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Thank you for visiting! I welcome you as either a fellow fan of the Kermode and Mayo BBC film review show, or a puzzled observer of my Wittertainment T-shirt who followed the link printed on the bottom of the design. Of course, you can buy it on Redbubble.com!
Without further ado, here’s what everything means – all 20 references from top to bottom!
- Wittertainment. Invented by combining “Wittering” and “Entertainment”, this term describes the good-natured ribbing and bickering that defines the on-air relationship between the show’s hosts.
- Clergy Corner. Occasional letters from members of the clergy, when read on the show, have been assigned this umbrella title. Countering this is the less-often heard “Sceptical Receptacle”.
- Healing powers. The prescription bottle indicates the many reports from listeners about incidents when merely listening to the show eased some health crisis, or in the most dramatic instance, appeared to nudge someone out of a coma. But see also #12.
- Not about a shark. Mark Kermode shared his opinion that Jaws was not really about a shark, but instead about marital infidelity. Given that this view was based on plot elements from the original book, unused in the film, it’s no surprise that he was rebuffed not only by cohost Simon Mayo and many listeners, but also by Steven Spielberg himself, when Mark deigned to pose the question to him.
- Wittertainment cruise. This legendary – and some might say imaginary – world cruise is the explanation for Mark and Simon’s summer absences from the show. Its path around the design includes locations where, it has been promised, faithful listeners with a cruise ticket will be picked up and returned.
- Flagship film program. The flag on the ship indicates this oft-used slogan or title for the show.
- Who’s driving the boat? Mark noted this plot flaw in his review of “Taken” ; it’s since come to refer to any instance of a clunky and illogical plot device.
- Degrees and awards. When emailers to the show append their degrees or qualifications after their name, they’re continuing a tradition that began with Mark’s review of March of the Penguins in 2006. Mark recalled on an early 2016 show that this review led into a discussion of scientific issues, and some letter-writers added their credentials to reinforce their qualifications.
- U2. Mark has a noted dislike the music of this megaband.
- Tab A into slot B. Term describing a predictable, rote plot construction.
- Six laugh test. The minimum number of solid guffaws Mark feels make for a successful comedy film.
- W.R.I. Wittertainment-Related Injury. Countering earlier claims about Mark’s almost saint-like healing powers (see item 3, above) come more recent reports of hapless listeners tripping, falling or being startled into minor accidents while listening the show (particularly during the period when “bonus” chatter was added following many minutes of silence at the end).
- It’s not about spies. Similar to #4, the 2011 remake of “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” was said by Mark not to actually be about spies, but about the inability of men to be honest with each other, or something. Similarly rebutted by many, though not yet (as of this writing) by the director.
- Brechtian alienation device. Sometimes alluded to by Mark, this is not a physical device but a theatrical one, first defined by playwright Bertolt Brecht, intended to distance characters from their conventional identification with the action on stage and to make explicit the theatrical nature of the performance.
- 30% light loss. Mark has railed against the perceived shortcomings of 3-D (though he did make a surprise exception for Gravity). Often cited is the supposed 30% light loss of “three’d” films vs. “two’d”.
- Pont neuf. Somehow the meaning of the name of this Paris bridge became an issue, and the French-born member of the radio team was brought in (on the podcast extra) to explain. Confusion remained, however, as to whether it stood for a “new” or “ninth” bridge.
- Flappy hands. Mark’s expressive hands are often in play as he rants or raves about a film, but are only seen in the live video feed.
- Death of narrative cinema. Mark exhorted people to stand up at the end of certain films and proclaim, “This is the death of narrative cinema!” This appears to date to his review of the film Ice Age.
- Other opinions are available. “Other graphics are available” is a play on Mark’s oft-used declaration about judgments that contradict his opinion. Except if you don’t like Mary Poppins. Then you’re just wrong.
- Hello to Jason Isaacs. This shout-out to the actor who has been a longtime fan and friend of the show has been repeated and mimicked by many others, even appearing on the UK Google Page when “Jason Isaacs” is searched on. It is probably the most well-known “trope” or reference associated with the show.