QI Watchdown: G1 (Gardens), or The One With The Bees

I don’t think I could have asked for a better way to begin Series G.

This is a season where there’s gonna be a big-time phasing out of older regulars, and a slow new wave of regulars. People like Sandi Toksvig, Ross Noble, Jack Dee, Lee Mack and Sue Perkins will be joining the fold this year, and they’ll be sticking around for a while. People that the series depended on in the beginning, like Rich Hall, Sean Lock and Clive Anderson, are gonna slowly be exiting within the next few series. It’s the beginning of a huge transition in QI.

Thankfully though, they managed to start this whole commotion with three regulars I couldn’t be happier about. Rob Brydon, the man who I proclaimed the MVP of Series F, David Mitchell, who became a consistent panel anchor last year, and Dara O’Briain, who I even said last year needs to be in more episodes. Throw in Alan and a noticeably-slimmer Stephen, and you have the makings for a gem. Let’s see how good we get it.

I swear to God, Stephen has magically transformed into a Wildean version of David Niven. There is less neck evident. Maybe he finished filming Game of Shadows. Nevertheless, he looks great.

Rob explains that the goat has been usurped as a family pet, because wallabies are better at eating grass.
Dara: “You mean a better family pet than that traditional family bet, the goat? Surely, all those Christmas mornings where children go…IT’S A GOAT!!”

Rob, after the props have been given out: “You see, everyone’s been given these fascinating devices…and I’ve been given a bottle with the top cut off.”

As Rob and Stephen start disagreeing about the bottle, Alan realizes that his cane prop is really a saw, and starts cutting into things while they’re arguing. As Alan’s about to saw his cards in half, Stephen finally notices.

I find it hysterical that Stephen keeps yelling at Alan to stop as Alan almost mutilates a part of the desk with the saw. Hell, he actually cuts into one of the panels, which Stephen is even impressed  by.

Stephen explains the cane is for the gentleman gardner who found a hanging branch while walking. With sudden inspiration, Alan goes over to one of the plants behind Stephen with the saw. Stephen already sees it coming, and stats yelling “NO!” Alan and the saw just keeps making me laugh.

Stephen says David’s tool is a bit of a hoe, “not as the word is used in the American street sense”. And then, with the best transition since the Scotland-crime one, he goes “speaking of hoes, Rob!”

David: “Sorry, a fly landed on my buzzer, and I tried to use…my little hoe.”

Rob, once it’s revealed that the tool is for shaping cucumbers, points to the behind-screen: “It may very well be for cucumbers, but that picture there is very reminiscent of a spam email that I get sent quite a lot…”

A sign that the group dynamic works- once Rob signs his drawing, David gives him shit about it. Then Dara signs and copyrights his, which leads to Rob copyrighting his. Stephen adds that the copyright also requires a date, so both immediately grab their pens again.

The whole argument about why you should never clean a teapot, especially, as Alan says, “if you came in and couldn’t find a loo one night…”, is priceless. All four are acting on each other and adding to the joke, working together. This is terrific.

Stephen: “Where is the best place in the entire world to discover a new species?”
Alan: “The National Geographic Channel…”

I may not be writing down a ton of these conversations, but they are definitely worth watching rather than me writing them up. This is a strong panel, and they’re going these insane directions with bees and things.

Okay, this is the very beginning of the Elves’ way of knocking points off people by catering to the way they speak.
Stephen: “Who finds garden gnomes attractive?”
Rob: ‘I do. And it’s lovely to have the opportunity to be able to admit it in public.”
Rob then notices that the gnome on the behind-screen looks like Ann Widdecombe. He then peers over, curiously, and makes this very weird noise, like “hey, what’s this.”
SOMEHOW THE QI ELVES KNEW THIS EXACT NOISE, and klaxon him, throwing “PHWOAR!” on the screen. Rob’s betrayed expression is classic.

Dara talks about a place in Dublin, a Gyro stand, that put on the sign “Gyro,s”. Dara goes “you knew something had to go there…but you couldn’t…and it looks like a dead apostrophe.” Dara may be having the best day out of anyone here, even Rob, because he’s taking the stories that people are setting up, and knocking them out of the park. He did this with the bee story, and he’s just phenomenal today.

Dara: “Very few instances that you will run in and go “where are the grocers?”, and someone will go “there’s only me”, and you’ll go “BUT THE SIGN IMPLIED…THERE’D BE MORE THAN ONE GROCER!”
Alan: “I’m looking for three grocers!”
Dara: “That’s the minimum I need in this situation! Not just one!”

They’ve literally squeezed GI into the last 4 minutes. Wow.

David and Dara tie for first, which, as Stephen even says, hasn’t happened in a while.

Overall: Very nice show, one I could watch a few more times, mostly to get all the bee jokes. Literally all four were on, and saying that Dara did the best job isn’t meant to discredit David or Rob, because everybody had really nice stuff. I pick Dara because I feel like his jokes and joke additions were the focal points of the episode. He just gave his strongest stuff, and kept pounding. Rob was very close behind him, but didn’t give as good a showing as his last few. Alan’s bit with the saw may have been the highlight of the season so far.

MVP: Dara
Best Guest: Rob
Show Winners: Dara and David
Best QI Fact: Seed Guns.

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