Review four books, three movies, and one theatre show without boring you?
*cue kitschy game show music*
*Enter from left: Sleazy, arrogant host with slicked back hairpiece, shiny suit, porcelain teeth, and the weight of the world on his shoulders due to an upcoming court case involving his missing accountant, embezzled investment funds, a 40 grand credit card bill run up at a hotel in Cancun allegedly owned by the Mexican Mafia, his pregnant-with-twins former personal assistant currently in witness protection, a botched blackmail attempt, some suspicious blood stains, and a spectacularly buff maître de from New Jersey called Pablo.*
*Host smiles cheesily at camera, introduces himself, makes sexist joke, laughs, reluctantly peels his eyes away from the camera to introduce the increasingly frustrated carry-over champion Cate, whom he belittles every episode by drawing attention to the studio lights making her hair look grey, her need to stand on a box to be in camera shot, and mentioning her obvious lack of any successful cosmetic surgical procedures, all while thinking ahead to which bisexually-oriented strip club he will take the network bosses that night and wondering if he can turn it into a tax deduction*
*Cate decides to reject her usual front-of-camera state of total zen*
Host: "And here we go! [assumes serious demeanour by remembering the exquisite Pablo has an uncle who is a hitman] My dear Cate, select a category."
Cate: "Theatre for $200. [mutters "And I'm not your dear."]
*audio guy chuckles, all floor crew pay a little more attention, the director sits up straighter in his chair, and the atmosphere in the control booth intensifies*
Host [hides annoyance behind gritted teeth]: "Okayyyyy. A remarkable live show. Part shadow theatre, part modern dance, part circus, part acrobatics. An enthralling story, told completely through such fluid, beautiful, and astoundingly clever human movement, that not once do any 'interpretive dance' jokes enter your mind. Captivating, funny and brilliant."
Cate: "What is 'Shadowland', presented by Pilobolus Dance Theater.
Cate: "They've finished their Australian tour."
Host [shrugs]: "Right, we don't need to know..."
Cate: "Wherever they are now, everyone should go see them."
Host [frowns, vein in temple twitches]: "Fine. Whatever. Now, would you like to select a category?"
Cate: "Movies for $200."
Host [catches his own reflection in a new part of the set, grins stupidly and starts daydreaming of white beaches and dark biceps, until a cameraman coughs and interrupts his reverie]: "Yes. Next. The true story of four young men from the wrong side of the tracks, who were in and out of trouble with women, the law, local gangsters, and worst of all, their mothers, but went on to form one of the most iconic groups of the 1960s. A rollicking journey through music history with fantastic performances, and tunes you will be humming long after the credits finish rolling. You probably didn't even know what a fan you were, until you realised you knew the words to every song. Toe-tapping fun."
Cate: "What is Jersey Boys, the story of Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons."
Host [surprised and flustered by mental images of the last time he met Pablo in a Four Seasons hotel, searches through question cards]: "Err..."
Cate [rolls eyes impatiently]: "What? It's Jersey Boys. Check your card, Einstein."
*director asks assistant if they have a four-second-delay button on standby*
Host [laughs dismissively]: "I already put the card aside, I thought the answer was supposed to be Grease. Hahaha..." [turns to floor manager and mouths "What is she doing?"]
Cate [snorts]: "Grease? Seriously? Are you shitting me?"
*director drops coffee and lunges for four-second-delay button*
Host [coughs and mutters something unintelligible, but sounds suspiciously like 'bucking fitch']: "Right. Correct...and..."
Cate [smirks]: "I think you confused it because it was a stage show too. [dripping with sarcasm] All those singing and dancing shows are the same, right?"
Host [shuffles question cards violently]: "Yes, right....I mean... Anyhow.... moving on...."
Cate [speaking slowly]: "The DVD would make a great gift for anyone who doesn't understand the difference. Like yourself."
Host [vein throbbing noticeably, sheen of sweat appearing on forehead] : "CATE.... [clears throat].... Cate, select a category. Now."
Cate [haughtily]: "There's no need to yell at me. [mutters "dickhead" quite audibly, forcing director to move permanently closer to the four-second-delay button] Movies for $400."
Host [hears sniggering, glances at floor crew, plasters fake smile on face while wondering if Cate is related to one of his ex-wives] : "Right. A thrilling spy story, set in Hamburg and based on the John Le Carre novel. This is not the stuff of James Bond - no explosions or crazy gadgets here - but a smart and subtle insight into the gathering of intelligence from suspected terrorists, and the battle amongst various agencies to control the outcomes. Captivating performances, particularly by Philip Seymour Hoffman."
Cate: "What is A Most Wanted Man."
Host [determined grimace]: "Correct. Select..."
Cate: "Such a wonderful talent lost to us."
Host [eyes widen, mouth drops open with exasperation]: "Sorry, what?"
Cate [sniffs]: "Philip Seymour Hoffman. His final movie. Tragic."
Host [confused look at floor manager, who is hiding behind the cameraman, both suppressing laughter]: "Uhhh... Isn't he making a living in Germany delivering messages in his Baywatch Speedos now or something?"
Cate [disgusted snarl]:"That's David Hasselhoff, you ignorant tosser."
*clattering sounds can be heard off set, as crew scramble to get advice from the legal department on the censorship of the word 'tosser'*
Host [turns red, takes deep breaths, glares at floor manager who is now doubled over with mirth]: "Cate, just select a goddamn bloody category."
*director wearily places forehead on four-second-delay button*
Cate [arches eyebrow]: "Clearly, you don't write the questions. It's a wonder you even have the ability to read them without having a stroke. If a thought ever crossed your mind it would be a long and lonely journey. [smiles sweetly] Movies for $600. [mutters "fucking arsehole"]
*director breaks four-second-delay button through repeated rapid pounding*
Host [turns away from camera and appears to take a sip from a flask concealed in his jacket, turns back with wet lips and drool on his chin]: "Ahh, hell. Umm...[burps] An action-packed futuristic thriller which makes us wonder what kind of world we would live in if we had the ability to use 100% of our brain's capabilities. From a young girl caught in a Taiwanese drug deal gone wrong, [tugs at shirt collar and looks nervously towards network lawyers who have now arrived on set] to a brains trust holed up in a French university where the girl becomes the focus of everyone's scientific attention, there is rarely a dull moment."
Cate: "What is..."
Host [wild-eyed, vein in temple threatening to explode, brow dripping sweat, punches fist in the air and yells]: "WAIT! HAHA! I know this one... It's the one starring Nelson Mandela and the blonde with nice tits..."
*director carefully pours his fresh coffee over the control board*
Cate [steps down from box and advances angrily towards Host]: "HEY, SHIT-FOR-BRAINS! I do the answers, you're supposed to let me say 'What is Lucy'..."
Host [desperately turns towards floor crew to find them all convulsing with laughter]: "Hey! Some help here? SOMEBODY STOP THE BLOODY COW BEFORE SHE..."
Cate [knocks the question cards from Host's hand and tugs the toupee from his head]: "The blonde's name is Scarlett Johansson and it's NOT Nelson Mandela, it's MORGAN FREEMAN, you COCKJUGGLING WANKBADGER..."
*director slowly stands up, puts on his coat, reaches into his pocket for his cigarettes and matches, sets fire to the booth, and heads straight to the unemployment office*
*office assistant bursts into studio yelling at Host that someone named Pablo is calling from a detention centre, crying and asking which of the fake passports he was supposed to use*
Cate [steps over Host, looks around forlornly as the still laughing crew all wander off]: "But... we haven't even done the book categories yet..."
*lights go out*