First there was Steve Coogan with Alan Partridge, then Sascha Cohen with Ali G and Borat, Ricky Gervais, and now there's a fourth comedic prodigy to come from the UK in recent years, Paul Kaye with his Mike Strutter character. I'm sure many would disagree, mostly on the basis that the show is too vulgar hence can't be funny. "Strutter" IS extremely vulgar, obscene, very graphic and full of sexual deviancy and scatological nonsense. Wonderful nonsense, though. It's not for everybody; in fact, this show is targeted at younger audiences and adults who don't take themselves and life overly seriously - and I think the latter group has always been a relative minority. Also, the fact that this show appears on MTV will put additional stigma on it, as far as "serious" viewers are concerned. Granted, MTV is a bastion of modern dumbing-down, but occasionally they have produced terrific, non-music-related shows.
Mike Strutter is a strange creature. Nearly everyone who has seen "Carlito's Way" will tell you that Strutter reminds them of Sean Penn's David Kleinfeld character, a decadent mob lawyer with funny hair. The hair is there, and Strutter is certainly ugly enough to resemble Penn, but the accent is different. Only Kaye knows what he was thinking when he fleshed out M.S. He looks like a cheap gangster, talks like one - but with a strange sort-of American accent: the "R"s are a bit weird. Whatever he's supposed to be, he's hilarious.
Strutter works a bit like "Beavis & Butthead", in that we are supposed to laugh with them/him during the narration but (usually)laugh AT them/him during the other stuff/sketches. In other words Mike Strutter in his narration represents the voice of reason, a relentlessly anti-PC smart-ass whose radars for hypocrisy and stupidity are never turned off. Whether he mocks British boy bands, La Lopez, or Bono, Strutter is right on the mark 99% of the time. A bit like Howard Stern before he got too old. I especially enjoy the utter disdain and contempt he reveals when it comes to various skateboard nerds and motorbike lunatics breaking their bones on the pavement. On the other hand, the studio-and-sketches Mike Strutter is a violent sociopath with a taste for excessive booze and cocaine, hardly someone to look up to. Yes, you can have it both ways: after all, this is just a comedy show.
Strutter himself calls this a "clip show", but it's a bit more than that. Most of each 20-minute episode consists of clips of extreme sex and violence with terrific narration by Strutter. However, each episode has one or two sketches, and while the clip bits are usually the highlights, some of the sketches are very funny: particularly the sexual shenanigans of the "hip", deviant German couple, the Zpitvars. (This is a sublime parody of the typically jaded, well-off Northern Europeans who have to devise the most bizarre sexual activities in order to get aroused.) I wonder what Germans think of this?
So if you're squeamish, into boy bands or alternative rock garbage, if you're a skateboarding fanatic, or if you're easily offended by the sight of ravaged penises, my advise to you is to skip this programme... Or as Mike Strutter would say: "if you don't like it, then go f&*@*^%*#^&@...".
For my music-related rants, go to: http://rateyourmusic.com/collection/Fedor8/
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