QI Watchdown: F5 (France)

OOOOOOOOOH…THIS IS ONE I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR FOR SO LONG!!!!!

Not only is this the first Phill episode of the season, and not only is this the first Jo episode of the season, but this is the first of two QI appearances by someone who I’d watch on just about anything. In addition to that, it’s a special France-themed episode, which is evident already by the main theme music switched to a french accordion.

(I don’t know any french, so this episode is gonna be difficult for me to understand, moreso than a Johnny Vegas episode.)

Phill still has no beard, but looks like he’s back to normal after a very off series E.

Just gonna say it. Hugh Dennis looks absolutely ridiculous. But I love the fact that he’s actually on QI. The guy’s never missed an episode of Mock the Week, and has come up with some of the show’s best running gags (Sepp Blatter as Step Ladder, The Dinosaur Impression, David Blunkett going to SpecSavers, Monsoon Poultry Hospital, the list goes on and on). Matter of fact, Hugh Dennis is most people’s sole reason to continue watching MTW without Frankie Boyle. I adore Hugh, as he’s like the Colin Mochrie of MTW, and I love the fact that he’s here.

Jo’s dyed her hair red for some reason. Oh well. Another series, another Jo Brand hair color.

Alan is introduced by Stephen as ‘Babar the Elephant’, which he’s at least amused by.

Phill’s buzzer is the French National anthem. Like usual with a National Anthem, he rises out of his chair over-dramatically, and amusingly. Hugh, who’s initially amused that Stephen calls him ‘Hugo’, has a buzzer of French pop-ish music (that I don’t know the name of), which does go on for longer than Hugh intended. Jo’s is Edith Piaf’s ‘Non je ne regrette Rien’, which she’s flattered by. Alan’s is ‘je t’aime’, which the audience loves.

Alan: ‘Can I take my onions off now? They’re slightly restricting mon tete.”
Stephen: “Of course you must…it’s ‘ma’ tete, it’s feminine. Minus 5.”

Alan is confused by the fact that ‘vagina’ is masculine, saying “so it’d be ‘mon vagina’?”
Hugh: “Sounds like a mountain somewhere, doesn’t it? We must climb Mon Vagina…”
Jo: ‘Many have. Many have fallen off.”

Stephen says, in French, that he’ll give bonus points for anyone who gives their answers in French.
Hugh (buzzing in): “Qui.”
Jo (buzzing in): “Non.”

Stephen: “Phill…como se va?”
Phill, who obviously doesn’t know any french, just squirms a bit, goes ‘rem’, and shrugs.
Stephen, who must be getting a kick out of this, goes “he must be fluent.”

This is classic. Stephen asks a bunch of questions to people in French. He asks Jo, “would you like to have sex with me?”, which she replies “Not with you”, or something (again, I don’t know any french). And then, the cherry on top, Stephen asks Alan, in French, to name an animal who can’t swallow anything larger than a grapefruit.” Alan, who has no idea what that means, and only recognizes ‘pomplemous’, turns to Phill and goes “what’s a pomple-moose?” Phill, who doesn’t know either, goes “it’s French porn.”
Stephen eventually has to feed it to him: ‘you see, Alan, for the last few years you have yearned for the answer to a question to be, and it never has been-”
Alan: “Blue whale.”
Stephen: “IS THE RIGHT ANSWER!”

Stephen shows a picture of some Frenchmen in a swamp, and asks what they’re looking for.
Phill: “Where they’ve hidden their cameras, I think.”

Jo guesses they’re looking for a handkerchief, because that’s one of the few french words she knows.
Stephen: “Oddly enough the first three letters are correct-”
Jo: “Handjob?”

Stephen eventually announces the Frenchmen are really shepherds. Phill, confused and in disbelief, yells ‘NO…THEY’RE NOT!!!”
Alan: “Were the sheep on stilts as well, then?”

Stephen: “And they carried on doing this right up until the 20th century-”
Alan: “When the pole finally got stuck right up their arse.”
Hugh: “It’s likely when someone invented the Landrover or something…”

Phill: “Not sure if any French shepherds are watching. GET DOGS!”
Alan: “Dogs on stilts!”
Phill: ‘oh, don’t get me started…tiny dogs, like CORGIS, on MASSIVE, EIGHTEEN FOOT STILTS!

The impression that both Alan and Phill do of Corgis on stilts made me laugh very hard.

Stephen asks another question (‘What did these people do in the winter?”), and all of the sudden someone in the audience starts laughing hysterical, cackling even, which puts off the other panelists. Stephen starts pointing at her, going “NURSE! NURSE! SHE’S OUT OF BED AGAIN!”

I find it rather odd that when Johnny Vegas says ‘fuck’, they allow it, but when Jo Brand says ‘fuck’, it gets bleeped. This wasn’t even a Children in Need episode or anything. There was no reason for this bleeping. And because I don’t have any other reasons otherwise, I’m citing sexism.

Hugh: “He’d find a lady who was wearing stilts, for a start.”
Alan: “Or, a lady in a first-floor window.”

Stephen says that not everyone originally spoke French in France. Hugh suggests that some people might have spoken sheep, and demonstrates, hilariously.

Hugh: “What’s the difference between a Belgian kiss and a French kiss? A Belgian kiss is like a French kiss, but with more phlegm.”

I love how, in the middle of that, they all start doing lines from war movies, like ‘The Wild Geese.’ Hugh does an impression of one of the guys from The Great Escape. “I can see, I can see perfectly…”

Stephen: “Jo, do you have any war movies to add?”
Jo: “Mary Poppins? ‘Get back to work, you slag.’ No, that must be from the porno version.”
Phill: “Mary Popshot. I think I’ve seen that one.”
Stephen: “Mary popped in.”
Alan: “Mary Popped in-and-out!”
Phill (in a perfect Dick Van Dyke cockney): “It’s so nice to fornicate with MAAARYYY!”

The entire panel keeps making fun of the picture of the one British-looking frenchmen with his two fingers up, and Phill keeps adding expletives to him. Jo brings up a cigarette ad, after Stephen says that the fingers are there because they may have photoshopped out a cigarette, and Phill adds into the ad “Let’s ask Sweary Bob!” and brings back the cursing character.

Ah. With all these curse words that Phill is riling off, now I know why there are so many bleeps instead of uncensored. Because it must have gone over the allotted number of swear words that the BBC allows. Dara O’Briain said on Mock the Week that they get antsy when you go over three uses of ‘Fuck’. That was definitely more than three right there.

Out of nowhere, Alan just starts swinging the onions over his head like a madman, possibly reaffirming how amazing this episode is.

On one question, Alan reaches under his desk and pulls out the elephant and yells “THERE’S AN ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM!”
Stephen has to go “How did you find that elephant? That’s from last series!”
And then, eventually, Stephen says to him “just for cheek, I’ll give you ten points.”

