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In The Million Pound Cube (Mon-Fri, Virgin Media One), ordinary members of the UK audience are forced to obey the dictates of a beloved and rich geometric shape as they stand inside.

Elderly boy genius Philip Schofield lurks next to the Cube, his hair is now white from the things he has seen both in the plexiglass box and, I guess, in light entertainment in general.

In This Morning alongside Holly Willoughby, Schofield has some authority. But he’s not in charge here and if the heartwarming Willoughby is present then she has sort of transformed into a huge, demanding plexiglass cube. Look, I don’t know her. Maybe that’s something she can do.

In this context, Schofield is Flavor Flav to the Cube’s Chuck D and he spends the program making the Cube bigger and responding to his whims while repeatedly reminding contestants and the audience at home how little control he has. on the Cube.

It’s amazing how mundane chores can be brought to life with a time limit and dramatic music. We’re all cubists now

“Enter the cube! He said grimly, at the start of Tuesday’s episode. And before long, half of a pair of twins are wearing masks with no eye holes and not following instructions in the giant clear plastic box as Schofield grimaces in horror. We all had this dream. They don’t make money. Schofield shakes his head sadly. “This is the Cube for you. it will hang [prizes] in front of you and then suddenly, when it seems like it’s generous, he’s going to rip it all off.

He knows the Cube all too well. As the twins are dragged by the guards (I’m just assuming this is how it works, I don’t really see it), more and more competitors are being pushed forward. They are childhood friends Joe and Robert. Schofield asks what they’re doing with the Cube now that they’re in his presence. They are suitably impressed. Robert, in particular, has long loved the Cube.

“Do you think you have what it takes, Joe and Robert, to beat the Cube?” Schofield asks sadly.

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think I could beat the Cube,” Joe said.

“Wash your mouth with soap, Joe!” I scream from my couch. “Talk like that in front of the Cube.

The tests the Cube set for Robert and Joe are the type of unnecessarily abstract Sisyphean tasks introduced by Henry Ford that now dominate capitalism in its late, decadent, and final stages. Anyone who works for a large corporation is asked to do weird and unnecessary bullshit all the time. I have a friend who works for a multinational tech company and when he explains his work to me he might as well say, “I make seemingly random puzzles for a large plexiglass cube in need while an infant.” elderly white-haired man makes faces nearby.

“What are the points for this in UCD?” Seems to be the only reasonable answer, and if I know the Irish Times readership, many of you already call the grind schools.

And so Joe and Robert have to quickly remove the white plastic sleeves from a row of cylinders. And they have to pick up and place 50 red balls that have fallen on the floor from a plastic container. And they have to throw another ball through an opening the size of a letterbox. While playing exciting music. It’s amazing how mundane chores can be brought to life with a time limit and dramatic music. We are all Cubists now.

Every time Joe and Robert fail, they lose a “life”. Every time they succeed, they win a cash prize because the Cube is generous in its own way.

But it is stressful. Soon Joe and Robert’s youthful enthusiasm was replaced by stress and hopelessness. As they attempt their last task, tossing cards from a table to the floor very quickly (which a baby could do, but with money on the line), they remember the carefree life they had. formerly, 10 minutes ago.

“Life was good,” says Joe.

“Life was amazing,” says Robert

“That’s what the Cube does every time,” said Schofield, shaking his head and trying not to cry.

Joe and Robert are relatively lucky. The Cube kindly watch their efforts and their pen at unnecessary work and they leave Schofield’s presence with £ 100,000 in cash which they plan to use for community projects before Britain finally collapses in a barter system. The credits roll as Schofield cries. Produced by Le Cube. Directed by Le Cube. Gaffer: The Cube. Best Boy: The Cube.

Serene pleasures: Autumnwatch presenters Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Iolo Williams, Gillian Burke. Photograph: BBC / Jo Charlesworth

Outside . . . it still exists

On BBC1, unlike this brave new cuboid world, a hairy animal rolls around in its own filth while scratching its stomach. Ah, it’s you!

Okay, it’s actually a badger or a ‘ground panda’ depending on which part of Ireland you’re from (all black and white animals are related and if I was a 19th century naturalist the rich men would give me money to write about it). Autumnwatch (Tuesday-Friday, BBC2) is back to remind us of the glory of nature or more specifically, for many of us, that the ‘outdoors’ exists. I look through a hole in my curtain. “Oh yes!”

I love Autumnwatch. Argumentative stag antlers. Red squirrels crouch in nesting boxes because they’re crazy bastards. Michaela Strachan does a dance. A reintroduced pine marten eats pastry creams. Gillian Burke wanders through bird-infested wetlands where once beautiful coal mines were located. Huge congregations of red knot gather at the edge of a lake, none of them wearing face masks because they don’t believe in the virus. Some ingenious seals make smaller seals out of fluff (I’m a little vague on seal biology).

A fox is filmed opening milk bottles with its teeth to steal milk. A rabbit commits credit card fraud. A chaffinch steals a car (the last two might not be true). Some seals are fighting with each other. Or, more precisely: “The bulls come to the island to compete for the right to mate with the females. Yeah, I know the deal. I grew up in a small town.

Autumnwatch is as joyful and uplifting an experience as ever, with beautifully filmed views, educational facts, and endearing nature enthusiasts. Who needs big cash prizes when all this nature is to be discovered? Oh my God, I better quit now. I think the Cube heard me.

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