Surrender to Terror!

February 8, 2008

Thoughts, suggestions…you know how it goes.


  1. W00t. First post!

    It is heartening to see a someone like Bill Maher on a national network, if only to remind one that The US of Stateside isn’t populated ENTIRELY by idiots. Family Guy/ Sarah Silverman serve the same purpose.

    Then along comes the Mitt Romney quote….

  2. ‘Family Guy’? Hmmm…

  3. You’re not a fan of Family Guy?

  4. Nein.

  5. I really like the idea of guitar rising.

    I’ve tried learning the guitar over the years. It’s a lot of hard work for very little reward (“It sounds like ‘Where is my mind’ and I’m playing all the correct notes. It just doesn’t feel like ‘Where is my mind’. Bah! I give up”).

    I hope they make one for the piano too.

  6. Hi Graham
    Can I be cheeky and ask you about something that you haven’t mentioned on your blog???
    I recently found out about a ‘The Restraint of Beasts’ movie. I love Magnus Mills so looked it up on IMDB and your down as the writer. However, you’re not mentioned in the BBC press release. What was your involvement in this movie?
    Okay, really pushing it now but I then browsed to your IMDB entry to remind myself of your genius output and saw ‘Hippies’ which I had totally forgot about. I can’t remember it well as I had a month old baby in the house when it was having its run. Internet comments are decidedly mixed. Would you be willing to let us know your opinion – were you proud/disappointed? Is it worth a DVD release? Or at least a TV repeat now that Pegg is a superstar?
    Would be very chuffed if you just even half-answered one of these questions.
    Big fan and all that.
    PS. Yes, Family Guy is bit poo.

  7. Correction: I meant “you’re down as the writer” before people correct me. Didn’t read it through until after I posted.

  8. Ok South Park > Family Guy – BUT FG has its moments, they are different in their approach FG has more of a machine gun approach to its gags therefore there’s going to be some lame stuff in there too but occasionally there’s a nugget of genius. Plus I got to use the word “nugget” in blog post :>

  9. Hrm…WTD won’t let me post a link to YouTube (it was the creationism gag on Family Guy).

  10. Hi Graham

    Thank you for recommending Joe Matt a while back. I bought a couple of his book yesterday. I sat in my office reading all afternoon. Got no work done. And I stayed in work late to finish reading the two books. They were the funniest comics I’ve ever read.

    Have you ever written a comic book/graphic novel? If not, do you plan to?

  11. ….and to be fair SP is pretty hit and miss these days. I’ve sat through many episodes stoney faced.

  12. Before this turns into another it sucks/no, it don’t thread, I should say that I know ‘Family Guy’ has its moments, it just doesn’t keep pulling me back. Someone once said “Family Guy’ is terrible, except when it isn’t, which sort of sums it up for me. If it was all as funny as this bit I’d love it.

  13. The Atheist/Agnostic group is back:

    I notice the article keeps comparing this farce to the hacking of Scientology websites.

    This is unfair as one obviously isn’t a religion and, er, oh…

  14. On ‘Restraint’, I wrote a few early drafts, then bailed (sorry, I mean, I ran out of ideas on how to tackle it), but am somehow still being credited on IMDB. On ‘Hippies’, if you look at the credits you’ll notice I didn’t write it–it was just Artie solo. The BBC wanted to say ‘By the writers of ‘Father Ted'”, so they used the ‘created by’ credit to pretend I was involved throughout the process.

  15. I’ve always thought Bill Maher was great, and he is in that interview – but I wikipedia’d him and apparently he still believes in “some kind of God”, which is not so great…

  16. TBH Graham, I agree entirely. It’s not must see telly, but I watch it when it’s on and I’m at a loose end. I was only using it illustrate a point. And to be fair there are prolly a whole bunch of shows which would have illustrated it as well, if not better. This is prolly why you’re a top comedy writer and I’m not. :) Remember kids; think twice, post once.

  17. While I’m here…

  18. Thanks for the link to the Hot Chip album. They remind me of the Fiery Furnaces. My son really liked Hot Chip, too; he had a great time dancing around his room to their album.

    Have you heard Futuristic Sex Robots? They do nerd rap–songs about Star Trek and Livejournal. Their album is free.

    Off the topic of music, once again I bring the news from sunny Florida. K-12 science teachers are afraid to teach science.