Alan takes his French hat and pulls it over his head like a wool cap. He eventually holds it up straight, concealing his hair, looking like a Grenadier Guard, and looking ridiculous.

Phill: “What they don’t like at the Hogarth exhibition (at the Louvre) is when you go print to print and go “THERE’S WALLY!”

Stephen: “Now, what comes from Paris, has short legs and a big head, wears and permanent grin and refuses to act its age?”
Alan: “President Sarkozy”
KLAXON
That made me laugh.

Phill has a great line after the fact about axelotls. He goes “they say ‘what do you do for a living’, I go “I’m an axelotl transformer. I walk around with a syringe full of iodine looking for axelotls. (mimes dropping a bit) SALAMANDER! SALAMANDER!”

Hugh, making a weird reference, even for 2008: ‘they’re like the cheerleader from Heroes. So if you’d inject her with iodine, she’d turn into a salamander.”
I mean, I didn’t even know they GOT Heroes in the UK.

Phill gets points for naming Andre the Giant, and the fact that he was in The Princess Bride (as Stephen says, “great movie”), but, as he says “trivia points, but not real points…”

As Stephen is talking about soldiers, Phill gets a brainstorm. He goes “Stephen…put your glasses back on…” Which he does. And then he goes “Now…people flicking over the channel may suddenly think that they’re seeing a Benny Hill retrospective.” As both are fat men wearing hats and glasses. Phill even goes, in a squeaky voice, ‘HELLO VIEWERS!!”

Stephen: “Why do racing cyclists shave their legs?”
Alan: “Well, I’m hesitant to say for aerodynamic purposes…”
KLAXON

Stephen: “Why do Spaniards speak with a lisp?”
Alan: “Because the king lisped and everyone copied him.”
And he holds his hands up waiting for the klaxon, but a second goes by, but he puts them down. However, THEN the klaxon actually goes off. It’s great timing.

Hugh tells the story about Arnold Schwarzenegger being denied the dub for the German edition for the Terminator, because he sounded too much like a farmer. Then, LITERALLY THE ENTIRE PANEL starts doing lines from Terminator movies in a Southern American accent. It’s hysterical. Alan goes “Wheyre’s John Conner? Hayve you seen John Conner?” Stephen goes “Hasta la vister, bay-bay.” Hugh goes “I want yer jacket.” I was sad, though, that there was no “I WANT YOUAH CLOTHES, YOUAH BOOTS AND YOUAH MOTOR-SICLE!”

On the William the Conquerer question, Phill says that on the embroidery of the event, they shortened his name, sort of like tech-speak, ala “we’ve invaded Britain. LOL!” In response, Stephen goes “O-M-G!”, which cracks Phill up.

Hugh wins, which is awfully nice. Alan loses with -39, which is a pretty Alan way to finish.

Overall: Fantastic episode from start-to-finish, with a number of great laugh-out-loud moments, especially coming from Alan and Phill. I believe we got our old Phill back in this one, as he was baiting Stephen on a bunch of questions. Jo, meanwhile, had a very quiet day. Hugh also did really well, but unlike Andy Parsons who blew up and blossomed on QI, he took a more passive approach, and had some great jokes but was outdone by Alan dan Phill. Still, an early frontrunner for the series highlight.

MVP: Alan and Phill
Best Guest: Phill
Show Winner: Hugh
Best QI Fact: Axelotls and iodine.

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QI Watchdown: F4 (Fight or Flight)

After the stunningly brilliant debut of the XL edition of QI, and with three weeks without one of the bag of regulars so heavily relied upon in Series E, we’ve finally hit one of our anchors, as Fight or Flight is indeed a Sean Lock episode. The show also features Johnny Vegas, which means hopefully he’ll be more funny than annoying here, and Pam Ayres, a TV presenter and poet, although, thanks to Roger McGough, I’m horrified at the prospect of having another poet on the show.

Johnny wearing a little pilot’s helmet actually cracks me up. And Pam looks like one of those flammable grannies that Dom was talking about a few episodes ago.

The buzzers have a little throttle on them tonight. Pam’s is a machine gun fire on a plane. You can tell she’s not really seen this show, because she looks at Stephen and goes “wow, it’s like a machine gun.” Stephen, matter-of-factly, goes “you know, I think it actually *is* a machine gun…”

Johnny plays the part, his buzzer being another plane noise, and he even ducks and yells “HE’S ALL OVER ME!” Alan’s, of course, is an aircraft crashing.

There’s a clip shown of Alan skydiving while attached to someone on his backside. Stephen, amusedly, goes “Alan, I can understand a ‘one exciting thing at a time’, but why do free falling AND sodomy at the same time? You know, why not just do one and THEN the other?”
Alan: “It was a reasonable price…”

Pam seems to have a very similar overall cynicism to Jo Brand, though not as funny as her, I think.

Another instance of Stephen being confused by a particular accent. Pam answers a question in saying “it was puffed.” Stephen, of course, needs her to repeat it once or twice for him to understand it. Reminded me of the “Feeeehhns. Meeek a cahnny noise!” argument from Descendants.

We’re 7 minutes in and Sean, with the exception of one joke, hasn’t said too much. Is it like Phill in Eating, where Johnny’s sheer presence makes him sad?

Johnny is keeping his pilot’s hat on, and as Stephen begins to read off context, he says “Stephen, I must point out, I can’t hear anything you’re saying…”

Alan: “I was told that flying fish, you know, only fly alone.”
Sean: “That sounds like a code, Alan. (into a fake mic) “FLYING FISH ONLY FLY ALONE…”

Pam, on the flying fish, says she once saw one fly for ages and ages and ages, and then plunk back into the water. Stephen reads off the card that, really, they only fly for about 30 seconds. Johnny, whispered, goes “who’s gonna tell Pam she probably saw a duck?”

Stephen: “What’s the opposite of a flying fish?”
Sean: “Tunneling flamingo.”

Ah, yes, I believe we’ve reached our first ever actual f-bomb on QI. They’re talking about penguins, how they swim instead of fly. Johnny goes “You’re saying it’s magnificent. It’s swimming ’round goin’ “LOOK AT THIS! LOOK WHAT I’VE DONE!” and all the other birds are going…”look at that fookin’ idiot…”

Stephen: “Why do women make the best fishermen?”
Johnny: “They’re all descended from mermaids.”
Sean: “I can see you whispering that into a girl’s ear.”
Johnny: “…and in 1654, they negotiated a deal with the, rem, octopus wish, to let them also have the voice…”
By that point the confused audience cuts him off laughing. His stuff just gets so weird sometimes.
Sean, cracking up, even goes “I NEED TO WRITE THIS DOWN!”

Stephen: “Name something that’s much easier to do when you’re wearing boxing gloves?”
Sean: “Frisk a porcupine.”
Johnny: “GIVE UP MASTURBATING!!”

