After publishing a rant about 'idiots' - frantically hip, ignorant scenesters - Dan Ashcroft finds these same people embracing him as his idol and his nerves constantly tested by his biggest fan, moronic scene personality Nathan Barley.
Live from his luxury apartment in London's glittering East End, Dean Learner (Club owner, Celebrity Manager, Entrepreneur and Publisher of high-class gentleman's magazines) invites you to meet some of his closest friends, Man to Man.
This parody series is an unearthed 80s horror/drama, complete with poor production values, awful dialogue and hilarious violence. The series is set in a Hospital in Romford, which is situated over the gates of Hell.
Alan Partridge a failed television presenter whose previous exploits had featured in the chat-show parody Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge, and who is now presenting a programed on local radio in Norwich.
A collection of bleakly dark comedy sketches pushing the boundaries of taste, decency and television in general, shot using new and different techniques and fading slowly in and out of each other against a slow musical soundtrack. Regular themes include death, insanity and, most often of all, the medical profession. Written by
Aired without any advert breaks or credits; instead, each episode ended with a black screen and the words "www.jamcredits.com". At this website the full credits for the week's episode were shown, a first for any TV show or film.The site moved to "www.channel4.com/entertainment/tv/microsites/J/jam", but both have now ceased to exist. See more »
During the Thick Agency sketch in episode 1, the CCTV footage of Julia Davis approaching the help desk shows both the boom mic and camera operators standing behind her. The camera is visible again moments later in the sketch, reflected in the help desk's window. See more »
Did you really prescribe my son a kilo of Heroine?
[flashes a Strobe in his own Face]
I'm sorry I can't see a thing. You'll have to reschedule, goodbye.
[Gropes for Intercom]
Sarah, I've just blinded myself. Could you rearrange my diary and then help me to a taxi?
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Experimental, lo-fi and extremely nihilistic 'comedy' series
I remember when Jam first came out it did cause a bit of controversy. It wasn't the first TV show created by Chris Morris that had caused an uproar. His earlier series Brass Eye had made waves on a few occasions, most notably in an episode that focused on paedophilia; an instalment so controversial that its transmission was delayed several years and only was broadcast after Jam had already been televised. In the event, the storm that that Brass Eye episode caused was way greater than anything generated by Jam. The reason to a large extent was that while the content of Jam was consistently troublesome, as a whole the program was so experimental and avant-garde that far fewer people bothered to watch it. It is ostensibly a comedy program, although I couldn't honestly say I found myself laughing very often. It was made up by a selection of dark and disturbing sketches which focused for the most part on subjects rarely dealt with by TV comedy, i.e. things like rape, suicide, sexual abuse, cot death, child abduction, etc. Plus it made uncomfortable use of children in several sketches in ways that were pushing the envelope very far indeed. Jam was about busting taboos basically and making the audience confront things in ways they hadn't before.
While I can't say I found this to be particularly funny, it was still quite compulsively watchable mainly on account of it being so strange that you didn't quite know where it was going to go next. Although after a bit, you could sort of predict the sketches more, as they usually simply went for the most nihilistic pay-off the circumstance could lend itself to. I would say it was often more an intellectual exercise than really a comedy one though. Occasionally the ideas were very memorable, such as the dreamlike segment where a man commits suicide by jumping off a first story balcony forty times, taking this slow approach to allow him the option of changing his mind half-way through. Things like that though aren't really funny; at best humour of a pitch black variety but it was at least an original bit of thought. Some of the genuinely funny sketches aren't offensive at all, like the middle aged man who decided he was too old to find love and decided to marry himself.
But what adds to the discomfort of viewing Jam is the presentation itself. The visual style was swirling and dreamlike, with a jumpy almost slow-motion look like a bad connection from a streaming site. The accompanying audio was slightly distorted and the lines were additionally delivered in very deliberate excessively downbeat manner with very understated performances jarring with the shock material (it was based on a radio show and seemingly many of the sketches reused radio transmissions with the actors simply miming along to it in these TV sketches, needless to say this only adds to the general oddness). As if all of this wasn't alienating enough, each sketch seemed to be sound-tracked with ambient music which only added to the general disconnecting experience of watching the show. All this made Jam very confrontationally alienating viewing, with a very bleak vision of the world. My general feeling on this show is pretty mixed. I do find it quite fascinating viewing on account of its experimental and bold nature but it wasn't necessarily entertainment. It was all about discomforts. I'm not always that sure what it was trying to prove or that it was entirely successful but it certainly remains a definite one-off bizarre TV experiment.
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