Britain has four armed forces – army, navy, air force and Ross Kemp


bridge of lies (weekdays, BBC One) has theme music that is just an endless crescendo and takes place in the eerily lit warehouse space where they keep all the game shows. It starts with Ross Kemp walking towards us. He is a famous vassal of the Bridge of Lies, a whimsical TV entity with needs.

Kemp rose to prominence in the traumatic soap opera Eastenders, which is a joyless psychogeographical map of British identity. On that show, he played one of the adulterous Mitchell brothers, the violent, egg-headed sons of Babs Windsor from the Carry On films.

In recent years, documentary producers have preferred to parachute Kemp into dangerous areas rather than cast him in things. And now most Britons believe their armed forces have four branches: Army, Navy, Air Force and Ross Kemp. Woe to your island nation when they deploy Ross Kemp. This Bridge of Lies must be a character if it bent Ross Kemp to its insidious whims.

There are a lot of lies on the floor and if you fail to spot those lies, you lose the round. Is this another metaphor for capitalism? Probably

Kemp takes all of this very seriously. He strides towards the camera with the circular head and frown lines of an adult Charlie Brown and the t-shirt and sports jacket combo of a father who has custody of us for the weekend. He talks about the Bridge of Lies as if he has no control over him or his base appetites. All he can hope for is that some humans succeed in a mind game.

The first family to face the Bridge of Lies are a pair of cousins ​​and their spouses. They tell Ross Kemp about their eccentric alphabet date nights, of which this TV appearance is just one example. “Are we going to continue the game?” said Ross Kemp, already tired of their shenanigans, for there is a bridge of lies to cross.

He explains the rules. Competitors must cross a diamond-shaped floor filled with circles. Each circle contains a truth or a lie and they have to cross the floor walking only on true statements. “Easy!” tells you, if you are used to living a comfortable life in a functioning social democracy. Idiot! There are a lot of lies on the floor and if you fail to spot those lies, you lose the round. Is this another metaphor for capitalism? Probably.

Not to be too pedantic here, but it occurs to me that to win the round, the contestants need to uncover a bridge of truths, not a bridge of lies. So even the name Bridge of Lies is a lie. Classic Bridge of Lies, if you think about it.

“Bridge, can you reveal the opening category,” Ross Kemp tells Bridge of Lies. The Bridge responds with the voice of an Englishwoman. There’s no explanation of how Bridge learned to speak or how he developed his obsession with believable hi-jinks. Maybe Bridge of Lies was on Eastenders too. Did he play Dot Cotton? We’ll never know.

“Sanj, come join me on the bridge of lies,” Ross Kemp said to the first contestant. Most things said by game show hosts these days could be said by cult leaders in a post-apocalyptic society.

Sanj has been fighting from the start. She is confronted with three words that the Bridge of Lies claims belong to the 21st century. The words are “youtuber” “alcopop” and “studmuffin”, coincidentally the names of my nephews. Sanj reviews the information. She explains that studmuffins existed in the past. I mean, Ross Kemp is right there in fairness. She chooses, “youtubeuse”. She’s right.

It goes on like this, with Sanj and his family trapped in a Kafkaesque neon nightmare overseen by Ross Kemp, cheerleading Dennis Hopper to Bridge of Lies’ Marlon Brando. At one point, blinded by a world of misinformation and faced with her downfall, Sanj cries out “Ross, help me!” But she doesn’t understand. “I can’t help you,” Ross Kemp said sadly, addressing not just Sanj, but all of us.

Three prestigious dramas

Right now, three different streamers are hosting three different prestige dramas about three different snake oil sellers from the 2010s. happen.

There are Invent Anna on Netflix, which explores the downfall of fake New York society heiress Anna Delvey/Sorokin. There are The stall on Disney+, which examines the downfall of fraudulent tech entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes. And there is We crashed on Apple TV about the downfall of disastrous WeWork founder Adam Neumann (I say downfall because he’s still incredibly wealthy).

The Dropout: Amanda Seyfried gives Elizabeth Holmes an endearing appearance of vulnerability and prideful delusion. Photography: Beth Dubber

Jon Ronson once said that it was hard to write about business people who really ruined the world because they were too boring. And that’s how these three distinctly-voiced weirdos who ruined the lives of a relatively small group of people get entire TV series. In contrast, Mark Zuckerberg, who ruined democracy, only got a two-hour movie.

The stories of all of these shows jump between the fall and the events preceding the fall. Sorokin’s reward was the result of pretending to be someone she wasn’t. Holmes claimed to have invented something impossible (a machine capable of doing hundreds of medical tests with a single drop of blood). And Neumann managed to raise crazy sums for a sleazy real estate venture, revealing that financialized capitalism was an inherently useless pyramid scheme. Taken together, these programs act as an argument for the societal importance of impostor syndrome and the terrible things that happen when real impostors don’t have it.

Inventing Anna is the worst because Sorokin’s master plan was the most meaningless and, quite frankly, the people she fooled weren’t particularly interesting either.

All of these shows are a bit in love with their subjects. They try to get us to root for them despite the pre-established endings. That’s because Americans are taught to revere wannabe sociopaths and, for them, the cautionary tale here is simply that the bad wannabe sociopaths were in charge. The Irish, on the other hand, take these stories as confirmation that productive enterprise is best controlled by a centralized state.

The Dropout has a tragicomic side to it and is the best of these shows. Amanda Seyfried makes Holmes sound endearingly vulnerable and hubristically deluded as she deepens her voice and sticks her jaw out. When attractive actors change their head shape to look like us, it usually means they’re really going for it.

Inventing Anna is the worst because Sorokin’s (Julia Garner) master plan was the most meaningless and, quite frankly, the people she fooled weren’t particularly interesting either. I mean, if she hadn’t taken their money, what were they going to do? Pay a fair tax rate?

I’ve only watched the first few episodes of WeCrashed (which debuts today) and it’s watchable, well-made, and a bit lacking in substance. Neumann is played by Jared Leto, a famous method actor, like Catherine Tate or Harry Enfield, for his quirky “characters”. He is joined by Anne Hathaway as his steely but flaky wife, Rebekah. Early episodes see them dearly going through each other’s lives, and the creators seem to suggest that Neumann is a true visionary. They pitch his idea of ​​huddle insecure gig peddlers in offices with ping-pong tables and kegs of beer, instead of encouraging them to campaign for unions and health care, as basically a good idea . But you know the end. WeWork was a disaster. His assessment was such a bridge of lies that I expected Ross Kemp to show up.


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