I feel like Sean in this episode is there to make jokes, but hasn’t really interacted too much with any of the other contestants. Pam is just telling her own stories, and Johnny is just…being Johnny. Very weird dynamic.

Funniest thing. Halfway through the episode Stephen realizes that Johnny, with his pilot headgear, looks like the pigeon from Wacky Races.

Johnny is explaining that, I think he “watched his family fall to their death’, i imagine in a dream or something. I dunno. His accent got in the way. Stephen asks him if he’s been able to interpret that in some way. Johnny guesses “I’ll probably…erm, kill ’em?
Stephen, completely serious, goes “I think it means you’re gay!” Johnny is shocked, and goes “DOES IT???”
And then, Stephen goes back to explaining the balloon question, but Johnny isn’t done. He yells “FUCK THE PIGEONS, STEPHEN!! AM I GAY???” Made me laugh very hard.
Stephen, trying to get on with the question, says “ask your boyfriend. He might know.”
Johnny even goes “How could he know? He’s pre-op!”

And then, even into the next question, Johnny’s looking at Sean’s trousers, going “I’m looking at his penis!” He even points at Pam and goes “I’ve gone right off you! I’m gay!” This running gag is really helping what could have been a very poor episode.

Stephen tries to get the question back on track. Sean has to say “I didn’t even hear the question. He was looking at my penis!”

It’s kind of odd that Alan doesn’t end up in last, but third, which he reminds the audience by holding up 3 fingers. Pam wins, though, unsurprisingly. Sean gets last.

Overall: A very so-so episode, with the only highlights being Johnny’s absolute zeal. Sean was very quiet today, and didn’t completely take hold of the panel, and Pam wasn’t terribly interesting. Johnny, however, was hysterical, giving the ‘FUCK THE PIGEONS, STEPHEN, AM I GAY???” running gag, which will surely be the most memorable part of the episode.

MVP: Johnny
Best Guest: Sean
Show Winner: Pam
Best QI Fact: Bearskins.

QI Watchdown: F3: Flotsam & Jetsam

On the heels of our first XL episode, which is 45 minutes instead of the usual 30, I’m gonna say that from here on out, I’m gonna be reviewing only the XLs. If the regular episodes have less good stuff than the XLs, then there’s no point.

Good news is we’ve got our second consecutive Rob Brydon episode, along with our final Charlie Higson episode, and another appearance (first in a while) from Andy Hamilton. It’s certainly going to be a very interesting panel. Hopefully it’ll be pretty damn funny. Besides, we now know that Rob can carry a panel.

All the buzzers are sort-of nautical tunes, sea-shanties and that sort. Rob’s ends up being ‘I do like to be beside the seaside’, which he shrugs and begins singing along with. Alan’s is the infamous ‘He’s fallen in the water!’ clip from the Goon show, which he is able to mouth by heart, which says a lot about Alan.

All the players are additionally given flags. Charlie’s is, in his words, ‘a nautical bumper sticker. Sort of like ‘my other ship is a destroyer.'”

Andy’s flag means “I require a tug”, which seems to horrify Andy, but not Stephen, who goes “but COME AND SEE ME IN MY CABIN!”

Stephen asks if anyone else knows any body signals.
Rob, holding both his arms out: “Welcome back to the Arrivals lounge.”
Charlie, with both arms up: “I’m drunk and I’m having a piss.”

Stephen, on a flag: “It’s ‘O’, and it means overboard.”
Rob: “Not to generally express interest in something another ship has said, like “OH?”

Andy: “If someone’s fallen overboard…is there enough time to put a flag up? Is there a sense of urgency?”
Alan: “You’ve got to go through the flag box…”

Stephen then introduces the next flag, which means “No.”
Rob: “So that one after the last flag is, “OH, NO!”

Stephen says F means “I’m disabled, communicate with me.”
Andy: “That’s a rather patronizing view of the disabled…that they have to have a flag to be communicated with…”

Charlie has a great line: “As we’re being very dull and pedantic, which is what one does on this show…”

There have been several moments so far when a great portion of the panel, Rob usually included, will just start cracking up at absolutely nothing at all. As Stephen’s trying to wrap up the Boy Scouts question, both Charlie and Rob just start giggling. You can tell the dynamic on this one is really good.

On the Robin question, Rob mentions that Burt Ward went onto become a porn star. He said “he used to see a young lady and say “QUICK! TO THE BATPOLE!”

Okay, this is classic. Stephen reveals that Burt Ward did indeed sign several fan club letters with his, ahem, “Bat-Sperm”. And then it gets everyone into a very heated discussion. However, then someone in Stephen’s hear tells him that he may have confused some details, causing the whole panel to crack up. Apparently it was just he gave fans “the ultimate autograph, by shagging them”. Stephen goes “I prefer the original description.”

Stephen: “In 1968 Batman was cancelled, and he found it hard to get work again.”
Rob: “I think that should read as “and then he found work again getting hard.”

Charlie caps off the topic with a great line: ‘I’d just like to say…I’ve got his autograph!”

Stephen: “It’s just an added weapon in its arsenal.”
Rob, mishearing him: “In its- WHERE IS IT?”

There is a lot of anecdotal Alan this episode, which is a different side to him. It’s not as much of the usual ‘lovable idiot’ kind of thing. A lot of these stories are truly interesting, and prove that Alan Davies is, in real life, a rather interesting, and likable person, far removed from how he’s portrayed on QI. I like those little character moments.

Stephen: “Why did the East German Secret Police Steal People’s Underwear?”
Rob: “So that they could say to them…’you may now go…you are no longer under a vest!”

Charlie: ‘It does sound like a new perfume range, though. Dissidence, by Calvin Klein.”

I did love the story Stephen told about the pope that dug up a previous pope and put the corpse on trial with someone else moving the corpse like a dummy.
Stephen: “He was eventually condemned-”
Alan: ‘TO DEATH!”
(I laughed way too hard at that.)

Stephen: “Three fingers used for blessing were cut off his skeleton-”
Andy: “Did the man behind him go “OW!”

And then Andy and Alan start having an argument, both as the dummy pope, which prolongs Stephen from continuing the question for a good 30 seconds, both using the same tinny voice. It’s honestly hysterical.

Thanks to the extra XL time, the first klaxon comes 30 minutes in, which has got to be the latest it’s ever been for a first klaxon, for Andy.

Alan said that Mick Jagger got his walk because his house must have had a lot of narrow hallways. And then Alan does this impression of Jagger, and it kills me every time.

As the entire panel tries to figure out how many times you can fold a piece of paper, Andy, deadpan, goes “they’ve got a lot of exciting ideas for TV programs these days…Paper Folding: LIVE!”

