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.

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