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March 9, 2012 / Nick

You’ve Been Framed!


Tangoed girls throwing up in the doorway of Lloyds TSB. People driving out to the 24 hour supermarket not realising it’s closed (excludes Scotland). You’ve Been Framed! What do these three seemingly unrelated things have in common? Yes, that’s right – They’re all guaranteed sources of amusement on Saturday nights in the UK.

You’ve Been Framed is one of those programmes that wins points for having a name that you can sing in time with the theme tune (See also: Blind Date, Channel 4 News and, perhaps most impressively, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?).

However, if you watch it on mute, the whole thing does sometimes just seem tragic and annoying (BTW, I can heartily recommend watching every TV programme on mute at least once: Hollyoaks looks like Crimewatch reconstructions cut-and-spliced into a CBBC sketch comedy). This isn’t because of people getting hurt on camera, but because it’s a document of human failure, which is sometimes very difficult for us to watch.

Speaking of human failure, it's brief YBF host Jonathan Wilkes

Some may believe that laughing at others misfortunes is cruel, but this ignores the fundamental facts. These clips were sent in for the exact purpose that we might laugh at them. But, most importantly, nobody died. Therein lies the programme’s unique warmth. It’s quite literally like watching a young child falling over and clapping and smiling so they don’t cry. Hearing laughter means that you made it – you’re fine. It takes a true survivor to find the silver lining in a cloud.

That said, while YBF is admittedly good clean fun, I can’t help but feel that the reward for video submissions is making a basic mockery of the people who have gone to the effort of recording their weddings, nativity plays, DIY endeavours, etc.
As the below chart shows, You’ve Been Framed has continued to value camcorder calamities at £250 for the last 22 years. But in real terms, a clip of a parent dropping their child’s birthday cake in front of shocked relatives should be worth more in 2012 than it was in 1990. At least 86% more, in fact.

Infographic showing You've Been Framed's continued resistance to inflationary pressures.With commodities and transport costs rising faster than inflation, we as a country should consider it a tragedy that people aren’t getting as much as they should for filming footage of failed attempts at traversing brooks and streams. And with so many clips coming from the US now, there’s a possibility that the outsourcing of video disasters could be holding the value artificially low.

Hang on, why the hell are we protesting about the bankers when this is going on? OCCUPY ITV!

Review: A truly life-affirming British institution.
8/10

You’ve Been Framed! official website
Very funny You’ve Been Framed parody account on Twitter.

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