Perfect Moment:
Stephen is rounding up the paper-folding variable, and he says “then what you need is length and thickness to get the perfect-” and it cuts to Rob, who has this perfect, knowing, “well-of-course” expression on his face.
Alan: ‘That’s slipped out…straight to YouTube. It’ll be a ringtone, it’ll be everything… “What you need is length and thickness-” “Hello?””
Stephen: “Damn you all!”
Alan: “…and that’d be for text messages…”

Charlie wins, Alan loses, but you could have seen that coming a mile away.

Overall: A very good episode, one with a very funny panel, and great performances from Rob and Alan, although not as good as the last episode. A lot of nice stuff from Charlie and Andy, not to count them out. It is a bit sad that we won’t be seeing Charlie again, as he was a pretty nice addition to the show. Andy, as usual, had a lot of nice moments but was one of the more quiet panelists. Of course, Rob carried the panel, giving some of the best jokes, and having great chemistry with Stephen.

MVP: Rob and Alan
Best Guest: Rob
Show Winner: Charlie
Best QI Fact: Burt Ward’s BatSperm.

QI Watchdown: F2 (Fire & Freezing)

Well, we’re just one episode into Series F of QI, which means it’s about time for…a…Christmas…special?

(Checks schedule)

Oh, I see. Starting with this series, QI’s schedule flipped, starting the series around the end of one year, and going into the next year. So now the Christmas special is earlier in the season, rather than the last episode. Also, this is the last season before the XL demarkation line, and I’m pretty sure from here on out I’m gonna be looking at the XL episodes. More material and all that.

Tonight’s episode is, as mentioned, the Christmas special, featuring a welcome appearance from Clive Anderson, the first of TWO (!) Rob Brydon episodes this season, and a rookie appearance from someone I’ve not heard of, Dom Joly. Let’s dive in.

Dom Joly is wearing a knitted cap. On first inspection, I thought he was Craig Charles, or Jack Black.

Of course Stephen’s intro for Rob includes a Wales joke. Of course it does.

Dom’s buzzer is ‘chestnuts roasting on an open fire’, which he gives a very Jimmy Carr-ish ‘okay’ signal to Stephen. Clive’s is ‘Light my Fire’ by the Doors, which he dances around to. Rob’s is ‘Fire’ by the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, and he appreciates how obscure, and awesome, the song is. Alan’s is Sir Alan Sugar saying “Alan, you’re a bloody disgrace. You’re fired!” Best part is Stephen, acting shocked, going “ALAN, YOU’RE FIRED! OH NO!”

The question about smoke signals turns into, via Dom, a conversation about how the pope signals work. Dom even guesses the black smoke means “what, for an African pope?”

Alan: ‘Since they’ve banned smoking in the vatican, quite a lot of people hang out the window for a fag, and it causes all sorts of trouble.”
Stephen: “Who would imagine Catholic Priests hanging out for a fag, it seems so unlikely…”
Yeah, that’s one of those reasons why I love Stephen

Dom, examining the smoke signal: “Looks more like a question mark, though. Do they do grammar?”
Alan: “They should have just gotten a light aircraft that just writes words in the sky.”
Stephen, as said sky-writing appears on the behind-screen, appropriately: “What, like that?”

Rob, on smoke signals: “Was that before or after email?”
Stephen: “It’s, uh, close. They were spamming, though. You’d get endless, like (with his hands, the smoke signal), DO-YOU-WANT-A-BIG-GER-COCK?”
Rob: “I dunno how you’d get a bigger cock, slapping it around like that?” (does the same hand movements Stephen did). “I think with me it would have the opposite effect, to be honest.”

Stephen gives the panel fans to swing around in order to communicate, and flirt with each other, like smoke signals. Dom starts swinging his around, and Stephen asks Rob, booklet in hand, what Dom is saying. Rob says “I am having a fit, the tablet is in my pocket…”

Clive: “What if you’re fanning yourself because you’re really hot, but you’re really saying “HELLO, I LOVE YOU! COME OVER HERE!”
Stephen: “or ‘DO YOU SWALLOW?”
Dear God, this episode is killing me already

Stephen: ‘What happened to the Fireman’s Pole?”
Rob: “He tiled the fireman’s bathroom.”
And once again, I’m absolutely losing it.

Dom is guessing something about the Fireman’s Pole, and then goes “of course, it was probably because of Health and Safety’, and at that moment, the Klaxon goes off, saying “Health and Safety Gone Mad.” Alan is pretty amused by this exact Klaxon, and goes “It’s the new Political Correctness Gone Mad’, which is a callback to a previous Jo episode.

As they’re answering the fireman question, they’re a repeating clip of firefighters coming down poles, and it keeps looping. Alan even goes “I must say, there are a lot of firefighters…” Rob takes it further, and goes ” The driver of the fire engine is there going ‘no, I can’t go yet, I’ve gotta wait for all of ya…meanwhile, a whole family is burning to death…”

Clive, in answering a question, goes “There are vegetarian restaurants, aren’t there, where you can’t get meat…”
Stephen: “Yes, all vegetarian restaurants, I think qualify…”
Rob: “To quote the great John Cleese, ‘what’s your specialist subject, the bleeding obvious?'”

Dom brings up the fact that if clothes are urine-soaked enough, they can be flammable, and mentions that there have been many cases of flammable grannies. So, at the ‘fire-eater question’, he offers this:
“I would have thought, at a Christmas event, if a fire-eater was thinking “I haven’t showed my family yet, this skill”, and there was a urine-soaked granny…who’d been brought out of the home just for a day, for Christmas, that would probably not be the time to say “So what are you up to now…Bruno?”

Stephen: “What happens when you blow out the candles on your birthday cake?”
Alan’s buzzer: “You’re fired.”

Rob, in answering the question, quotes Richard Burton by going into his impression of him. Halfway through the quote, however, someone in the audience starts laughing, which causes him to turn that direction and go “Shut up.” He shakes his head, and says ‘You wouldn’t know a good impression if it sat on your face!”

Rob: “My father grew up on, literally, the same street as Anthony Hopkins.”
Stephen: “Very nice. (beat) In England, we live in houses.”
Even as Stephen finishes up the question, Rob is still holding this strong glare in his direction, hilariously.

Clive wins, which even seems to surprise him. Clive was probably the quietest of the four, yet he still had a pretty nice show.

An episode that’s so good, that even the stinger-joke is hilarious, involving Darth Vader on Christmas (“I know what you’re getting for Christmas, Luke!” “How do you know?” “I have felt your presents.”)

Overall: Now I see why everyone was telling me the greatness begins at Series F. That was an unbelievable episode, aided by unstoppable performances from Rob and Dom, and great teamwork courtesy of Alan and Clive. The panel was absolutely on, and Dom was actually pretty funny, which makes me sad that this is his only episode. Rob, however, was the revelation, giving most of the episode’s highlights, and continuing his QI hot streak.

MVP: Rob
Best Guest: Dom
Show Winner: Clive
Best QI Fact: Flammable Grannies

QI Watchdown: F1 (Families) – Children in Need Special

And now, ladies and gentlemen, things get really good.

