QI Watchdown: F5 (France)


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 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”
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…”

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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