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!”
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.