Series F marks the turning point in QI history, where the show goes from rather funny to ridiculously funny on a consistent basis. Here’s the point where that string of ‘okay’ episodes in Series E becomes a thing of the past. Now we’re onto the good stuff.

Tonight’s premiere is the Children in Need special, which is nice, because they’re just getting it out of the way, it seems. The panel features a semi-regular, David Mitchell, and we’ve gotten to the point on QI where we can trust him with a panel, a recurring guest, Ronni Ancona, who was terrific in her debut, and a guest star, in this case being Terry Wogan, a radio and television mogul whose name is synonymous with Children in Need. A pretty nice panel, so let’s get on with the season.

Opening shot tonight, Puddsey Bear is sitting in Terry Wogan’s seat, rather than Alan’s which is a nice change of pace.

Terry eventually enters the studio in a rush, as he’s “got a lot of important things to do”, and he’s basically had Puddsey fill his seat for the intros. Seems very charismatic, but I’m not sure how he’ll do as a panelist.

The buzzers are all family themed. Alan’s is ‘My Old man’s a Dustman’, which the audience starts suddenly clapping along to, which seems to confuse the hell out of David. “People want knees-ups. They don’t want an information-based panel show. They just want a knees-up.” Terry even goes “this crowd, to me, looks like they can do a Mexican Wave in a minute.” Apparently the audience tries said Mexican wave, because within a second Terry’s shielding his eyes.

Because this episode was shown at an earlier hour than most other QI’s, there appears to be an odd amount of censorship, moreso than usual. David, quoting an old wives’ tale, says that wanking makes you blind, however, ‘wanking’ is covered up with a weird, low-pitched quack noise. It’s a bit off-putting, but I’ll roll with it.

David: “They used to say wanting makes you blind. But, you know, I have contact lenses, so I can see fine. So, essentially, contact lenses are the wanker’s charm.”
Terry (almost innocently): “Is there much to see?”

They waste a few minutes talking about the importance of CIN, and blah blah blah, it’s kind of important, but kills the laughter.

David has a great response to Terry’s wickerwork chair anecdote. “Not only would I eat a baby’s arse, I’d do it under awkward circumstances.”

Terry: “it’s an extraordinary mentality, isn’t it, that you actually inquire into which part of the JellyBaby ya bite off first…”
David: “Well, a lot of universities are short of funding, so they have to investigate stupid things.

Terry, inspecting the JellyBaby: “What’s the powdery substance?”
Stephen, without missing a beat: “Cocaine.”
And then Terry pretends to snort the JellyBaby through both nostrils. Remember, this was broadcast at an earlier hour than usual.

Alan brings up his nephew, “when he soiled himself, would put both his hands on the high-chair”, and he gives this determined, focused expression, which cracks me up.

Terry guesses that the series of frequency patterns are “the Arctic Monkeys.”

David: “Morse code for ‘I am stuck in the jungle, please save me.”
Tell ya what, David is doing a hell of a job carrying this panel. He’s really improved on this show.

David had a great quote, when they discover that ‘Me Tarzan, You Jane’ never happened in the Tarzan series. David goes “Why do these films always forget to put their most famous line in?”

On how Eurovision Song Contest has united the continent:
Terry: “It has brought together the nations of Europe-”
Stephen: “Has it? Arse! It’s divided East from West!”

Observation: The dynamic between Terry and Stephen is greater than the dynamic between other members of the panel. Ronni is keeping to herself, and the David-Alan passes aren’t too great. It’s really just Terry sharing in-jokes with Stephen, which isn’t bad, it’s just not as inclusive as I’d like.

Stephen: “What do you call a boomerang that won’t come back?”
Alan: “A STICK!”
(Klaxon)

Terry has this whole story about how they got the name Kangaroo from the Aborigine word ‘I don’t know’, because none of the aborigines knew what the hell kind of animal that was. And the second he finishes, the klaxon goes off. I can’t help but feel bad for the guy.

Stephen reveals that the big logic equation just proves that 1+1=2. David, perfect delivery, says “it’s a bit late…for 20th century…to prove that. We’ve got quite a lot riding, by the 20th century, on one plus one being two. If you find out that it…DOESN’T…equal two, what do we do? Just…BURN EVERYTHING! Because God knows, everything could fall on our heads, money, you might as well eat it. Forget Civilization!”

And then later, David “I met this bloke at a party. He stank. I asked him what he did for a living, and he said he proved one and one equals two…”

Ronni wins, which is pretty nice. Isn’t it hysterical that Terry lost with -9? Did not see that coming.

Overall: Very nice way to start this season. I’ll say that this episode is held up by the strong performances from David Mitchell, and the fathomable knowledge of Terry Wogan. Ronni was alright, though not as strong as her debut. Alan didn’t show up as much tonight, which is odd. Very nice, especially in comparison to past CIN specials.

MVP: David
Best Guest: David
Show Winner: Ronni
Best QI Fact: 1+1=2.

QI Watchdown: E12 (Empire) – Christmas Special

Ah, another season goes by so quickly. This one was one of the breeziest yet, due to the consistency of a lot of the episodes, albeit without too many standouts. However, we’ve hit the end of series E, which means we’ve gotten to our Christmas episode, usually a season highlight. Thankfully we have three entrusted regulars, as is the theme of E, with Bill Bailey, Jo Brand and Sean Lock filling out the panel.

Tonight all the contestants are all dressed up, like very fancy 1800’s characters. Jo’s in a fancy dress, Sean’s in a general’s outfit and hat, Bill’s in a white plain suit and hat, and Alan’s in a turban.

All the buzzers are carols. Bill’s is ‘Deck the Halls’. Jo’s is ‘the Holly and the Ivy’. Sean’s is ‘Ding Dong Merrily on High’. And Alan’s is just ‘Oh, Carol.’

Stephen: “What did Queen Victoria think of Mr. Bean?”
Jo: “We Are Not Amused…”
And somehow, that gets a klaxon. It was that obvious, eh?

Stephen: “[John Bean] tried to do something to Queen Victoria when she was in her fourth year…”
Jo: “Take her roughly behind the bike sheds.”
Stephen: “No, or indeed invent the bicycle, then invent the shed…”

Bill: “Kiss her on the mouth.”
Stephen: “Quite the other.”
Sean: “Kiss her on the arse!”
I laughed too hard at that one.
Also, Bill: “Well, if you’re a queen, you can get anything done, can’t you? ‘YOU THERE! KISS ME ON THE-‘ ‘OH, ALL RIGHT!'”

Stephen says that Bean filled his gun with tobacco, in order to assassinate the queen, which, according to Stephen “wouldn’t have done her much harm.” Sean goes “was he trying to give her cancer?”

