the face! Maryse spent too much time out of the ring and was counted out, allowing Kelly to win the match but not the belt. Damn! Kelly was furious and went flying straight at her.  Your day will come, sweetheart.

Gratuitous America's Next Top Model Reference

Gratuitous America's Next Top Model Reference

Backstage, this happened……………..

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and over in the locker room, Batista was trying to tell Ric Flair what we’re all thinking. Lead balloon time again.

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Back inthe ring, Matt Hardy, William Regal and Kofi Kingston are scrapping it out to contend for M.V.P’s Yankee Belt next week. Kingston pinned Matt Hardy for the match. Ok, M.V.P and Kofi Kingston will be good. And they even managed to be friendly about it. Aww, they really do make a lovely couple.

So after that Ric Flair woooed his way to the ring. This can only end badly. But It does promise an appearance from Randy Orton, who was nowhere to be seen and we’re already 40 minutes in. Flair reminded us that Orton sucka-punched him and had his wicked way with him last week. Really? Had his way with you Ric? Is that available on bootleg DVD anywhere? Anyway, Ric called Randy out and HOLY HELL did he answer.

To say that Randy told Ric off is an understatement. Randy lost his temper and shut his mouth good an proper. There haven’t been too many wrestlegasm moments in recent weeks, but Randy’s angry rant delivered on all markers. To be truthful, it wasn’t just a wrestlegasm moment…. it was  borderline orgasmic. And THAT doesn’t happen that often from viewing alone. Bravo, Randy. BRA-VO, my love!

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Wait, I just got turned on by a young man shattering the few remaining dreams of  a pensioner. That’s wrong, right? Don’t answer.

Aaaanyway. Ahem. Ric slapped Randy’s face and Randy knocked him down, pummelling him in the face. Batista came to the rescue and Orton made a hasty retreat to the comfort of the ramp, leaving Dave trying to hold Flair back from retaliating. Randy gave a few parting words and just as he was about to leg it, we heard….

.                                               .

KENN-E-DEEEEY

.                                                .

YYYYYYEEEEEEEOOOOW! I love you, Ken Kennedy. Welcome back. I missed you. But seriously, the beard needs to go. Like, pronto. You’re just a line of boot polish away from looking like Scott Steiner. That wasn’t even a good look for Steiner. Get! Rid!

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Facial hair aside…..WRESTLEGASMMMMMM! I believe that’s called multiple wrestlegasm-ing. Ah, it’s good to be a girl. Assuming Kennedy’s new injury can be fixed relatively swiftly, Mr. K and Mr. Ohhh need to have a proper feud. It would be AWESOME.

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Oh, yeah, Kennedy was named the fifth good guy in the YAY v BOO match at the end of the show. From the sublime to the ridiculous, Santino and Mickie James were up against Chavo and Beth. Mickie pinned Beth FTW and Santino was left to choose a stipulation for SantinA’s match against  Vickie at the PPV. He chose a Hog Pen Match, did more pi g squeals and forced Vickie in to one of her patented screeches.

Backstage The Big Show reminded The Miz that he was not allowed to pin John Cena……

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You don’t really wanna know anything about Goldust and Hornswoggle v Festus and The Brian Kendrick, do you?????? Phew. Good. ‘Cause I was about to skip it anyway.

On to the final match of the night. The Five v Five.  There were varying responses to this match from the guys. Big Show struggled to keep his body inside his custom made jersey. Suck it in, honey. Suck it in like you just finished eating on Christmas Day and realised jeans were a bad option.

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Randy looked pissed off that he’d been forced to cover his chest.

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Kennedy came out to a Brett Favre joke. (Miss you, Brett…. but please stay retired this time, k?). And John Cena looked like he’d travelled back in time to his thuganomics days. Actually, his arms were rather weedy back then, so I’ll stick with present day John, thank you very much. Thuganomics-John SOOOOO couldn’t bench press Big Show. Batista took it all too seriously and came out in  full Lakers regalia. Long shorts and everything. JR said…..“Behind those iniquitous blue eyes of Randy Orton is a mind that is thinking -I have to step inside a steel cage in two weeks on Pay Per View against The Animal?” I hate to challenge Jim Ross, but what Randy was REALLY thinking was “Dave, you moron. You could have worn less clothes than that and you CHOSE to wear extra fabric? I don’t get you.”

The match was as expected. Some amazing stuff, some rubbish, but it was far more entertaining than I was expecting. Good conquered Evil when M.V.P pinned Cody Rhodes to take it for TEAM YAY!

YAY

But the real story of this match is that when Kennedy was on the receiving end of the RKO, he suffered a fairly nasty looking wrist injury. You can usually tell real pain. They try to smile through it but the grimace can’t help but break through. I can’t find any info online that says he’s going to lose any major time away from the ring, so I hope it’s nothing that can’t be fixed with an ice pack and a healing kiss. You have to feel a little bit sorry for the guy. You spend 10 months rehabbing your shoulder only to pick up another big inury in your first match back. :(

So that WAS the Denver Debacle. After Thursday’s rant I felt a tiny bit disloyal, but there’s no point in pretending I loved Vince’s tactics when I didn’t. However, when Michael Cole said this at the end of the show….

“Well thank you WWE Universe for all your support, this week, and each and every week. Thank you everybody, and good night from Los Angeles.”

………..I felt compelled to accept the gesture of gratitude. Now, let’s just forget this every happened and move on to better things.