QI Watchdown: B1: Blue

One series down. Now we head into the second series, the B series, where there’ll be less of the freshman jitters and more of the show’s signature tone.

Tonight’s episode, Blue, is the first with a definitive theme. All of the questions will concern colors of some sort. Also, the nice part about being one series in is that the episode with four regulars are the ones you look forward to. Tonight’s features Bill Bailey, Jo Brand and Sean Lock, all three are excellent on this program.

Best part about this being a year later is Jo’s hair dye has worn off.

In terms of buzzer noises, Bill’s is funny because of how much it annoys him. Jo’s is fairly silly. I think Alan’s in the best, as it’s an orgasming woman. His reaction is pretty great, too. He says it’s a genuine recording.

Not even two minutes in and Jo gives us the first klaxon of Series B.

Stephen trying to explain to Alan how important the greeks are cracked me up. Especially the line “without the greeks we wouldn’t have television, and without television, you are *nothing*, I know that better than anybody…”

Alan is already being very argumentative and stubborn, which is to say, he’s being himself.

I think Jo’s buzzer is funniest in times when she interrupts Stephen mid-sentence with the “OHHH-OHHHH” singing. She did this to break up Stephen’s tangent about the ancient greeks, saying “I’m losing the will to live over here…”

Bill had a genius moment, telling Alan to press his buzzer, and saying “that’s an excerpt from a bronze movie right there…” Even funnier is the fact that right after that joke, Bill grabs a pipe from out of ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE, and pretends to smoke it.

I love how out of nowhere, 3/4ths of the panel started singing. Reminds me of, yet again, an episode of Space Cadets, featuring Bill Bailey, Craig Charles and Claudia Christian all breaking out into Ultravox’ ‘Vienna’ in the middle of a round.

Stephen: “What do you know about indigo?”
Sean: “It’s the color of, erm…”
Bill: “Silence.”
THAT made me laugh harder than I should have.

Even funnier, when Alan says indigo is the color of audacity, and says it in a voice that requires the assistance of his own pipe, which he grabs from under his desk.

Stephen: Why take the piss out of Newcastle?
Sean: They’re got no toilets…and they’re so hard, they can hold it in until they go on holiday.
Again, nothing but wordplay. Fascinating.

I love the way that any conversation can lead anywhere. Alan, in a question about piss, as ‘has anyone ever weed into their own mouth?’

What strikes me as odd is that every time Jo gets a klaxon, she almost relishes in it. On her second, she raised her arms and did a Dufresne-esque rejoice. Like, she knows these are bad, right?

Sean and Stephen’s ‘mandibles’ joke made me giggle a bit, in how informal it ended up.

Sean had another nice point about the beetle coloring- “they didn’t just start crushing animals, and slowly worked their way down to beetles, right?” Even funnier is when, in his demonstration of crushing squirrels, he sets off his buzzer.

Alan did indeed make me laugh with his ‘pink polenta’ delivery. Even funnier was Stephen saying “you think they discovered this after the Spanish colonization of Mexico, now don’t you…” The ‘pink polenta’ might end up being Alan’s answer to the gripples.

Jo gets her third wrong answer of her quiet night. Stephen’s response is perfect- “look, no one is forcing you to play this game, if you want to go sit in the corner…”

Stephen: “What do rich people have in common with camels”
Bill: “The ability to sustain large amounts of water in their humps.”
I just love bill. He just goes for the ridiculous answer every time.

Even funnier is Jo answering “THEY’RE FUCKING MISERABLE ALL THE TIME!”

Bill’s reaction to the Hercules beetle got me. Not just an “OH”. A full fledged “OHHHHHH!!!” Horrified, even. This may not be the finest episode, but it certainly has its moments.

Stephen’s stand-up for GI made me laugh hard. “Finally tonight, we plunge into the land that knowledge forgot…Daviesland, the place we call General Ignorance.” IMMEDIATELY, they cut to Alan snacking on Smarties. Perfect editing, there.

The first question, ‘what rhymes with orange’, has an obvious answer, nothing, so I’m waiting for Alan to say it. He buzzes in, and stares at Stephen for a good five seconds, in desperation. He finally goes ‘nothing’ in a quiet voice, and indeed gets Klaxoned.

The ‘gorringe’ running gag that Sean and Bill start delves into incoherency, but Alan manages to save it by going “I say, I really fancy this pink polenta!”

Alan managed to crack me up one more time. When Stephen monologues about Mars, Alan whines “then why are we going there? What’s the fucking point?”, basically just to get a reaction out of Stephen. Immediately afterward, he sneers towards the audience.

Stephen: ‘What prevented King Henry VII from marrying Lord Penbrook?”
Jo (with a bored yet amused expression): “Lady Penbrook?”

What I love about this episode is how in tune the panel is. Everybody is laughing at each other’s jokes, and Sean, like he did last episode, is connecting everyone and easing the dynamic, which he hasn’t gotten enough credit for.

Stephen: “Name a green mammal.”
Alan: Frog.
Stephen (infuriated): “Now name a green MAMMAL!”

Okay, my biggest laugh of the episode occurred when both Bill and Alan, at the same time, tried to mime a man with a baguette up his ass. Alan’s expression was the kicker. Sean pushed it over the edge by saying the man was giving a thumbs up.

Jo looks shocked that she’s had -20 this show.

Final Thoughts: This show took a little while to find its footing, but once it did it rolled like no other show has. The four panelists were on fire tonight, especially Sean, who had his best outing of his QI career tonight. Bill, Alan and Jo also had great lines.

MVP: Sean
Best Guest: Sean
Show Winner: Sean
Best QI Fact: Piss in Newcastle.


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