Bill tries to demonstrate exactly how Rasputin died, clawing and collapsing onto the desk in a very dramatic fashion. Sean, with his restrictive collar, goes “what’s Bill Bailey doing over there? I can’t move my neck!” So Bill moves his entire performance over to Sean’s side of the desk.

Stephen: ‘What behavior was deemed forbidden in the Museum of Pornography?”
Jo: “Was it fisting?”

Stephen rolls out a great David Frost impression, after Alan indicates the museum of pornography might just be through a tiny little keyhole. Stephen, as Frost goes ‘we go throooughhh…the keyhole.” Alan even says “he doesn’t do many, but…”

Sean guesses, as to what’s forbidden, “no school trips! ‘Sorry, you can’t have your packed lunch near the dildos, kids.'”

Stephen mentions the formula for determining the best buttocks. Bill, in a classy voice, goes “I’ve just been noticing your bottom, and I’ve done some sums…” He then puts a giant pipe to his mouth, and the full picture is complete.

Sean: “She’s the officer, of shoe heritage. Does she get to carry a gun?”

This episode has some very nice, laugh out loud moments, but also a lot of lulls.

Stephen mentions the Penis museum in Iceland.
Jo: “I wonder if Bjork’s got anything to do with it.”
Bill: ‘She does the audio commentary.’
And at that exact moment, large bearded comedian Bill Bailey did an almost perfect impression of petite Icelandic singer Bjork. And it was glorious.

Sean: “And then you see a penis, and she goes RRAAAAUUGGHHH RAAAAAUUGHHH RAAUUUUUGHHH RAUUUGHGHH!”
That one made me laugh WAY too hard.

Jo has a great callback joke. Sean asks if the elephant shoes were easy to put on. Jo, not missing a beat, goes “they were easier to put on between 1400 and 1600…”

This is great. As Stephen is reading a question about discriminating against male homosexuality, a still of Stephen from the movie Wilde is shown onscreen. Halfway through the question, he sees the picture (of himself), stops reading and slowly face palms.

Two straight GI questions that Jo guesses right on the money, and the Klaxon screen literally prints her answer, almost word for word. Stephen goes “YOU REALLY GO RIGHT FOR THEM, DON’T YOU!” Jo, somehow delighted, goes “HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ME!”

And then, on the next question, ‘political correctness gone mad’, Jo gets her third straight word-for-word klaxon. This takes actual skill.

There’s a background of a wintery background. As Stephen is explaining an answer, something runs across in the background, and only Alan notices, and yells ‘DID ANYBODY ELSE SEE THAT?” Bill goes “I think it was a velociraptor.’

Then, after another 30 seconds, it runs across again, frightening Alan. He even says ‘it’s running all the way around the building…” And then Alan literally halts the game so everyone can wait for the thing to pass again.

After it does indeed show up again, Sean says, the line of the episode, “there’ll be people watching this, going ‘Man, Christmas ain’t what it used to be…”

Stephen: ‘What’s the best way to stop your children from peeking at their presents before Christmas Day?”
Jo: “Don’t get ’em any…”
Sean: “Do what I do…buy all your presents on Christmas eve….from a petrol station.”

Jo loses with -33 for her string of word-for-word answers. Alan wins with 10, somehow.

Overall: A nice episode, one that gained momentum in the latter half, but still had some very funny moments. The lulls were fewer than I gave credit for. Plus, all four contestants were giving A material.

MVP: Sean
Best Guest: Bill
Show Winner: Alan
Loser of the Week: Jo, for getting a string of questions word-for-word wrong.
Best QI Fact: The bottom formula.

And, because it’s the last episode of Series E, our Series E Superlatives:

Best Episode: E1: Engineering. An absolutely perfect panel.
2nd Best Episode: E8: Eyes and Ears
Worst Episode: E5: Europe (though still not a bad one)
Episode Most Worthy of Another Watch: either Eating or Exploration
Best In-Episode Runner: Giving the contestants sweets (E1-Engineering)
Best Recurring Guest: Bill Bailey
Most Underused Recurring Guest: Rob Brydon
Most Improved: David Mitchell, for becoming the panel-dominating rant-field we all know and love this season.
Biggest Decline in Material: Phill Jupitus. The big man, sad to say, was very off this season. Most of his A material was shelved to the compilation. Hopefully things will get better next year.
Worst Guest: By default, Doon Mackichan (E11: Endings), having contributed the least in her lone episode of the season.
Guest we wish wasn’t done after this season: Vic Reeves. The gonzo-comic will indeed be missed.
Rookie of the Year: Johnny Vegas (E3: Eating). I was getting ready to hate him, too.
Best Compilation Moment That Should Have Been on the Show: THEEEEEEYYYYY SAY OF THE ACROPOLIS WHERE THE PARTHENON IS… (E1: Engineering)
(Runners Up: The panel eats spaghetti (E3: Eating), Phill as Stephen on a Spacehopper (E8: Eyes & Ears))

QI Watchdown: E11 (Endings), or The One With The Never-Ending Buzzer

This season has been one of the more consistent ones, with a lot less completely dead panels, and a lot less insufferable contestants (yeah, Johnny Vegas wasn’t entirely insufferable). We’re down to the second-to-last one of the season, featuring two can’t-miss panelists, Jimmy Carr and Dara O’Briain, and one panelist we haven’t seen since she flirted with shoving a deep-fried curly-wurly in her mouth, which would be the lovely Doon Mackichan. So, we’ve got a good enough panel, and a vague enough topic (Endings), so I’ll say this looks like a fitting penultimate episode of E.

Jimmy’s buzzer is, presumably, the drop of a guillotine, which seems to disturb even him. Doon’s is a more commonplace ending, which is just the end of a fiddle-laden song, which seems to confuse her.

However, what may in fact be the greatest buzzer of all time occurs when Alan buzzes his. It is a thirty-five second long piano ending, by Dudley Moore, which keeps going on and on, without end, confusing everyone in the panel, especially Alan, and bewildering everyone. About three times when Stephen thinks it’s going to stop, it keeps going and flusters him. Once it finally finishes, the audience applauds, as they should.

The first, or as Stephen says, final, question is about the last words of an admiral, and his picture is shown as a man with a very big beard. Alan, of course, goes “he hasn’t got a mouth, so there weren’t any words at all…”

Stephen asks about a war that might have been going on, and Alan names about five or six that are wrong. Jimmy eventually guesses the American Civil War, and Alan, jokingly, presses his buzzer to say the same answer. Trouble is this is the episode of the never ending buzzer, so the second he buzzes in, Stephen goes “NO! GOD NO! YOU BASTARD!” and gets the tech booth guys to cut it off.

Jimmy has a good point about final words, saying “I think they lie, a lot of the time, because it’s always something incredibly witty. Whereas, in fact, I imagine they said that four days before they died, and the last thing they said was “NURSE! NURSE, IT’S HAPPENING AGAIN, I’M SCARED!”