  19. Let’s rawk etc.
    I don’t know what stage your guitar playing’s at, Graham, but you might like to look at :http://www.lickbyneck.com/
    which uses some software thingy combined with a fret board to teach instrumental takes on songs. Despite down-loading the demo of “Birdland” I still can’t play it, but at least now I know why…I’m crap at the guitar

  20. Hi Graham,

    as I know you’re a big fan of Woody Allen and Seinfeld (or Seinfeild if you’re Pat Kenny)then I don’t know if you’ve heard the following…

    Larry David To Star In New Woody Allen


    Okay, I know that Woody’s films have been off form since ‘Sweet & Lowdown’… but the thought of him teaming with Larry David may really help bring his spark and venom back. Something he was developing nicely round about the time of ‘Deconstructing Harry’

  21. Alright Graham,

    Avoiding a debate on the SP vs FG, one moves on to comment on the Maher interview.

    I used to watch Maher back in the day whilst living in the States…this being over ten years ago. It seems as he’s aged, and the political circus in the US has turned into something more like the League of Gentlemen, he has grown rather more bitter and outspoken. If he and Montel got their heads together…imagine…

    After Series 3 of IT Crowd, can we expect a Linehan politico show, perhaps?

    Also did you have joy in the hibbidy hop linkages, or were they not your ‘bag’ dawg?

  22. my first impression of that guitar thing is that it’s a bad way of learning to play guitar. i suspect it turns you into a pentatonic-box robot.

    i think the old-fashioned way of reading tabs (or figuring out songs for yourself) and playing along to CD’s is the best way.

  23. graham – I know you have posted links to the ‘shreds’ videos before, but I dont know if you’ve heard about the copyright vultures taking it down?


    perhaps dues to yngwie malmsteen


  24. oh also – I thought you might find this mildly amusing…

    I had no idea Grange Hill was even still on, but I found their reasons quite amazing.

    “The lives of children have changed a great deal since Grange Hill began and we owe it to our audience to reflect this.

    “We’re actively seeking out new and exciting ways of bringing social realism to the CBBC audience through drama and other genres.

    These include two Newsround specials tackling divorce and knife crime.”

    apparently the BBC are axing Grange Hill so they can show childern programs about divorce and knifing people?

    I think I’d prefer they watched grange hill

    To me it’s all Ben Elton protesting against Mr Liberal anyway

  25. First up, apologies to Graham, for suggesting the Kenny/Seinfeld clip that the Sindo picked up the other week. Investigative journalism at it’s finest.

    Secondly, and filed under “Good point, well made” here’s a clip from the rather good Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe, taking a look at how rolling news in the UK dealt with the Madeleine McCann case (first 3m 14s only):

    As a worthy aside, in the background, the music you here is Johann Johannson’s “IBM 1401 – A user’s manual” and the album is beautiful. Taking audio tapes originally issued to accompany a 1964 IBM computer delivered to Iceland as a starting point, the Johnannson composed a piece around them with 60 piece orchestra. Anyone else given it a listen?


  26. Family Guy, to me, is like alot of American television: mostly dull, easy, and frustrating – because it can really be very good sometimes. It annoys me that so often, alot of network television in the USA takes the easy way out or tries to shock instead of provoke thought.

    I wouldn’t use something like Family Guy as an example of great (currently running)American television – I would instead cite The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and most of the time, Lost.

    Hmm. It has just occurred to me that I only watch one network program. I wonder if that has more to do with it than I thought. Anyway.

    PS – That chair is freaky. I thought for sure that guy was gonna say, “I can really feel it in my ass!”

  27. I find Family Guy frustrating too…like that time I tried to teach Steve Guttenburg how to play the keyboard (insert hillarious clip of Peter Griffin teaching Guttenburg the keyboard and the voice guy from Police Academy making the noises instead of Guttenburg). That’s how easy it is to write for Family Guy! It’s lazy, there’s no craft involved just chuck a dozen sketches together (some very funny) and a flimsy, throwaway narrative. It’s wrong. Wrooooong!

  28. The Hawaii Chair must be terrible for your back.

  29. I agree with you on FG, Graham. It does make me laugh sometimes but usually because of the execution (timing, voice acting, etc.) and not because of the material.

    I agree with about half of what Bill Maher says but his smug attitude really bothers me. Not so much in this clip, though. And I can’t sit through his show because his audience applauds at EVERYTHING.

  30. Can’t get into Family Guy either, perhaps because I never watch it.

    Seems good though:

  31. Quit screwing around on the internet and get to work writing my favorite show!

  32. Thanks for the link to the Hot Chip album – it’s bloody brilliant and I will buy it asap. I must admit that I hadn’t really heard much by them until now, despite their ubiquitous media presence (I used to be a music journalist and since I stopped doing regular music stuff a couple of years ago I have become childishly scornful of all much-hyped bands, usually before I’ve heard them. I think I’m just bitter because I don’t get any free promo CDs anymore).

