Since I’m still getting the hang of WordPress, and have no desire to add to my stress levels, I’m going to stick to writing about something I actually like. So today I shall be looking at Bertha, who is a lovely machine.
Running for 13 episodes in the mid 80s, Bertha also has one of the most passionate and heartfelt theme tunes ever written. The man who sings it is genuinely in love with Bertha, the massive weirdo. He summons up a level of enthusiasm normally reserved for singing about ladies who are maniacs on the floor.
It’s also worth pointing out that Bertha was the inspiration behind How It’s Made. I think.
Bertha is a show about a 3D printer that lives in a factory with a load of workshy, overpaid layabouts. Since the factory workers have a 3D printer, this somehow means they don’t have to do any work at all, yet they remain on the payroll for some reason. Lets have a look at the idle fops:
I guess I can cut Roy some slack, as he’s the 15 year old work experience kid and general dogsbody, therefore the others make him do all the running around, which Bertha can’t do on account of not having any legs. Appears to be pissed out of his tree judging by his eyes. I do not blame him.
Ostensibly a computer programmer, Ted is nothing of the sort. He just types “go” or “lol” or something into Bertha’s keypad, then sits back while she makes the wrong thing in the wrong size because he was too busy being on Facebook. Also pissed. Possibly shares his booze with Roy.
Nell and Flo
The woman ones. One of them “packs”, the other one “stacks”, and I’m fucked if I can remember who does what. They also have a robot that packs and stacks for them, meaning they can sit around and make words come out of their fat lazy carcasses. And they drink tea. Actually no, they drink gin judging by the state of them. In fact, everyone in this factory drinks gin. They get free gin instead of getting paid.
Forklift driver and token ethnic minority. I’m not sure which country Panjit’s supposed to be from. I would have a stab at India, but thanks to Roy Kinnear doing the voice his accent is more Welsh than Indian, and that’s when he remembers to have an accent.
I hate Mr Duncan. Out of all the nothing that gets done in the factory, Mr Duncan does the most nothing of all. He is the foreman, otherwise known as the supervisor, otherwise known as the man who stands there tutting to make it look like he’s doing something. Having a clipboard is no excuse. Also, he hides:
I also hate Mr Duncan because he’s constantly looking for ways to make life worse for his worker drones. He does things like banning tea breaks and disapproving if anyone ever figures out a slightly fun way of getting their work done. Mr Duncan won’t be happy until all the workers are dead. DEAD.
Jarvis Cocker and Tracy
I can’t remember Jarvis Cocker’s name, but he and Tracy work upstairs in the design office, meaning they have degrees and don’t want to associate with the riff raff downstairs. They use set squares. Tracy is the more talented of the two, because she designed TOM, who I’ll get to in a minute. Tracy is that woman with the UNIX book out of Wayne’s World 2.
Mr Willmake and Miss McClackerty
Nominative determinism at work right there. The top bollocks boss and his typist respectively. It took me a while to get the McClackerty thing, mostly because I wasn’t paying attention until around episode 5. Also, I know she’s stood on the table with her fanny out, but that’s not normally what she does.
There’s a tea lady, but she’s boring and I can’t remember her name. Mrs T?
TOM (Talk Operated Machine)
Tom is my absolute favourite character in this show. Bertha does not count as a character, because she is an inanimate 3D printer. Tom is a robot designed to ‘help’ around the factory (do everyone’s work for them). What Tom actually does is fuck things up then cheer. I love him.
The video below is one of many classic Tom moments. Others include shutting a garage door in Panjit’s face then cheering, attempting to have sex with a vending machine, and losing his shit and vibrating for half an hour because he got a magnet stuck to him.
A typical day in the Bertha factory involves making around 9 items, of which precisely 3 are any good. The rest are the wrong size, or are missing a piece, or they explode. The main plot usually revolves around trying to rectify this oversight. This can’t happen until everyone in the factory has stopped work for about an hour.
Personally, Bertha looks like she runs on steam and Windows XP, and if the factory had any sense they’d get rid of her. Harsh but true. However, it doesn’t really matter since the factory only ever has one order at a time, and that’s for something ridiculous like 14 inflatable bears. I don’t know how any of them get paid.
If you’ve never seen Bertha, watch it before you next go to work. I guarantee you’ll spend the next working day sat around doing nothing, claiming that “It’s ok, I sent Tom to do it.” Even if you work in air traffic control, or you’re the Prime Minister. The moral of the show is ‘Why do it yourself when you can make someone else do it, and sit around drinking gin?’ That’s an admirable lesson.