Stephen: “What did the S. (of Ulysses S. Grant) stand for?”
Alan: “Sausage.”

Alan ends up mentioning a bunch of random first names that start with S, ending in ‘Spanky’. Dara even guesses ‘Sugartits.’

Dara has some great stuff with the ‘cat in the box in a parachute’ question. He goes “why don’t you fire them at the border with a cannon. At least their natural landing instinct would kick in.”

Stephen: “What finally finished off the elderly in Great Yarmouth in 1960?”
Dara holds up his elephant card: “Please tell me…”
Jimmy: “What a world it would be…”
Dara: “It’d be great. Once a year, just releasing an elephant into the streets of Great Yarmouth?” And cello-tape peanuts to the old?”

Stephen: “What is pink, has pendulous breasts, gets sailors all excited and tastes of prime beef.”
Jimmy: “Was Princess Margaret buried at sea?”

Wow, Doon gets a deduction for guessing Gladys Elton, the octogenarian elder-killing stripper from the last question. Funny, as I would have guessed her too.

There’s a conversation about whether people get more susceptible to static electricity as they grow older, and that it might be they get electricity when they see ‘that special someone’. Jimmy even goes “sometimes, if I meet an attractive woman, I will taser her.”

Stephen asks for the name of the island in the arctic where those men were stranded. Jimmy guesses “is it the island of reluctant but inevitable homosexuality?” And then he keeps it going. “I think it’s that one…I think I recognize it…from a school trip that went HORRIBLY wrong…”
Stephen, with the pun of the episode, replies “Lord of the Undone Flies…”

Stephen: “What quite interesting object is found at the end of the earth?”
Jimmy: “Telford Town Centre. Though I’d argue about the ‘interesting’ bit.”

Stephen mentions the expedition to the most southern part of the world, where all there is is a statue of Lenin. He also says there’s someone in the audience who was a part of that expedition. Jimmy, excitedly, asks “Is it Lenin?”

Stephen: “In the human body, what does the appendix do?”
Jimmy: “Does it contain details about me that aren’t needed in the main body?”

Can I say that Jimmy is having a wonderful episode, as he’s coming up with some of the funnier answers. Also, the combo of Dara, Jimmy and Alan is working very well. Doon isn’t being as inclusive as she was in Cummingtonite. She’s not doing anything as interesting, either.

Stephen uses a motion to demonstrate the earth’s motion, by sticking a finger into a hole in his other fist, which is very suggestive, especially when both Jimmy and Doon recreate it. Jimmy goes “I’m just not sure that that’s the best mime you could have done…”

It’s actually pretty funny how bored everybody gets when Stephen lists all the poles and what they’re used for. Doon buzzes in and goes “I want to go home now.” Dara buzzes in and goes “Even the polar guy, who’s kind of into this as a topic, has dozed off at this stage…” And once Stephen finishes, Doon cheers. She goes “Your pole of inaccessibility has finally been plundered.”

Dara and Jimmy tie for first, which is kind of nice, I guess. Plus, Doon and Alan tie for last. Very weird week in that regard.

Overall: A nice show, with some good moments, but a slight bit cluttered. Jimmy was on top of his game, and Dara and Alan both had great moments. Doon was a bit more quiet, and wasn’t too funny when she did talk, save for the last question. The dynamic was slightly off, but the guys who’d worked together worked well together. Not the best this season, but full of goof moments, including Alan’s buzzer.

MVP: Jimmy
Best Guest: Jimmy
Show Winners: Jimmy and Dara
Best QI Fact: The deaths of the Great Yarmouth seniors.

QI Watchdown: E10 (England)

This has been a weirdly uneven season, though a lot more consistent than the last few. When it’s on, it’s really on, but there have been some off-weeks where the material has slacked, and more lulls have showed up.

Tonight’s episode is promising, as it features two great panelists, and the second (and last) newcomer of the season, one who I’ve vaguely heard of, and could be a nice addition to the dynamic.

Aside from Phill (his last of Series E)  and Sean, there’s Charlie Higson, last mentioned as one of Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie’s house decorators (“Stephen, the fellas in the hall are AWFULLAY FUNNAY!”) He’s a comedy writer, author, former singer, and that’s just from his Wikipedia page. I mean, apparently he’s a friend of Stephen, so it’ll work out nice, I think.

The intros are all great compliments, until Alan, as he’s introduced as ‘somebody from Wales.’, a continuation of the running gag from Europe.

All four of the buzzers are England-themed. Sean’s is ‘Pomp and Circumstance’. Phill’s is ‘God Save the Queen’, which he very quickly remembers to rise for. Charlie’s is (another theme that I don’t know), that brings a tear to everyone’s eye. And Alan’s is just “THE ENGLISH THE ENGLISH THE ENGLISH…”

Stephen Screws With Alan: Part I:
Stephen: “How do you do, Alan?”
Alan: “…fine, thanks?”
KLAXON GOES OFF

And then, after that question, Stephen already goes “ten points off to the foreigner.” It’s looking like he’s gonna keep this whole Wales thing going.

Charlie has a great reaction to the first klaxon. He guesses Lake Windermere is one of the lakes in England’s lake district, confidently, and then deflates once he hears the klaxon. He cries “I’VE ONLY BEEN OUT FOR TWENTY SECONDS!!”

Stephen: “It isn’t called Lake Windermere!”
Charlie: “Yes, it is. It’s CALLED…Lake Windermere.”
Stephen: “Only by people who don’t know what it really should be called.”
Sean: “The moon.”
(That may have been a callback to a Rich episode of the past.)

Alan opens the question up to the audience…and they get it right.

By the way, 5 minutes in and ABSOLUTELY NO SIGN OF PHILL JUPITUS. HAS SOMETHING GONE HORRIBLY WRONG???

It’s occurred to me that Charlie looks like David Mitchell and sounds like Andy Hamilton. Quite the combination.

Alan guesses that the two-fingered salute means “I’ve still got my fingers, and I still can shoot arrows”…which turns out to be wrong. It’s weird. Robert Wuhl said that was what happened.

Phill does bring up a good joke. For the ‘fuck off’ question, there’s a series of people holding up two fingers over colored backgrounds. Phill goes “I always did enjoy Andy Warhol’s Rabbit Period.”

Stephen also mentions that the two fingers could mean, on the head, that “I’m fucking your wife.” Charlie demonstrates it to Sean, and Sean goes, “you know, I’m glad someone is…”

I love whenever Alan and Phill are on the same side of the panel, so whenever there’s a break in the action, Phill and Alan can turn to each other, like chums, and just joke around. I love it when there’s a sign of a friendship like that.

Charlie has a great way of answering the Elephant question. Stephen brings up all these things (moved to Cairo, Paris, garnered fame…), and Charlie says “there’s an elephant in the room.” Stephen, of course, says, why. Charlie goes “because whoever he is, he’s an elephant.”

