After THREE months, we’ve FINALLY finished QI Series G. I started this series in October. Maybe this is due to me picking up ‘Buzzcocks’, but also this was a long, yet rewarding, series.
Tonight, to finish it all off, we have appearances by David Mitchell and Rob Brydon, some of this series’ heroes, and also from Johnny Vegas, who could make or break this episode, though he’s done relatively well in the past.
After Stephen explains the ‘stripes don’t make you look slimmer’
Rob: “It’s a bit like, when you’re hot, the best way to cool down is not by drinking a cold drink.”
Stephen, impressed: “ROB BRYDON!”
Rob: “It’s by going into an air-conditioned building…and THEN having a cold drink.”
Rob: “I have a friend, and he likes to wear vertical stripes because it makes him look taller.”
David: “Only when he’s not standing next to anyone! It’s not gonna make him look taller than a taller man. It’s all relative. They’ll just say “oh there’s a normal sized man next to an ENORMOUS man…oh thank god, he’s taken his striped shirt off, it’s actually a tiny man next to a normal man.”
Stephen, giving a voice to an entire generation: “I’ve missed your angry logic, David.”
Stephen: “Why do the columns around the Parthenon look straight.”
Alan: “Because they are.”
[Jimmy, presumably from three studios away: “THEEEYYYYY SAY OF THE ACROPOLIS WHERE THE PARTHENON IIIISS….”]
Stephen reveals that Alan was indeed right, which sort of break’s Johnny’s world.
Johnny: “THAT ISN’T A QUESTION! “WHY IS THIS MAN NOT THIN?” “Because he IS!” That has taken me on a WHOLE CIRCLE…a train of thought. THIS IS WHY I STRUGGLED IN SCHOOL!”
Stephen, trying to comfort him: “It’s the ‘Q’ of QI…”
Johnny: “If a train travels at 40 miles an hour, and leaves at 9 o’clock, and arrives in Glasgow at 12:00, how did it get there?” And you’re going “BECAUSE IT DID.”
Stephen: “It’s…it’s sort of that, it’s the Q-”
Johnny: “IT’S NOT SORT OF THAT! IT’S VERY CONFUSING!”
Stephen’s trying to help Johnny, and clarify things, but he’s still too far gone. He draws a squiggly line in his notebook, shows it to Stephen, and goes “WHY IS THAT LINE STRAIGHT.”
“BECAUSE IT’S *NOT*. That could have been a question.”
He then draws a straight line, and goes “WHY DOES THAT LOOK STRAIGHT?”
“BECAUSE IT IS!! BECAUSE IT *IS!*”
Now Johnny is completely breaking down, crying, still completely confused.
The guy who proved this straight lines phenomena, Peter Thompson, is actually in the audience. He compliments Johnny on his striped shirt, saying he looks slim.
Johnny, still sort of broken: ‘But i’ll still have a heart attack. Thanks to stripes I’ll be in denial.”
Observation: Peter Thompson, the geometrical guy from the audience, looks like Barty Crouch Sr. from the Harry Potter movies.
Peter, after his stripe terminology: “Now, if you’re really fat it’s not going to make that much of a difference.”
And Johnny, of course, stands up, semi-insulted.
On Greek columns, Stephen: “Do you know one thing that is missing…”
Rob, practical: “Well, the rest of the building…”
Johnny, studying the columns: ‘What about the lions on the gatepost?”
Stephen: “Do you have lions on your gatepost?”
Johnny: “Jeff and Marge!”
Stephen: “That answer was quick enough for me to believe you do have lions on your gatepost…”
Stephen brings up two odd, colored, Batman-esque shapes, saying they have actual names. Johnny, of course, guesses one of them is called “KAPOW!” He’s actually having a really nice game today, though it may be putting off the other two, like in Eating.
Stephen: “Wolfgang Kerker was, uh…”
Johnny: “A PIRATE!”
Stephen, natural: “A pirate, yes that’s the word I was looking for.”
Stephen is trying to read the cover of the textbook from the behind-screen.
Johnny: “Yeah, I’m not caught up with my Latin there…”
Stephen: “No, it’s written in English…”
Johnny just collapses onto the table. He just can’t win today.
Stephen: “But the names are written in Greek there…”
Johnny, still dejected: “Yeah, that’s what threw me.”
Johnny, after Stephen reveals this textbook was a pop-up book: “The thing about pop-up books,when you read normal books, you end up just putting them in front of you, and just kicking them from behind cause you just think they’re lazy…”
Alan: “What, so you go “POP! COME ON! DO SOMETHING!”
Stephen: “What do you call a left-handed lemon?”
Johnny: “A potato.”
Stephen reveals that an orange is the left-handed equivalent of a lemon, and hands them both to the contestants, except Rob, who’s still bitter about earlier.
Johnny: “Do they make scissors for both?”
That is a genius, very cerebral joke from a guy who’s act is being stupid.
Stephen says that there’s between 70 and 90% of the population that’s right handed.
Johnny: ‘It’ll be far less when the war comes.”
Stephen: “With the what? The morcomes?”
