Well, I stepped into the position of proffering the case for the defense of Jerry Springer – The Opera, (or was that the case for the prosecution against the mindless religious zealot lobby?) so I feel I ought to do so again for Dick and Dom who have come under fire in the House of Commons this week.

Conservative MP Peter Luff, MP for Mid-Worcestershire (a very rural and upmarket constituency) claimed in the house of commons that, acting on the basis of complaints by his constituents, ‘Dick and Dom in da Bungalow’ BBC1s Saturday morning show for children was not fit for public taste and decency. To hear Mr Luff stand up in Parliament and make his speech whilst the conservative backbenchers made that noise that only parliamentarians who drink port for breakfast and are just waiting for their peerage when the Tories get back into power just summed up to me why so many people feel totally detached from these inflated poppinjays.

It is true that ‘Dick & Dom in da Bungalow’ is not for me the most sophisticated brand of humour that I have come across but then the BBC have stated that the program is aimed at 9 year olds and in my experience 9 year olds do not have a staggering grasp of delicate satire and irony. Even my 5 and 3 year old children struggle with these humorous concepts and they are of course the most intelligent children in the world. Dick and Dom however make them laugh a lot.

It wasn’t any different in my day, in the 1980s we had Tiswas which had the same anarchic, simple sometimes infantile brand of humour. Whatever the social status, racial background, religion, language or age of the child there will always be an appeal in seeing people get drenched in water, gunge or assorted other fluids, the more viscose the better, and the custard pie in the face has been a timeless classic from the silent movie days through Laurel and Hardy and beyond. Jokes about pooh and overall bodily functions will forever have as much appeal for children as nob gags do to young men down the pub. And no matter what age you are flatulence will make men and children all over the world laugh, the more inappropriate or noxious the fart the funnier it becomes. Maybe this is because we retain something of the inner child? Likewise you might think that going into a public library and playing a game that requires a steady crescendo of shouting of the word ‘bogies’ may be puerile if we’re being stuffy but it is difficult not to laugh at the reactions on people’s faces and their incredulity.

When the conservative politicians say that such lavatorial humour say that sort of programming is not part of the BBC remit in this Royal Charter Renewal year. What they are saying is that their supporters the middle England Dr. and Mrs Ponsonby-Smythe do not feel that Dick and Dom are suitable fare for StJohn (pronounced sin-jin) and Portia who they feel should be studying Latin and quadratic equations by the age of 4.

I myself am a great deal more prudish than I used to be because I can see and truly understand the damage that extreme violence or explicit sex can have on children wo are too young to fully understand the difference between the contexts of reality and fiction. The argument that children will encounter these sorts of things in the real world in time anyway is a complete side-track because adults and even teenagers have more advanced tools to be able to differentiate and absorb information.

In this age when we are progressively shortening the period of time that children are genuinely children do we really want to send out the message to our 9 year olds that they are not allowed just to have fun? I would have thought there are other targets which might promote a great deal more philosophical debate such as the growing trend for schadenfreude programs where we are laughing at the misfortune of others, one could question the morality etc. of us finding clips of people being hurt or embarrassed funny but this does not address the fact that like it or not we do find them decidedly amusing.

This is not the first time Dick and Dom have been criticised, in September 2004 the BBC was reprimanded by Ofcom because presenter Dominic Wood wore a T-Shirt that said ‘Morning Wood’ on it. This was deemed to be a sexual innuendo and inappropriate. The presenter argued that as the show was on in the morning and his surname was Wood there was no sexual connotation. I believe myself that the innuendo was clear and Dom Wood knew it tho’ of course the innocent explanation will have the added appeal for him and undoubtedly attracted him to the shirt as well. I would dispute that the phrase ‘Morning Wood’ has sexual innuendo, any man who has had ‘Morning Glory’ as it is often referred to (and I don’t think there a many out there who haven’t) knows that this is the body’s mechanism to stop you pissing yourself in the morning. The fact that a man may be sleeping next to his partner and decides to make use of it for sexual purposes is neither here nor there!

Song Of The Day – Rolling Stones – Sympathy For The Devil

Original Comments:

Pimme made this comment,
I’m sure that the “Morning Wood” was intended as innuendo, regardless of the man’s surname. There’s no way that he wouldn’t make the connection! ;^)
Whether or not it should be deemed offensive depends on how sensitive you are.

Visit me @ http://pimme.blog-city.com

[Redbaron responds – I agree Pimme I know that the joke would not have been lost on any adults, but having said that I would have thought the innuendo were sophisticated enough to go over the heads of young children. It would seem something that only the most puritanical would get in a real lather about.]

comment added :: 20th January 2005, 16:52 GMT+01
Mark Ellott made this comment,
What is wrong with these people? Programmes that have appealed on two levels have been around for years. In my day it was Captain Pugwash. Master Bates went straight over my head (being about five at the time) but adults thought it a scream…
It just goes to show, the Tories are as unelectable as ever. Pathetic. It’s about time they concentrated on some policies instead of moaning about television programmes. Oh, but that would mean concentrating on the job in hand, wouldn’t it?

Visit me @ http://longrider.blog-city.com

comment added :: 20th January 2005, 20:27 GMT+01
Steve made this comment,
I’m 21 with no kids, making my opinion totally irrelevant, but I would think that most kids wouldn’t get the joke, and besides a lot of programs and movies have similar adult jokes.
I would think that it gives the parents more motivation to watch TV with their kids, and is therefore a good thing.

comment added :: 20th January 2005, 21:33 GMT+01
Jamie made this comment,
Ok I have no kids of my own (pretty sure there are human rights laws that forbid me, but thats beside the point) but my wee cousins watch Dick & Dom most weekends and find it hillarious. They are not anymore warped than any other kids in my home city.
Most kids TV will work at two levels for an extent, hell most Kids entertainment does (how many dads nick the kids PS2 now and again, and how many mums have read the Harry Potter books) afterall they are all written by adults in the first place. The adults are the ones who pay for it, why not let them get a bit of enjoyment out of it.
Visit me @ http://jeem.blog-city.com

[Redbaron responds – Yes, good point, and to create a program that works for children and parents alike is quite an achievement after all the parents get subjected to some awful shite sometimes.]

comment added :: 20th January 2005, 23:59 GMT+01
moog made this comment,
obviously on itv at the same time they are throwing a dwarf around, and dangling him from wires, and making kids chase him, and thats totally fine, and the ‘german’ scientist who spends all his free time looking for his ‘lost’ dog on wimbeldon common is not at all sexual…
its just not only kids watching these things, and they need to keep everyone watching on some kind of level. i hate dick and dom, but my tiny god daughter loves it, and shes 3!!!
Visit me @ http://jealoustwin.blog-city.com

[Redbaron responds – I have to say the faux German scientist does crack me up on the few occasions I have managed to switch to ‘the other side’ just for balance you understand nothing to do with Holly who is a sort!]

comment added :: 23rd January 2005, 22:26 GMT+01