The Andrew Show might be confused with The Andrew Marr Show. But they are different. In one, an avuncular Scot interviews Alistair Darling about public service spending reviews. In the other, a child from the Ku Klux Klan gives tips on hating ethnicities. Which is which?
Well, The Andrew Show features the presenting talents of ten-year-old Andrew Pendergraft. Andrew's mother, Rachel Pendergraft, is the daughter of Thomas Robb, the Klan's "national director" – the term "grand wizard" having gone to the wall in one of those flow chart-heavy 90s rebrandings, a bit like when BP became Beyond Petroleum, or The Royal Mail turned into Consignia. Rachel and her family have taken it upon themselves to be the online media hub of the Klan by establishing their own internet TV brand. The KKK's kids TV channel (KKKKTV?) is mainly a star vehicle in which young Andrew gets to range over his and every child's favourite subjects: GI Joe, horses, the perils of race mixing and so on. This he does at a desk, while some sort of primitive blue-screen beams up fuzzy 1995 screensaver images behind him – most prominently one of a snow scene rendered in such grainy, naff techno-chintz that you keep waiting for a pop-up to tell you you've won a load of free smileys.
His musings often take the form of an analogy of a film he's recently seen. GI Joe, for instance, contained, in Andrew's words, "a black woman kissing a white man". He reasons that this is bad because "soon there will be no more whites". Cookery takes his interest too. He reports on doing some cake-frosting, before delivering the payoff: "And when you put different colours in the frosting, it can never go back to the original colour. Which is how it is when you race-mix, pretty much... Have you heard of the show Sixteen? It has race-mixing... one of them's black, one of them's Mexican, one of them's white.” Blah blah blah, whinge, moan. Even among a class of people as broadly uninteresting as children, Andrew sets himself apart by his flaccid dullness. Worse, he clearly sets himself up as some sort of authority on race-mixing, but in actuality never gets past the basics. What do you do when a white Puerto Rican telephones your home mistakenly? Or a Canadian plumber with dreadlocks offers you a good price on the upgrading of your boiler? These are real-world complexities we all must face, which don't fit into Andrew's simplistic take on the subject.
In one webisode, Andrew is joined by his friend Alex, a ginger who has clearly never been exposed to an MIA video. Alex is a more energetic, more pleasantly telegenic little tyke. Alex: "It would be really sad if there were no more white kids left in 100 years." Andrew: "So don't race-mix. Be white and proud." I believe Ant and Dec had a similar sign-off on the last edition of Saturday Night Takeaway. This is always followed by some closing music that has much the same slap-bass funk pop as the Seinfeld signature. Indeed, close your eyes, and you might imagine that Andrew's hate-y musings are simply Jerry's end-of-show monologue about dry cleaning. "What is it about race-mixing... I just don't get it... in New York... and what's up with that special liquid dry cleaners use? Ba-ba-da-bip-bang-bong!"
Sometimes, Andrew's generally mercifully brief bulletins are extended beyond all reason when he goes on excursions. He ends up at a church, where he meets a bearded fat man who bores him rigid by talking about the church. "Are all kinds of people allowed here?" Andrew asks. No, he learns. This is a celebration-of-whiteness sorta church. "We don't hate anyone. We invite all our white brothers and sisters to come and join us here." It's up to Andrew to provide the final payoff, turning to the camera in the best Walter Kronkite fashion: "This place is a nice place in Indiana for white people to come." The same fat bearded Aryan turns up a couple of episodes later. This time, it's horses he wants to drone on endlessly about. Message to producers: Kevin Smith lookalikes are very 2003.
No one would dare suggest that the Klan are in any way backwards, but there's a notice beneath all these videos which tells you how to use the internet: "To watch the show, click on the arrow above and wait for program to begin. As the show plays through, it may stop occasionally as the internet catches up with it. Remember, when you pause the show, you can always 'minus' this page and look at other pages while you give it a ten-minute head start."
But in the final equation, Andrew is just a snotty little tween. For those a little bit older, there's also a teen version, Youth Focus, with his sister Shelby Pendergraft "of the band Heritage Connection". Shelby also has blue-screen magic going on – only, in keeping with the more cerebral tone, she's had a bunch of books blue-screened behind her. Obviously, these have had to be digitally added because the only books in the Pendergraft household are The Bible and Gun Owner's Digest 1995.
Shelby focuses her ire on magazine articles she doesn't like. She's at that sensitive age, coming across as sincerely wounded by evidence from the outside world that goes against her belief structure. As this unfortunately includes pretty much everything that has happened since 1950, she's like a man with feet of balloons walking through a world made of pins. By the time she reads from "Wigger Please" – a magazine article about how "black English" is being taught in high schools – she seems to be actually choking back big salty tears of outrage. "What they should be doing," she blubs, "is teaching the blacks how to communicate properly."
Occasionally, her mum is on hand with her reflective moral guidance. They discuss a news story about local outrage at the cancellation of a high school production of multi-racial AIDS-ical Rent.
Mum: "So let me ask you a question. Do most people you know care when a play gets cancelled?"
Mum: "You see, that's how journalism can lie to you. There were probably a lot of people who just didn't care. And a lot who were actually happy when it closed."
Mum then goes on to instruct her daughters that gays don't particularly mind being called names. "The homosexuals at our high school, they were sexual deviants, but no one made a big deal about not hanging out with them." It must be great to have a cool mum who is as cool as she is. My mum would never tell me what they called the homosexuals at her high school – she just kept talking about how AIDS came from men having sex with monkeys.