QI Watchdown: A12 (Advent)

I spent last week on Spring Break, so I didn’t get to watch any QI. Thankfully, I have less, and therefore more, time, and I’ll spent today capping off the last episode of Series A. This one is the first Christmas episode, and features the first appearance of a beloved recurring guest, and features two guests that a lot of people are split about.

Good to finally see Phill Jupitus on the program. I was wondering when he’d show up. The man is almost as synonymous with QI as Stephen and Alan are, and he’s going to be a major figure in the later series’. Thankfully, he joins us tonight, wearing an earring, and already glaring at Stephen.

John Sessions, the famous git, has returned, which is nice, because at least he spaced himself out this time, unlike on Whose Line. I liked John the first time he was on, but I’ve heard a rumor that he’s very difficult behind the scenes, which makes sense, because when is he not? Still, I’ll try to keep an open mind with him today.

Sean Lock is back. I feel like he’s usually a lower-key member of the panel, but I barely remember anything from his last episode.

Buzzers are fairly straightforward Christmas noises, but John at least is amused when he presses his. Alan’s joke is that his buzzer represents Christmas traffic.

Not even the first Phill joke and I’m laughing, assuming the gripple is the type of device that grips one’s nipples.

Alan has a nice joke here, with “The Great Fence of China! It’s to keep people off of the great wall!”

Stephen introduces the first episode-long task, which is to draw a Christmas tree by the end of the show. This will be a lot more prominent as the season goes on. This also is an opportunity for Sean to go “I actually missed the question, because I was busy sniffing the pens.”

Alan, once again, does his best to prove what he knows is right. In response to Stephen asking what the second animal to be domesticated was, Alan yells “CAT!”. when told it’s incorrect, he goes “PROVE IT!”

Stephen literally flinging the answer to Alan reminded me of when Clive Anderson would basically give Greg the correct quirk in a game of Party Quirks, and he’d just read it off of the card.

Stephen: “I’ll give someone another two points if they can give me another common name for a reindeer.”
John: “A snow horse!”
Okay, John may be insufferable at times, but he can be funny.

Alan is having a very inspired episode. As Stephen is talking about how hunter-gatherers lured caribou away, Alan basically does a reenactment to the cameras, with facial expressions and everything. Even funnier is when Stephen stops reading the cards to see exactly what Alan is doing.

Sean has another nice crack when speaking of castrating reindeers: “Also, you’d see the silhouette of their bollocks as they went across the moon.” From this, Sean and Alan start a nice conversation about reindeer testicles, which I thought you’d only find along the entrance of a Target.

Phill hasn’t said much this episode, but exceeds in the art of bringing back a gag in calling the reindeer’s nutsack ‘a bag of gripples’

What I’ve noticed about Phill is that he has this great demeanor, he looks kind of discomforted and somber, but when he makes a joke his face barely shows it- it’s easier for him to attack, I guess, with that face.

I think there’s a great highlight when Phill makes a joke about York townsmen harmonizing with the bees, a ridiculous joke at that, and Stephen goes “Do you know…you’re just about right?” Phil’s shock at that is even funnier.

John: “Honey, in poetry, is mostly associated with semen.”
Stephen (after a long pause): “Because they take it onto their boats, when they’re sailing, don’t they?”
Great moments in wordplay.

You know…I didn’t really expect John Sessions of all people to use the phrase “lover of the lavender passageway” in conversation. He never ceases to amuse me. Phill, of course, grabs the joke and pushes it further, with “…which led to the euphemism, ‘a slinging of the mint pie up the lavender passageway’. Phill, I think, specializes in supplementing jokes, and making them funnier.

All four of the guys making fun of the monsignor with his hand upraised cracked me up. I was waiting for someone, who turned out to be Sean, to bring back the Lavender Passageway gag.

“Now what did this German village provide the whole world with for more than a hundred consecutive Christmases?”
Sean: “War criminals.”
That’s all it takes. Quick, simple, funny.

Even funnier is the face that Sean continues the ‘rotisserie war criminal’ gag until Stephen has to compose himself.

I do love the fact that Sean, Phill and Alan are really getting along and laughing with each other. Poor John seems like the odd man out here.

John at least has a nice line with “D’you think Hitler’s Christmas tree only had one ball hanging from it?”

I love how Stephen knows that John’s ‘ratatouille’ guess is a Blackadder reference. I love how devoted Stephen is to one silly little role he played, even if it is a part of one of the most beloved English comedy shows.

John Sessions’ Gielgud story is a funny one, albeit a chance to gain points. I did in fact laugh, though.

I think we have our very first Classic QI Moment, with Stephen pulling a fast one on all four contestants by giving an Odd One Out round with the answer being ‘none of them’. Phill takes this opportunity to premiere his World Famous Stephen Fry impression, by going “NONE OF THEM! BAAAAAHHHH! BAAAAAHHHH!” This not only makes this the second Blackadder reference of the night, but the first time that Phill will openly argue with Stephen. And I adore every second. It’s even funnier when Stephen emits a genuine General Melchett noise (“I don’t sound like that. BAAAHHH!”) afterward.

Twenty-Three minutes into the episode, and Alan gives us our very first Klaxon. I wouldn’t blame him though

I do enjoy how Stephen will screw with John’s ultra-specific answers, this time by saying “Again, you’re just chiming with the thought that fills the room, but no.”

Phill, once again, has the best joke of the round, in insinuating that A Visit From St. Nicholas was written while stoned. “And he’s got a big sack…of gripples!” Kudos for bringing back a gag from the top of the show!

Phill’s Christmas Tree is genius: It’s small, but, according to Phill, “it’s a very long way away.”

Of course Stephen wins. He almost fell into the Gyles Brandreth category of knowing too much stuff to be good at this show.

Final Thoughts:

Phill had a whirlwind debut, coming up with some of the best jokes, and looking as though he’s having a ball. Sean and Alan were equally loose and on their feet. John was funny, but not as likable as he was in his debut. Very nice episode from all four.

MVP: Phill
Best Guest: Phill
Show Winner: John
Gyles Brandreth Award for Knowing Too Goddamn Much: John Sessions
Best QI Fact: The Gripples, because it lasted the whole show.

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