    I agree with you on the uncredited Gorey homages – they’re bloody everywhere. This bloke is particularly shameless. I must admit that when I first discovered Gorey (what was Amphigorey, an an American book, doing in Drumcondra Library? Who knows.) I went through a phase of drawing in his style but (a) I was 16 and (b) I wasn’t publishing my derivative pictures.

    Someone once said “Family Guy’ is terrible, except when it isn’t, which sort of sums it up for me.

    Me too. There’s the odd funny moment, but most of it is pitifully lazy and annoyingly obnoxious. That South Park episode with the manatees had it spot on, I think…

  33. First things first; Hot Chip, yes, that rocks.
    Now a quick question. Are the scripts for the IT Crowd available anywhere? Or are there plans to make them available?

  34. Not yet, but maybe someday. I generally don’t like script books as they appear to have been transcribed off the telly by someone not intimately connected with the show, and getting them right takes a lot of work. I broke my arse editing the ‘Ted’ scripts and it still went out of print after selling bupkiss.

  35. Obama’s response to Romney’s idiotic comment was a lot less sweary than I would have preferred, but then I’m not very good at politics.

    I was hoping for something along the lines of ‘Of course he was wrong to say the Democrats will surrender to terror. He’s a Republican, a Mormon and a grown man named ‘Mitt’, so wrong is pretty fucking much his default position’.

  36. For the record, I bought the book of Ted scripts and laughed my ass off. I love all the “added value” elements. But yeah, I can see the work involved.

    One of the reasons American comedy shows suck so much is that they have to churn out so many episodes per season. If they could do a series of 6 episodes, those episodes could be revised and improved, instead of just crapped out. It’s hard enough to do a half dozen stellar episodes when you have some time.

    But there’s not also the reverence for comedy in the States. Americans like a laugh, but they don’t get into battles about it (e.g. the blog battles at the Guardian when anyone writes “this comedian’s the best” or “s/he fucking isn’t funny” — see this week’s bit on Ch4’s “New Heroes of Comedy”).

    Well, except maybe here…

  37. Please let that Larry David/Woody Allen story be true. It’s the best news I’ve heard all week.

  38. Let me surrender to the terror on two points:

    * I can’t believe that you brought up Lynda Barry not 24 hours after a good friend and I were lamenting her absence from our lives and wondering what became of her! I can’t think of my college days in the early 90s without thinking of the Barry-meister. Thanks for digging her up!

    * My apologies for continuing to beat a dead horse, but I must say how delighted I am that so many are NOT as charmed with the Family Guy as the rest of the world seems to be. For years I have been ridiculed for my dislike of the show (amongst other things). Yes, a lot of the jokes are funny, but really, that’s all the show is: a lot of jokes about popular culture strung together with no legitimate thought to character development and plot. Also, I always have the overwhelming feeling that the writers are constantly congratulating themselves on their own cleverness.

    There. I’ve said it.

  39. Loved Quasimoto…can’t believe Lexicon are singing about Nikes, didn’t like them so much…Blackalicious, great, great, great…Saul whatsit…hmmm, not for me…overall, great stuff, sir. Thank you very much.

    Oh, and by the way, thanks to Street for the Tron guy

  40. Top work on the Ted script book. I’ve read it 3 times! Have you seen this?


    It’s an email fight between Judd Apatow and some bitter Producer.

  41. As I got the lastest post of yours, I was chatting with a friend of mine in New Jersey. Apparently they’re called “Guidos”. I thought maybe it was a fancy dress party. Obviously not.

  42. Regarding Jersey, I think that the guy in the photo third up from the bottom is actually from England. He looks just like “Manchester’s biggest spender” from a show I watched on BBC America, but with a bad peroxide job.
    His photo is here:

    Lee Hotti and his ilk used to have their own fansite. They’re real, though. Here’s Lee’s Myspace:

  43. hey,,I cant beleive the clip you chose to highlight the good side of family guy,maybe you’ve been brainwashed by youtube comments because if anything this is exactly what is wrong with the show..i.e. the random amalgamation of a few funny ideas. I actually enjoyed series 1 and maybe 2 of family guy, not because they were using a different process to create the show but because they were just stronger and this somehow made it alright for the plot or coherence of it not to matter that much. but in these later series they just couldnt pull it off,( i really hope this clip was in a later series or this falls flat on its face) for me anyway…
    No one can prove that i laughed when i first saw the a-ha clip.. im sticking by my opinion.. so ther !!

    p.s. i was saying this before south park,, ask my friends,lol

  44. *believe

  45. the land of opportunity: a border collie riding monkey cowboy has a successful career in both the advertising and rodeo industries. only in america!

