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Sam(e) but different

BIZARRO! The Loop, Trouble, 5pm and 9pm

You know that programme, Reaper on E4? The one that's likeable enough, even if it does utilize exactly the same plot every week and is probably most notable to people from the 1990s for co-starring Leland Palmer as Satan? (Ironically, he's not half as terrifying as the Prince of Darkness as he was when merely someone's mental dad in Twin Peaks).

Well, imagine an alternate telly universe in which the main lad from Reaper is in a different, but still quite good show! Same actor, same affable manner, same semi-unrequited love for nice lady friend. Except in this show he's not called Sam Oliver, he's called Sam Sullivan. Instead of working in an American version of B&Q, this other telly Sam got himself a smart job working for an airline right after graduating and now makes loads of money.

But lowculture isn’t demanding that you perform some fiddly televisual thought-experiment, for this other show does of course exist! It's called The Loop (no, us neither) and it's on Trouble pretty much constantly, but your best bet for double-bill catch-up fun is at the weekend (there are more double bills at the same times on Sunday). It's edited incredibly quickly, in a way that right now we like, but may find becomes irritating after a fashion. The best thing about it is the rapid fire one-liners, many of them courtesy of Sam's over-qualified assistant Darcy and their bosses, who include a sexually-inappropriate Mimi Rodgers. While he's inexplicably successful in the workplace, Sam still lives with his idiot studenty room mates, who ensure he gets into hot tub japes aplenty.

Like many other American shows that are only "quite good" it was cancelled after two seasons, but the first season has only started recently on Trouble, so there’s plenty to enjoy before it starts to get a bit rubbish and it's rather a nice filler to watch in the hour before Mad Men starts on Sunday nights (but more of that tomorrow!).

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According to Marxist theory, cultural forms such as opera, classical music and the literary works of Shakespeare all fall under the heading of high culture. Low culture refers to a wide variety of cultural themes that are characterised by their consumption by the masses. We might not be Marxists, but we do know we loved Footballers Wives. If you do too, you'll know what this is all about.

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