I wasn’t always a fan of Charlie Brooker. I saw him as a failed hybrid, a loud mouthed Al Murray with the satire and middle-class breeding of David Mitchell. On 10 O’clock Live, I found his segment jarring and obnoxious. His aversion to anything vaguely techy, and his constant complaining, reminded me of an old man who failed to see the upsides of transitioning from fax to email.
In light of his recent successes, such as Black Mirror and Weekly Wipe, it would appear the man is actually a satirical genius. Albeit, a grumpy and pessimistic one. Weekly Wipe’s third season gives a clear-cut, liberal view of weekly events, much like Charlie Brooker’s 2014 Wipe. Brooker’s annual overview highlighted how media and politics alike are a confusing muddle of events, in which even the most grounded individual can be swept away by public opinion, being left thinking “what the fuck is happening to the world?”.
In the first episode of 2015’s Weekly Wipe, the focus is on the terrorist attacks in Paris, the Sun’s (non-)removal of page 3, and pretty much all the events that stayed on your news feed for a seemingly infinite amount of time. Charlie Brooker’s opinion on the ‘Je Suis Charlie campaign’ has given me an enormous sense of relief, and hope that the world hasn’t turned into the dystopia Fox news would like to think it is. More or less everything Brooker has ever produced has screamed ‘Don’t be a sheep. Think for yourself’, something I fully support. Weekly Wipe is a triumph of satire, and it should be celebrated in a world where comedy is sometimes the only weapon against bleak reality.
But the world isn’t as terrible and dismal as he is making it out to be, you say? If you don’t want to laugh for 30 minutes at the stupidity of world around you, this is not the show for you. It is consistent with all things we have come to expect of Brooker, championing sarcastic, witty whining, one of the most important of British values.
I originally thought of Charlie Brooker as an old, grumpy man who was out of touch with modern reality. However, I see I could not have been further from the truth. Or maybe I’m just getting older, and I’m stuck in a late noughties mind-set whereby everything occurring thereafter was bound to get on my nerves. Charlie Brooker speaks to the cynicism of a generation that is not quite ready for the endless positivism and optimism of vloggers. His reviews are fresh, with an air of humour making his Weekly Wipe a must watch. Not just for a laugh, but as a way to make sense of the madness that will attempt to batter your attempts to remain optimistic about the society we live in.