The James Clayton Column: Han Solo and Indy vs. evil TV

James wants to send Indiana Jones and Han Solo in to save television. Here's his plan...

Television is scary. If you don’t believe this, you’re either in denial or it’s already succeeded in conditioning and taking control of your mind. Realise the disturbing truth about that devil box you invited into your home. It’s a domestic terrorist that hypnotises you, has you attentive in its hold and assaults you on a daily basis.

We’re all helpless consumers held captive by screens and I fear for humanity, especially when the screens are dominated by karaoke contests, shock-docs, toxic soap operas and news programmes that turn current affairs into a circus. I’m freaking out at the idea that the Pleasantville scenario could occur and that some of us will get sucked into one of these awful TV shows and have to eat maggots or sing tunes from Dreamgirls through tears of fake grief in order to escape.

I’m struck by the eerie similarities to the visions of Network and Videodrome and also suspect that subliminal messages are being disseminated, most likely by Rupert Murdoch and his satanic minions. In total, we’re paying for an A Clockwork Orange-style brainwashing experience, with Phillip Schofield and irritating adverts featuring meerkats.

Overly affected as I am by David Cronenberg movies, I also worry that television’s influence transcends the set and has more biological power than the way it stimulates (or de-stimulates) the brain. Broadcast waves could be physically penetrating us, corrupting us from inside and, consequently, I live in dread that one day I’ll flick on the tube and find my torso has blasted open and turned into a bloody Blu-ray player.

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Frankly, the terror and torment of Beelzebox has gone on long enough. I don’t want the human race to have their minds warped by manipulative media moguls and I don’t to witness mass tech-chestburster incidents.

To quote Howard Beale of Network: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this any more!” I’m going to take a thick red pen, a machete (to skin and execute the meerkat) and the drums of revolution to TV.

I had high hopes for this struggle when I saw Harrison Ford on posters for new film, Morning Glory. The image promises Ford, a solid and reliable figure of action and common sense, behind a desk for a movie exposing the madness of the morning news magazine show. Sadly, Morning Glory appears to have more in common with Anchorman than Network, and isn’t inclined towards biting satire.

As veteran news hack Mike Pomeroy, our great hope Harrison is the butt of the jokes and the old uncomfortable grouch berated by the chirpier likes of Diane Keaton and Rachael McAdams. This is a travesty, considering that Ford is the man who played two of the coolest characters in cinema history, and Han Solo and Indiana Jones shouldn’t be disrespected like this.

It’s too late now for Morning Glory, but not too late for real-world television, and it’s on the characters of Indy and Han Solo that the rebellion’s progress rests. If we took a handy blaster and a bullwhip to the schedules (after opening the Ark of the Covenant on Mr Murdoch to gloriously obliterate him in sublime face-melting style), then television and the human race could be saved.

If every programme broadcast featured one of the heroes as a power for good, then the forces of darkness would be diminished and, protected by Harrison’s Ford’s charismatic aura, the audience would be safe from televisual evil.

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Here’s the rebel plot. With the help of Chewbacca, Han destroys all the evil Empire’s defence shields and blows Darth Murdoch’s Death Star. The pair then park up the Millennium Falcon and take residence behind the news desk to host current affairs programming that is incisive, honest and cuts through all the bullshit.

Because you won’t actually be able to understand the Wookiee’s growled bulletins, you’ll have no concerns about false reporting and misleading stories. On the other end of the sofa, in Han I picture potentially the greatest investigative journalist the galaxy has ever known. Imagine Jeremy Paxman if he was more charismatic, better looking and could fly the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs and you’ll get some grasp of just how brilliant Newsnight would be under the guidance of Solo.

Meanwhile, Indiana Jones is sweeping up the rest of the telly realms, clearing ancient cobwebs and whipping things into shape. His tomb raiding experience will revolutionise daytime TV as he launches himself into all the antiques programmes and fantasy home hunting shows. The pet rescue, mystery inheritance and cooking shows are all pretty dull and could do with a blast of excitement. Adding Indy’s Holy Grail-aided healing abilities, archaeological expertise and eager desire to nuke the fridge, respectively, would deliver that.

I’d also aim to make sure, in this warped Harrisonfordified media utopia, that any show with a panel of judges would get a touch of the Temple Of Doom. Indiana Jones, Willie Scott and Short Round make up the authoritative trio and would take it turns to shout “You have offended Shiva!” at attention-seeking fame whores before casting them into the fiery pits of Kali. It’s cruel but, in truth, Thuggee cult sacrifice is more humane than humiliation on live national television.

The right judgemental attitude is on display in the scene where Indy shoots the fancy swordsman of  the Cairo marketplace in Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Think of the hours of pain and suffering this approach would save if you take into consideration every single singing/dancing/variety act ‘talent’ show out there.

In conclusion, weekend primetime needs Dr. Jones.

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Revolutionising television as the Channel Ford experience strikes me as a good idea and the rebel scheme needs to be instigated before Rupert Murdoch completely monopolises the British media and begins his mind-control experiments. If Harrison Ford gets undermined by his colleagues on Morning Glory, is too crabby and apathetic, or loses the iconic fedora forever to Shia LaBeouf, then we’re doomed.

If that’s the case, to protect myself from brainwashing and Videodrome-style body horror, I’m following my hero, Han, going into carbon freeze and getting exported far off to the Outer Rim territories. The fatal mind-skewering signals won’t be able to penetrate the alloy and I won’t be able to hear the meerkat adverts out there in the wilderness.

One day I’ll return, reignite the rebellion afresh, and in doing so, crush the Dark Side. You cannot win, Darth Murdoch, and all you karaoke crazies and dance show gerbils. Long live my new carbon frozen flesh!

James’ previous column can be found here.

You can reach James on his Twitter feed here, see his film cartoons here and more sketches here.

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