Mrs. Brown's Boys My Name Is Mark Brown And I'm An Alcoholic - Mrs Brown's Boys

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Monday, February 10, 2020

Mrs. Brown's Boys My Name Is Mark Brown And I'm An Alcoholic


Read all about it: Caitlyn Jenner and Brendan O’Carroll (left) on the set of ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ in Glasgow as the star filmed scenes for the sitcom



Of course it happened. It makes such perfect sense that it's hard to imagine a time before: but of course Caitlyn Jenner is on Mrs Brown's Boys. It couldn't be more perfect.

Many were shaken by the news, announced via Caitlyn's Instagram with a photo of her on set at Mrs Brown's kitchen table, and the curious caption: "Had so much fun shooting this funny comedy in Scotland! Mrs Brown's Boys!"

Many in Ireland were grateful for the high-profile reminder that technically we're not responsible for Mrs Brown's Boys because it's not actually filmed here. But there was a reluctant gratification that a bona fide celebrity had deigned to appear on a show that is, for better or worse, ours. Caitlyn's been on the cover of Vanity Fair; she has two Olympic gold medals; there are no degrees of separation between her and Kanye West - her glossy head seemed an incongruous addition to Mrs Brown's kitchen table.

But it's not really. It was perfectly natural: Mrs Brown is where Caitlyn truly belongs - it's what she knows.

A house, where sons and daughters mill aimlessly about an absurd matriarch: Mrs Brown's Boys is Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

Back in Caitlyn's day, the show was pure pantomime. Who from the colourful cast of supporting characters will drop by the house today and provide some nonsense conversation? What unlikely micro-drama will be blown out of all proportion to reach a shamelessly sentimental conclusion? Who'll break the fourth wall and not be able to take it all seriously by getting the giggles? KUWTK was 'Mrs Brown in Balenciaga'. Both hark back to a bygone age: when family was family, and everyone was stuck on each other. Both shows have been variously accused of crassness, of lowering the collective IQ of society, or being a portent of the cultural apocalypse.

KUWTK launched the careers of all the Kardashian/Jenner children, back when Caitlyn went by Bruce, it was good old-fashioned, rough and ready, fairly low-budget television. And while her famous daughters and step-daughters have now gone high, with their Vogue features, minimalist spreads in Architectural Digest and Met Ball invites, Caitlyn's sticking with what she knows. She's chosen relatability instead of remoteness. Despite transitioning, Caitlyn might be the one who has changed the least from the beginning of the Kardashian fame journey.

And we did observe a certain straightforwardness, an innocence in Caitlyn Jenner during her recent I'm a Celebrity stint, where she was surprisingly ready to get stuck in, always the first person to do the washing up and get her hands dirty.

And it doesn't get dirtier than Mrs Brown's Boys. This show is the washing-up of the entertainment world: necessary, though we wish it wasn't, and some people even enjoy it.

To publicly endorse Mrs Brown's Boys is to make a point: I am not a member of the cultural elite, I understand you, I'm a person of the people. Because with Caitlyn's status as the world's most famous trans woman, there's a risk of being swept along with the lefty snowflake types as a figurehead and totem for a broader liberal agenda. And I get the impression that Caitlyn simply wants to enjoy being Caitlyn.

Her cameo places her squarely, deliberately, in camp boomer - where she can enjoy a lot more uncritical attention from a generation who don't do cancelling (the millennials have tried to have her cancelled several times). Boomers are famously obsessed with Caitlyn Jenner, and are largely to blame for Mrs Brown's success - and lest we forget, despite her internet literacy, Caitlyn Jenner is a boomer.

If her daughters have fame, success and money, but a bit of a PR problem, they should talk to their father - because Caitlyn might still have bills to pay, but appearing on Mrs Brown might be the finest bit of PR the world has ever seen. OK, boomer.

*******

Love Island has awoken. The Kraken is rising. Finally, three weeks into the season, it is giving us something to talk about.

More or less since it started this year, the biggest stories have been peripheral to Love Island itself: Caroline Flack; viewing figures; beauty standards and body shaming; Laura Whitmore's carbon footprint. There had been little talk about what was going on in the villa because what was going on in the villa was incredibly boring.

But if Casa Amor came at the same time as usual, it certainly felt early; a Hail Mary for the ailing maiden winter season. Because Casa Amor represents the very best of Love Island: it's when all the couples are suddenly separated, with the girls in one villa and the boys in another. And then 12 nearly-naked novel recruits are released from the holding pen to wreak absolute carnage. If Love Island thrives on dramatic betrayals and surprising acts of devotion, then the week of Casa Amor is Love Island on crack.

Removing all the women they've come to know, and replacing them with six brand-new sexy women, strips away the cloying faux-sincerity of even the most hopelessly beta of Love Island men (see: Curtis). Fan favourite Nas, who had been tipped to win with his sweet and dippy villa partner Demi, had his head turned in Casa Amor by a woman who is more his 'physical type' but whose ambivalence towards him is matched only by her desperation to be on Love Island. It's fair to say Nas is no longer a fan favourite - and viewers are picking up again.

*******

Billie Eilish has been hoisted on to the highest pedestal in pop: not only is her music catchy, and captures a zeitgeist, but she dresses to disguise her body (which seems to lend her more moral value than, say, Ariana Grande) at the same time as being genetically blessed with a face that looks invented for 2020's specific beauty standard.

She recently become the first woman in history to take home all four big prizes at the Grammys, and Billie Eilish mania hit fever pitch: on to this green-haired teenager we human adults projected all kinds of meanings, hopes and assumptions.

And finally, Billie Eilish has reminded us that she is, in fact, 18: a teenager who lives with her parents.

In last week's Vogue cover interview (because of course), Billie was quoted as saying that a lot of current rap music consists of "lying". "It's like, 'I got my AK-47 and I'm f****n',' and I'm like, what? You don't have a gun. 'And all my bitches…' I'm like, which bitches? That's posturing, and that's not what I'm doing."

Judgment was swift and brutal: how dare she use hip-hop inspired music and fashion to become successful and then criticise it? Twitter had no mercy.

But oh, what white 18-year-old hasn't made that earth-shatteringly innocent observation, feeling giddy with the wit and edginess. Imagine the abject humiliation if adults had taken what teenage-you said seriously. Billie Eilish is exceptionally talented, precocious and perceptive - but her adult fans would do well to remember she's still a kid. And that means the occasional banality.

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