Sean scoffs at the outcry about Jumbo the elephant, people who’d rather have a dead Jumbo than an imported Jumbo. Sean goes “that’s got to be a difficult march. ‘WHAT DO WE WANT…DEAD JUMBO!”

(By the way, Phill has been exceptionally giggly tonight. He’s just been laughing at a lot of people’s jokes, and not making too many. Odd.)

Stephen, on Jumbo’s death, says he was cradled in the arms of his trainer. Alan then tries to mime exactly what it would look like for a regular sized person to try to cradle a gigantic elephant. It’s a great visual.

Stephen: “Besides the Bible, what was the highest selling book of the 16th century?”
Phill: “The little book of syphillis.”

There’s a conversation about leaning over to cover a fact. Sean says “I did that in an exam once. I farted, and someone thought I was cheating.”

Stephen: “Where is the best place in England to find Nutters?
Charlie: “On one of your documentaries…”

Of course, Alan has the oldest joke in the book:
Alan: ‘We had a Jimmy Glasscock at school.”
Stephen: “Did you?”
Alan: “Yeah. You could always see when he was coming…”

On the ‘bluebirds on the White Cliffs of Dover’ question, Charlie does a nice takeout, making Stephen think he’s gonna say White Cliffs of Dover, but really just saying Lake Windermere.

On hearing that there aren’t any bluebirds in England, Alan goes ‘well, can’t we bring some in?” Phill, always the crafty one, goes “let’s just spray up some robins…”

Stephen, on the swans: “They have penises, like ducks.”
Sean, confused: “THEY HAVE PENISES IN THE SHAPE OF A DUCK???”
Phill: “That’s why swans look so smug. They’ve got the big duck-shaped penis under the water…”

Stephen: “What is the most common cause of death among the swan community?”
Charlie: “The queen.”

Stephen: “What is the Oxford’s History of England all about?”
Sean: “England.”
KLAXON
Stephen: “You’d think it would be, but, no.”
Sean: “France.”
KLAXON

Stephen: ‘Where does England get its name.”
Charlie, exasperated, expecting a klaxon: “Oh, alright, the Engles.”
Stephen: “…yes.”
I love how the episode started with Charlie getting an obvious answer wrong, and ended with him getting an obvious answer right. Full circle, really.

Phill technically wins, but since everybody is below the negatives, the audience gets the actual victory, which is pretty funny.

Overall: A solid episode, with some nice moments, a a very nice debut by Charlie. Sean and Phill sort of stayed to the background, and the dynamic sort of suffered, but it was still a good enough episode, just not as good as it could have been. Definitely not without merit, like Charlie’s run of obviously wrong answers, Alan’s Glasscock joke, and a few great Sean moments.

MVP: Alan
Best Guest: Sean
Show Winner: Phill
Best QI Fact: A Bum Gang!

QI Watchdown: Entertainment (Children in Need Special)

It’s been a while, but I’m FINALLY getting around to another QI review. This one does indeed look promising, as it’s another CIN special, and it features Bill, Jo, and Jeremy Clarkson, which is a bit more of a safe combination than throwing Jonathan Ross in there. Plus, this one has a vague enough theme that it might lead to some good stuff.

Like last season’s, Alan has been replaced by Puddsey Bear for the first few seconds of this episode.

The buzzers are all ‘entertainment’ themed. Jeremy’s is Robbie Williams singing ‘Let Me Entertain You’, which cracks him up. Bill’s is Scott Joplin’s ‘The Entertainer’, which he shrugs off. Jo’s is possibly the funniest one of all, as they play the stripper music, and she rolls her eyes and muzzes around. And they keep playing it, waiting for Jo to take something off. She just has this awkward cough waiting for the music to stop, before she rolls her eyes, goes ‘OH ALRIGHT’, and unsnaps her jacket.

Alan eventually wanders onstage in an elephant head, after hiding in the audience, and takes Puddsey’s place on the panel.

Stephen’s first question involves the owner of two flattened shoes. Jo guesses “did he have to really fat kids who used to sit on his shoes and watch telly?”

Stephen (needling): “He was very short.”
Jo: “Little Tommy Twat?”

After completely butchering the first question, Alan grabs the elephant head and announces “I’m going back in here…”

Stephen tries to make a point about this short gentleman, saying that in 200 years, “when the names Stephen Fry and Jeremy Clarkson mean absolutely nothing-” And then everyone cuts him off. Bill, with a great line, goes “we are now approaching Stephen Fry International Airport…”

Stephen eventually shows a clip of this small French gentleman gliding around on his leaning shoes. Jeremy, within a second, goes “Jesus, it’s Rowan Atkinson…”

After this goes on for a few seconds, Jo goes “the audience has gone into a coma.”

Stephen: ‘He’s funnier than I’ll ever be, and he’s funnier than any of you will ever be-”
Jo: “Stephen, he’s not funny.”
Jeremy: “He just had some stupid shoes!!”
Bill: “Actually, on the tape, he was doing some brilliant stand-up.”

Stephen: “What did Roland the Farter do for a living?”
Bill: “He was a sniper. He was terrible at it. “Alright, I’ve got ‘im in my sight- frrt- aw, I’ve rumbled, I’ve lost him again…”

The way Jeremy wins the Elephant in the Room question is very funny. For the ballet question, they are given the hint that it involves the wrong kind of animal. So Jeremy starts listing: ‘elephants, lions, tigers’, and Stephen stops him. It takes him a split second to realize which one was correct, and then race to throw his elephant card up in the air. It’s very fascinating to watch.

Great Bill moment. Stephen and Jeremy are talking about the unfair treatment of ballet dancers, and Bill goes “they probably keep them in pits. STAY DOWN THERE!” And Bill does this great impression of a horrified, crouched ballet dancer.

Jo (on her back-screen photo of her as a businessman): “I look thin and attractive there.”
Stephen: “You’re always attractive, Jo.”
Jo: “But not thin…”

Jeremy’s website is the funnier of the four, as it’s supposed to be therapist-finder, but it comes off as the-rapist-finder. Alan says “well, that’s an unfortunate mistake.” Stephen jokingly goes “dammit, I’ve lost my rapist…”

Alan’s is possibly funnier, as it’s meant to be Pen-Island, but is read like Penisland. Jo even says “Is Penisland smaller than it is on the map?”

Old ass joke, but still funny:
Stephen: What do you call the biggest squid in the world?
Jeremy: ‘Brian.”

Very slow GI period. I’ll say that. This episode has a lot of dry spots, sadly.

Jeremy ends up winning, which is nice, I guess.

Overall: Good, if not spectacular, episode. Has some nice moments, some good chemistry. Hard to pick a favorite, but I might end up going with Bill, as he had some very funny moments this time around.

MVP: Bill
Best Guest: Bill
Show Winner: Jeremy
Best QI Fact: Roland the Farter