  46. Re: “What the hell is going on in New Jersey?”

    I haven’t seen that link, but I have seen those orange boys on this site:


    Rather amusing, and it illustrates the growing epidemic of douchebaggery in the U.S.

  47. The biggest spender in Manchester is “The Gator” on that hot chicks with douchebags website, too. The orange is spreading. It’s not just New Jersey. Nobody is safe.

  48. on a pat kenny tip, dont know if you’ve heard this one before but its excruciatingly painfully funny

    [audio src="http://www.seapointrugby.com/attachments/InAndOutOfChurch.mp3" /]

  49. Mitt Romney has really thrown his toys out of the pram and shown himself to be the dick he truly is. All that desperate parading of his sons to get people horny for him was homoerotically creepy. He is a walking talking reason why anyone with religious beliefs should be prevented from running for a political position of any kind. Mark my words he will be involved in some kind of sordid sexual or financial scandal in a few years. If you’ll excuse me now, I have to go and surrender myself to an abstract concept.

  50. Whoops, dunno if this is a repeat, as my last post, didn’t appear.

    Glad you are enjoying some of the hibbidy recommendations. As tribbidy hop goes, you can’t beat Ninjatunes.


    There’s a lot of variety on there, so you’ll like and some you deffo won’t. But worth a look around on the vids section. Cinematic Orchestra is the nuts.

    I think that NJ Orangeboy link is misleading – my conclusion is that they actually Hungarian, as text on one of the photos suggests. But who says that the Orangemen of the world can’t be universally laughed at?

  51. Have to say, I’m with Pat on that clip. Don’t get it.

  52. Those orange guys are amazing. Can’t wait for that Amazon Sunset spray tan look to catch on over here.

    On the subject of Gorey’s influence here’s a Perry Bible (fully credited) homage to the great man….

  53. ah right. rugby player. gavin henson. goes out with charlotte church. singer.

    ‘does he go into church after every game’


    they should give you a breakfast time radio show!

  54. Re: learning guitar, you should really check out this site. It costs, but a lot of the songs are demonstrated by the actual artists who wrote them.


    Lots of Radiohead songs on there for you to learn too Graham!

  55. If you “like” those New Jersey weirdos…


  56. I bought the Father Ted script book… admittedly for £2.50 from a discount book shop on an industrial estate.

    With all this talk of atheism I thought I’d pop by and recommend the immense Australian TV series ‘John Safran Versus God’, a sceptical eight part examination of world religion that is part documentary, part comic monologue, part sketch show.


    This clip shows John nipping to the uk and seeing how easy it is to get a fatwa put on someone.

  57. Ah. Church, Henson, right…celebrity and sport, my two blind spots.

  58. I have been a Gorey fan for most of my life, and I was outraged by GLOOM. I wrote to Keith Baker (the creator of GLOOM) to express my displeasure, and he wrote back. Here’s the exchange:

    Shame on you for so shamelessly stealing from good old Gorey without even an acknowledgment of his influence. That’s not art, it’s ruthless co-opting.

    Sorry for disappointing you. Edward Gorey was a tremendous influence on Gloom; I’d never say otherwise. At the same time, I also consider Charles Addams, Lemony Snickett, Gahan Wilson, and Stella Gibbons (the one most people don’t think of) to be influences on the game as well. Case in point, while I am a long-time Gorey fan, it was Lemony Snickett who convinced me that there was a modern, young audience that still appreciated Gothic humor.

    So yes, Edward Gorey was a tremendous influence on Gloom. The man was a genius, and I love his work. However, a lot of people assume that he was the ONLY influence… and that’s certainly not the case.

    -Keith Baker

    Good Gawd, who do you think you’re fooling? Lemony Snickett may have convinced you of the marketability of your product, but you didn’t practically throw a piece of tracing paper over Daniel Handler’s work and carbon-copy it, now did you?

    If you want to appease the people who are angry with you over your misappropriations, then put some kind of acknowledgment in your game for the source of the artwork.

  59. Holy, shit, Paul! That Judd Ap thing is amazing!

  60. Wow, M.O.B. That’s telling him. This comments section is becoming the place to be!

  61. Yeah, Paul, thanks for that Apatow/ Brazill feud.
    Went straight up on my new blog.

  62. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganguro

    Similar to your, er, colourful faced friends.
    Sort of.

  63. This made me laugh

    Only in Ireland….

