I’m not sure I got things completely right yesterday. I watched a few more episodes of Cynic, and, truth be told, I was distinctly unimpressed. The problem I now have is, explaining to ted that his Youtube comedy show strikes me as little more than a rather juvenile piece of self aggrandisement. He says it’s based on Curb Your Enthusiasm, but I do not see the resemblance. He seems to have written a series of short, five to six minute episodes where he is the centre of attention, without any other focus. That which he seems to think is wit or cynicism seems more like toilet humour and fart jokes. Let me put it this way: if I wrote a script about myself or a version of myself where I was the main focus of attention, had all the lines and all other characters revolved around me, you would probably tell me to pull myself out of my arse.
The problem is, ted seems to think he’s better than he is. To be fair, that’s something I have come across a lot in people with cerebral palsy; I’m probably guilty of it too. The fact that Shiress would go so far as to accuse the bbc of stealing an idea for a show from him seems to betray a certain amount of self importance on his part. While, as I said yesterday, there are similarities between the two shows, rewatching an episode of Jerk this afternoon it struck me that they were superficial at most. As you’d expect from a professional situation comedy, Jerk is more evenly spread in terms of characterisation whereas Shiress seems to want the focus of attention to be entirely on him. The fact that he likens himself to Larry David, one of the biggest dramatis personae of american comedy in the last decade, only adds to my sense that he is getting a bit big for his boots.
Why does this matter? Part of me thinks that I should just let things slide; it is, after all, only a dude’s youtube videos. It simply strikes me as odd that Shiress would be so egotistical, not only to assume that the idea for Jerk was stolen from him, but also to create a show centring about him, claiming an equivalence to Larry David. If there’s anything I can’t abide it’s an overinflated ego. It strikes me as rather odd, too, that some sort of professional production company indulged him in producing this show: they are quite well shot, yet the scrips are, truth be told, dire, reminding me of something a teenager would write. The sixth or seventh episode, for example, has Ted apparently wooing a pretty, able-bodied girl and ending up in bed together. The final shot is of the girl looking under the duvet and gasping. What I find strange is, in any other circumstances, if Ted did not have cerebral palsy, I doubt very much that anyone would allow such bollocks to be made. What further irritates me is, Shiress seems to think the fact he somehow got someone to make such adolescent guff with him makes him some kind of Youtube star of the disabled community. If he is, then it is up to cultural critics like myself to call him up on his pretensions, and to point out how derogatory and regressive I find it. As a disabled writer and film maker, I feel we need to do far, far better.