Last night I took down 5 QI episodes in a row. I dunno how many I’ll do tonight, but if I’m on the same pace, I’ll be on Series B very, very shortly. This episode’s a nice one, as it’s the first appearance of Rob Brydon, whose sheer existence makes me laugh (“come come, Mr. Bond…”).
Let’s dive right in:
Alan, I think, personifies the ‘lovable idiot’ trope in this serious, partially because that’s how he is as a person.
Happy to see Rob, as I’ve seen The Trip, and I’m a big fan of his Michael Caine impression (though Coogan did his a bit better). I’ve yet to witness Rob on a panel show, so this will be rather interesting.
Rich looks just as craggy and mopey as he did last time he was on the show, although he’s wearing a less flamboyant jacket.
Gyles Brandreth…can’t say I’ve heard of him, but I know that he’s a big deal. I remember a Whose Line Scene from the Hat, with Jim Sweeney and Tony Slattery, involving the Queen Bee searching for a mate. Tony came on and said ‘I don’t think you’ll want me, I’m Gyles Brandreth’. So, if he’s good enough to wind up as a Whose Line obscure reference, alongside Jeremy Beadle, Lord Lucan and Anne Diamond (and those three were just from Tony), he’s gonna be a treat tonight.
This one’s obviously been filmed after a few episodes have gone by, as Stephen announces that Alan’s been so…obvious in his answers that he’s part of the intro-demonstration.
As for tonight’s buzzers, everyone seems moderately alarmed by theirs tonight, as Gyles is confused by his ‘party horn’ sound. Rob’s is majestic trumpet music, which cracked me up, especially when he started nodding, in a ‘damn right’ kind of way. Alan’s buzzer is just the ‘HOPELESS’ deduction that Stephen addressed earlier, and yeah, still makes me laugh.
“Minus ten to Alan already before we’ve even begun…” Yeah, this is gonna be a fun one.
So…I’ve only now just heard Gyles begin to speak…and wow. Either this guy is the most British person I’ve ever heard, or simply the most pretentious.
Rob buzzes in, really just to permeate the conversation, and his buzzer noise amuses not only me BUT the audience.
Stephen: “Do you have a question, Rob?”
Rob: “No, I just like the tune.”
Already, the array of accents is fascinating. You have Rob’s Northern/Welsh accent, Alan’s general British accent, the kind people do impressions of, Rich’s asshole American accent, and Gyles’ pompous prince from a Disney movie set in Medieval times accent.
I’ve just figured out who Gyles sounds like. He sounds like either Hank Azaria in Night of the Museum 2, or a bad Boris Karloff impression. Which means, on the same panel, we potentially have two Hank Azaria characters (Rich is basically Moe the bartender).
I love how Stephen awards Gyles ten points…simply for being Gyles Brandreth. All the while, Alan is making weird faces and…being Alan Davies.
Gyles and Stephen gave Rich a bit of crap for not knowing that the London Eye was behind them, and not a Ferris Wheel. He’s American. He doesn’t know those things about British architecture!
I still think the best accent of the episode is Rob’s, because not only does the Welsh accent make everything he’s saying more interesting, but it factors into his delivery. Not since Frankie Boyle have I encountered someone patenting how they tell jokes upon their nationality.
Gyles gives the obvious answer (MR2= Merde), despite the fact that Alan probably wouldn’t have known french. Good thing it turns out to be correct.
Wow. If only Stephen would have known that the episode that started with a good minute and a half of ‘Alan always guesses the obvious answer’ jokes would result in Alan not giving an obvious answer until 8 minutes in.
Okay, best non-quote of the episode happens when Gyles starts talking about the Guinness fellow. Alan and Rob turn to each other, realizing that Gyles is gonna go on another large tangent, and just sit back, cross their arms and smile.
The good news is that Gyles sets up Stephen for one of the best quotes of the evening:
Gyles: “I learnt something about how to handle somebody if they’re not being very interesting.”
Stephen: “Oh, do tell me! Do tell me!”
Rich takes on the Alan trope of trying to say interesting things just to get points, i.e. “You know, Venus is made entirely of felt. I would like three points please.”
Let it be written down in the history books that the very first time Rob Brydon broke into an impression during QI was this episode, and said impression was one of Sir Alec Guinness. I do love the fact that his James Dean impression sounds more like Marty McFly, or ‘Stuart Little’ according to Alan.
Wonderful transition: After Rob is finished telling his Alec Guinness story, Rich yells out, in an attempt to garner points, “RADISH IS A MEAT!”
Second Amazing Quote of the Episode:
Stephen: “How do the Ancient Greeks suggest otters kill crocodiles?”
Rob: “Softly, with their songs.”
The second that Stephen began describing the punishment by radishing, you could immediately see Rich perk up- it’s as if he knew that gag was coming. The next few seconds you can see him waiting, impatiently, for Stephen to finish, to go ‘you know, a radish is a meat…”
Christ, is there anything that Gyles does NOT know? This is pretty ridiculous.
You know this is a great episode when GI comes around and you’ve already written a book.
Alan gets around a potential OWA by asking “is it…is it actually not a hundred?” His astonished, “do you see what I’ve done there?” made me chuckle.
Rich’s persistence on claws, even as Gyles was readying the correct answer, made me laugh. He pressed the buzzer three or four more times afterward. The payoff of this joke, which I’m not exactly sure that Rich knew of when he started it, was worth it: one more buzz after Stephen’s explained the answer, and Rich goes “so you’re saying there’s no centi-claws? (Santa Claus)”
I didn’t think Gyles would get one wrong, especially the ‘nothing rhymes with purple’ one, which reminds me of the chilver one from last episode.
Alan’s insistence on going through all of the letters of the alphabet and seeing what rhymes with purple made me laugh, especially Stephen’s response of “do you know what you’re doing on National Television?”
Of course Gyles wins. He knows everything.
Alan didn’t screw up that many times tonight, in fact only once. He’s still the representation of the lovable idiot, and he’s still a great regular.
Rob had a terrific debut showing, and I felt like he was having a lot of fun with it, especially given his reaction to his buzzer noise.
Rich had an even funnier night, if possible, than the last episode he was in, cracking more jokes and holding insistence on a lot of gags. He’s slowly becoming one of the more reliable recurring panelists.
And Gyles…well, Gyles was a very interesting addition to the panel, and he definitely seemed to be having a wonderful time. However, I am very happy that I don’t have to listen to him every episode, or else I’d want to stop watching. I’m glad he doesn’t come back for another few seasons. Better in smaller increments.
Best Guest: Rich
Show Winner: Gyles
Funniest QI Fact: Radishes up the anal cavern.