Thursday, 2 April 2009

The Trillion Dollar Man.

A quickfire sketch of Gordon Brown from yesterday's G20 press conference

Into the spotlight in the Excel Centre, a draughty aircraft hanger to which they had dragged the wreckage of the spaceship Global Economy, strode The Trillion Dollar Man.

Inflation, oil shocks and Raygun-omics have meant huge adjustments have had to be made since Lee Majors played the title role in the 1970s. Heck, even the name has had to be revised upwards from Six Million Dollar Man to One Thousand Billion Dollar Man.

But the new actor had taken the part of “a man barely alive” and said: “Gentlemen, we can rebuild him”. Thanks to a unprecedented fiscal stimulus he looked genuinely “better, stronger, faster” . Well, better than Gordon Brown looked last week when he was 12 points behind in the polls.

The bionic fist (it cost $250 billion, a whole arm was beyond international agreement) looked as if it could do dozens of credit crunches to improve trade figures.

A pair of bionic legs ($500 billion and made in Japan and the EU) can support ailing economies. The best bit was the SDR (Special Drawing Rights) technology, which no one really understands, but seems to give more life to the new bionic man.

Unfortunately the special effects are the same as the old TV show. The actor runs at normal speed on a treadmill supplied by Barack Obama and the rest of the world economy is slowed down to make it look as if he is covering historic distances with ease. The electronic grinding sound effects (Thanks Mr Sarkozy) add to the tension and the whole thing is meant to instill confidence in voters and in markets.

It seemed to work, the graphs in the life support system in the FTSE, Nasquac and Dax, bleeped a healthy green colour after the show was broadcast.

This was a pilot episode - another one is being shot in New York later this year - so the plot was convoluted and the dialogue is still dire. Who really says “macro-prudential risks” and “expansionary policies” in real life? There was, we understand, a huge fight over the final draft of the script with everyone now claiming the credit. If it’s a success the show will be sub-titled in French and maybe even dubbed into German.

There could even be product tie-ins and the Chinese have promised to pay for them. There is talk of launching a Bionic Man toy in the UK election market this summer but obviously before making a final decision the producers will be be watching the ratings of this Trillion Dollar Man remake.

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