  64. UPDATE!

    after youtube took down STSanders’ hilarious ‘shreds’ videos because someone like steve vai or yngwie malmsteen objected, Wired mag have come to the rescue


  65. Ha! Into Church after every game! Ha!
    Something apropos of nothing…

    Gotta love the lady garden bit..

  66. http://www.beerintheevening.com/pubs/s/12/1286/Hawley_Arms/Camden

    look at the reviews.

  67. Hi,

    After new jersey freaks, don’t miss the last preposterous nightclub fashion from France. It’s called “tecktonik” (even the name sounds rather stupid) and consists in a sequel of dance moves one could take for a hysteria crisis or genetic disease related disorders. And as if it wasn’t enough you have be disguised as a teenage christmas tree to dance it …
    I do not mention the music.


    PS : And they also do wear kinda vokuhila (VOrne KUrz HInter LAng)

  68. Father Ted memes spotted being bandied about in the Scientology Protests.

    May you should think about sending a cease and desist for an irony bonus?

  69. Oops. Here’s a link which will work.


  70. Thought you might enjoy the anti-scientology protests at http://deathboy.livejournal.com/1082404.html (with a Father Ted inspired banner at one point)


  71. I’m gonna try posting a link here one last time…


  72. Graham, sorry for the persistant music recommendations, however, I came across this fella today. You may have already heard of him, but in case you haven’t:


    If it’s not your style, then I’m sharing it with the readers of the blog ;)

  73. What’s wrong with you guys?!
    Best US show ever (you can keep yer stinkin’ Seinfelds, FG, etc.) was Chris Elliott’s Get a Life.

    And Best Bit of Roy Desk Decoration That’s Not There: Mark Martin’s Yeah Butt
    Think about what this object would have to say about Romney!!

    And Best US Radio Show??
    It’s this: http://www.wfmu.org/playlists/BS

  74. Hey Graham… love the blog. Thought you might enjoy this link: “Penn & Teller’s Bullshit the Bible”


    It’s probably a case of preaching to the converted, but I think it’s an amusing, worthy attempt. I think the Skeptic guy was genuinely embarressed at trying to ‘argue’ some of the stories!

  75. Ernest Lehmann, Ben Hecht And Garson Kanin all apear in Thomsons Book

  76. Appear*

  77. Are you sure your daughter doesn’t watch it with you?
    I like Spongebob, not even in an ironic way.
    It’s funnier than a lot of stuff made for adults.
    I remeber one where they thought they had accidentally killed a customer then attempted to dispose of the body :D

  78. If you have any readers in Cornwall G, perhaps they’d like to try to justify this…..

  79. Didn’t the great alternative cartoonists Kaz and Sam Henderson formerly write for Spongebob? Their involvement could explain a bit of the magic!
    Yup, looks like they did.

  80. Surrender to terror!

  81. Sorry. This was meant to be in the last post. Damn electrical interweb.

  82. Hi Graham,

    That Family Guy link from way up the page there (to the clip you liked rather than the South Park one) is dead and I’d love to know which scene you picked. Any chance of a repost/alternate source?

    South park’s take on the ‘that was worse than the time…/remember the last time…’ Family Guy running gag is hilarious.

  83. If you’re going to recommend music, can I plug our song about Charlie Brooker, it is called Charlie Brooker Is Right About Everything http://www.theatterysquash.co.uk

    We’d be very pleased if you bought it (79p), because one more sale means we’re finally entitled to remove our current earnings from our account…we’ve been waiting all week for someone to bother, no one has.


  84. That was exactly the clip Graham posted, sbrugby.
    Want to hear Seth MacFarlane’s response?

    “The boys at south park are absolutely right, the cut aways and flash backs have nothing to do with the story. There just there to be funny. And that is a shallow indulgent that south park is above. And for that I salute them”.

  85. I got that one wrong headed, it’s a great clip alright. Graham then posted a clip of Family guy that he wished the rest of family guy could be as good as but the link was broken. Was hoping we could rustle it up somewhere.

  86. Oh, it was that ‘Take on Me’ parody, which I liked because of the pay-off (“I DON’T KNOW!”)

  87. I think McFarlane deliberately ignored the real point South Park was making–the structural repetition of the gags and the interminable eighties references.

  88. nice illustration…

    “Although less frequent than lightning.
    231 People die annually
    struck by rainbows.
    In some ways equally violent,
    but without doubt more poetic.”


  89. I have to show this to someone or I may Explode. I don’t know about you guys but this may acctually convert me to the views of “Christian Voice”(I jest of course). http://www.christianvoice.org.uk/Alerts/alert010.html

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