Johnny: “The War comes.”
Stephen: “What’s a warcome.”
Johnny: “The left handed and the right handed…”
Stephen, still not getting it: “Warcomes…”
Johnny: “Not…WHEN THE WAR-”
Stephen, finally getting it, collapses onto his desk. This is like him mistaking Phill’s fake Newcastle accent back in Descendants.
Stephen: “What city is the capital of Kansas?”
Stephen: “No, that’s another state.”
Alan: “Well, Kansas City.”
Rob, given an in with Kansas, goes on a very long spiel about Elvis Presley, cutting everyone off and going into actual fact. To contextualize, he goes “I hadn’t said anything in a while.”
David: “It’s like Radio 2 in the middle of the night.”
Rob, now infuriated: HE [Johnny] HAS COME UP WITH SUCH *BILGE*, AND YOU SIT THERE, like we’re in Rain Man, LOVING IT! I come out with something FACTUAL! And, there are a lot of Elvis fans out there who will be loving that.”
On the “where is the best place to look into the future” question.
Rob, completely serious: “You look backwards. Because history teaches us the future. Because from history, we learn patterns, and as Dr. Phil says time and time again, the greatest indicator of future behavior is past behavior.”
Johnny, grabbing Rob with an arm and looking right into his eyes: “When are you gonna realize he’s not interested?”
I just realized what this episode is. On both sides of one panel, you have the voice of information, and you have the voice of entertainment. And time and time again this show was teetered between being a supplier of fact and a supplier of humor. And this episode is Johnny Vegas breaking the fourth wall and throwing information out the window. This is important, because it points toward the direction the show would go later on, by employing more comedians and less fact-suppliers.
Stephen: “What’s the best place to punch a shark?”
Johnny: “In a pub. In a pub after loads of pork scratchings when he’s really dehydrated.”
Overall: A fantastic way to end the series, and a definite turning point in how the show will go about things. All four were great, though David, and in that matter Alan, got quieter as the show went on. I feel like it was like Phill in Eating, where he really couldn’t get a word in edgewise with Johnny. Rob and Johnny were in tip top shape, sort of quarreling with each other, though Johnny had some of the funnier lines, yet Rob played the part of Sean Lock in ‘Common Knowledge’, but saying “this isn’t fair, let’s make a joke out of it.’ A ton of layers to this episode, though it’s not necessarily laugh-out-loud funny enough to warrant a 10.
Best Guest: Rob
Show Winner: Alan
Best QI Fact: Looking into the future
Best Runner: Rob vs. Rain Man
SERIES G SUPERLATIVES!!!!
Best Episode: G10: Greats, featuring Sean Lock’s finest hour, and all four prattling about the delicious giant tortoises.
2nd Best Episode: G5: Groovy, featuring David Tennant, Bill “Up to Nine Wives” Bailey, Lee Mack, and Graham Osmond yelling things from the attic.
Worst Episode: G3: Games. Even with Sean and Phill, there wasn’t a ton going on in this episode, and Liza Tarbuck isn’t the greatest in terms of keeping things interesting.
Episode Most Worthy of Another Watch: G9: Gallimaufrey, because there’s enough little details and moments that I could get again the next watch. Also, for the ‘VHERE IS YOUR LICENSE’ runner.
Best In-Episode Runner: Klaxoning anyone who mentions the war, G8: Germany. Because so many amazing Sean moments came from that one, because he’d just end up mentioning the war every five minutes to piss off Stephen.
Best Recurring Guest: Sean Lock, for appearing in four episodes, and dominating every single one of them, giving his best material, and being looser, and funnier, than he’s been in years.
Most Underused Recurring Guest: Jack Dee.
Most Improved: Tie between Andy Hamilton (G9:Gallimaufrey) and Johnny Vegas (G16: Geometry), for dominating their respective episode after being a quieter presence on their last few shows.
Worst Guest: Sadly, John Hodgman G2: G-Animals, for not being terribly interesting, or funny.
Best Guest Appearance: David Tennant, G5: Groovy, for fitting right in with the panel, and being really cool and fun. It’s not everyday when an actual awesome TV star guests on QI. We’ll get another one of those in Series H, possibly bigger.
Guest we wish wasn’t done after this season: Hugh Dennis, G9: Gallimaufrey. Because he’s Hugh Dennis.
Most Welcome Return: Bill Bailey. Runner up: Danny Baker.
Rookie of the Year: In a very tight race, I’m giving it to Sandi Toksvig, for being a fresh, fun addition to the lexicon in two separate episodes. However, Honorable Mentions go to Jack Dee, Sue Perkins, Graham Norton and Lee Mack.
Best Single Moments: Alan nearly destroys the set with a saw (G1: Gardens), Graham Osmond (G5: Groovy), Sean keeps mentioning the war (G8: Germany), Alan’s ‘VHERE IS YOUR LICENSE’ diatribe (G9: Gallimaufrey), Alan and David on the delicious giant tortoises (G10: Greats) Bill’s metric method of timekeeping (G15: Green), The game breaks Johnny (G16: Geometry)