Oct 21 2012

That Mitchell and Webb Look on gendered TV ads

That Mitchell and Webb Look is the same series that resulted in that Homeopathic Hospital sketch that like everyone in the skeptical blogosphere has posted at some time, that ‘atheist miracle watermelon’ sketch that everyone in the atheist blogosphere has posted at some time, and the “How would BBC1 handle an alien invasion” sketch I featured here a while back.

I said then that they appear to be eminently meme-worthy. Here’s yet another brilliant example of how meme-worthy they are.

Yep. That pretty much sorts it all out.


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  1. 1

    Ahem! Quoting myself:

    Netflix streaming has a bit of Mitchell and Webb. I’d say that every episode of That Mitchell and Webb Look has a gem or two. I love those guys and have watched as much as I can. I understand they are well loved in the UK. Peep Show is also great if you’re willing to overlook a bit of background sexism (no greater than the average level for popular British TV comedies).

    If you have Netflix put that on your list of stuff to get around to if you ever get the time.

  2. 2
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Look for the wonderful “Target Women” series with Sarah Hastings on Youtube. She really digs into this. Especially good: The Doofus Husband
    (For all the MRAs who usually complain about being portrayed as idiots in adds)

  3. 3

    Hur hur, washing laundry is so hard! Thanks, honey!

    (Because only women can be skillful experts at “the domestic arts” and “home economics”. Facepalm.)

    Slight correction to Giliell, Sarah Haskins can be found here: http://current.com/shows/infomania/90569059_sarah-haskins-in-target-women-doofy-husbands.htm

  4. 4

    Er, I kinda meant to link to the whole set here http://current.com/groups/sarah-haskins/ but yeah, feckless dad and/or doofy husband is probably on tvtropes… dare I look?!

  5. 5
    Jason Thibeault

    Yeah, pretty sure it is Drolfe. I wouldn’t worry too much about going to TVTropes, it’s usually pretty spot-on. Though it has massive timesink factor.

    The “doofy dad” thing is just another way to reinforce the rigid gender role of mom as primary caregiver, for fear that doofy dad puts a kid in a dishwasher or something. Another way that patriarchy and rigid gender roles hurt men.

  6. 6

    Drolfe, I completely disagree that Peep Show is sexist. I think you’ve missed the point. The characters in Peep Show are complete and utter sleazebags (one is immoral and the other amoral) and are sexist through and through. The show is holding a mirror up to how shameful the characters (and ourselves!) really are.

    That the characters are sexist and the show isn’t – is a distinction most British audiences would have no trouble making.

  7. 7

    Right, and it’s like a wholly absorbed part of the accepted culture that “I can’t help with the housework, honey, because I suck at it anyway. I might break the china and get the whites will come out pink!” So you know, you better do it while I watch football. Also, sandwiches, yada yada, etc.

    It perpetuates the domestic imbalance that is, iirc, the primary cause of marital and domestic strife outside of economic pressures. I can’t find the cite on that in a lazy google, but it’s probably something that Pteryxx linked.

  8. 8


    Oh no no, I totally agree with you. That’s why I recommend the show. It’s brilliant, but you have to be willing to put up with the baseline sexism that the characters and settings reflect about our popular culture. Sexual objectification of women happens in real life — it is reflected on the show. If you can still be entertained by shows of that sort — and I can, and maybe that’s privilege — then by all means take my recommendation.

    I only offered the warning of base-level sexism as a hedge against those that might otherwise enjoy Mitchell and Webb’s out of character points of view (or atheist sketches) but aren’t so much into titties and drugs and unemployment and loneliness and in-laws etc.

  9. 9
    Lou Doench

    @Jason, Do you have any idea How hard it is to get a kid into the dishwasher?

  10. 10

    Drolfe, glad that you ‘get it’ :-) I think hearing the rotten attitudes displayed by such dissolute characters sends a stronger message that any amount of preaching.

    The other awesome thing about Peep Show is how many times one finds oneself thinking the same things as the characters (to my/our shame). That’s such an eye-opener.

    I’m making the show sound too serious. It’s laugh out loud funny. Especially the SuperHans character. I thorougly recommend the show to anyone capable of getting what Mitchell and Webb are doing.

  11. 11

    I was also going to recommend Peep Show. I’m actually not crazy about Mitchell and Web Look (maybe I just watched a couple of off episodes, not sure), though I am happy to watch the highlights that other people link to. Peep Show is quite hilarious.

    And, since we’re posting M&W skepticism-related videos, here’s Peep Show on the “crystal skulls” phenomenon:


    (And yes, crystal skulls are a real thing…)

  12. 12

    @Jason, Do you have any idea How hard it is to get a kid into the dishwasher?

    Uh… these days, it’s a problem keeping my 15-month-old niece OUT of the dishwasher. She climbs into it every time it’s open.

  13. 13

    The one sketch that makes me laugh the most is

  14. 14

    Also, ‘Shower Products for Men’:

  15. 15

    Drolfe – Sarah Haskins is back! She just posted a new video: here

  16. 16
    Jafafa Hots

    The “doofy dad” thing is just another way to reinforce the rigid gender role of mom as primary caregiver, for fear that doofy dad puts a kid in a dishwasher or something. Another way that patriarchy and rigid gender roles hurt men.

    I just realized that most of Bill Cosby’s comedy career relied on this.
    From the “chocolate cake for breakfast” album routine right down to his role on his 80s show.

    America’s Favorite Dad.

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