Nevermind Watchdown: S24E01, or I THINK I NEED A BETTER DRUMMEEERRRR…

Series 23 proved that having a rotating guest host could lead to some of the best episodes in the series’ history, and that implementing Noel Fielding as a team captain was not only a smart comedic decision, but was crucial in transitioning the series towards the 2010’s.

Here we are, Series 24. And I’m hoping the hot streak continues.

Mark Ronson’s the first Guest Host of the season. Mark was also the first Guest Bill, back when Simon still called her a ‘Winehouse-ruiner’. But now, Mark Ronson will be running the show, which, hopefully, will work out alright.

The panel looks kind of cool, too. Alesha Dixon’s the sole returnee, but she’s a vet so I’m not worried. Paul Foot, who I’m told is supposed to RULE this later era of Buzzcocks, makes his debut here, along with rapper Tinie Tempah and Mollie King from The Saturdays.

The opening announcer remarks that “none of last season’s guest hosts were good enough”, which…is bullshit, but I guess we’ll have to buy it.

Mark’s opening line, which is cheeky enough, is “Hi, I’m pop sensation and international heartthrob Mark Ronson. [Drops, turns to audience] I’m just…reading what’s on the autocue…”

Thankfully, this season’s apparently done away with the ‘so, those are the teams, now appalud’ thing that had been a staple since the late Simon era. Also, maybe they just needed a bit more time this ep?

What I’ve noticed about Mark is that, from his time spent in the states, some of his accent has rubbed off, and he’s only clinging to a few british affectations. It’s a kind of odd accent, similar to Brian Molko’s, which is American but has a sort of Scottish tinge.

LITERALLY, PAUL’S FIRST LINE gets me on his side.
One of the options involves the possibility that Pete Doherty got lost on a Tintin tour of Bruges.
Paul: “Have you ever got lost on a Tintin tour, Mark? OR, thought of to be Tintin, and got trapped in there…having to provide Tintin-based entertainment?”
Noel: “…That’s rich, coming from Snowy…”

Noel mentions Pete Doherty showing up at a party with a top hat full of cats.
Noel: “His dealer gave it to ‘im, told him it was meow-meow. [beat] That’s the only real joke you’ll get out of me all series…”

Great moment. Noel talks about recording an album for ‘the Boosh’ and not knowing when it’s coming out. Mark says he’s wanted to do a remix of ‘Captain Cabinet’, and make it longer than 7 seconds…culminating in Noel and Mark doing a duet of Captain Cabinet, which is very cute.

Mollie mentions how every Akon song starts with him yelling ‘COOOONVICT!”
Mollie: “It’s like if we started every song with ‘GIIIIRL BAND!”
Noel: “It’s quite a weird thing to boast about, isn’t it? ‘I’VE BEEN DOWN FOR FRAUUUD!'”
Paul: “I’M A BIT AWKWARD AT PARTIES!”
Mark, noticably lower-key: “…I didn’t write this soong…”

Alesha talks about hitching a ride off of Chris Martin’s plane from Cannes.
Mark: “D’you know you only have to pay 20 quid for an EZ-Jet ticket, and then you don’t have to sit next to Chris Martin?”

Alesha: “He was so nice, he offered me sushi…”
Phill: “REALLY? Is that a showbiz kind of euphemism?”
Noel: “I can’t believe- you know when you land, and they say ‘d’you want a boiled sweet, cause your ears are gonna pop?’ He goes ‘anyone want sushi?’ What a DICK…”
Noel is already dominating this episode.

There’s a nice allusion to pre-show, where Tinie was already telling Noel not to screw up the Intros. So, when the round actually happens, Noel’s legitimately scared to start. He, Tinie (and PAUL) all just do Tinie’s part, but even THEN Tinie tells him ‘NO!’ right in the middle.

Phill, before Noel’s 2nd intro, says “I know that Paul knows nothing about modern musical culture. I say we play the intro in, have them dance do it, and see if he gets it then!”
And sure enough, they try this. It doesn’t work

Paul’s thing is that he’ll just make up a nonsensical name for a group, and it’s incredibly amusing. He was crediting a few to ‘The Peppers’, a made-up group, even.

Alesha can’t get Phill’s first intro, so Noel motions that Paul knows…and whispers it in his ear.
Paul, absolutely serious: “…Killing in the Name Of…Rage Against the Machine.”
Mark: “Unbelievable…”

Even better, when they play in the real intro, Mark throws in a bunch of supplied sound effects (like a SAY WHAAAT from Alesha’s new song), and makes a remix on the spot.

ID Parade:
Mark: “I’ve seen the video, the guy you’re looking for looks an awful lot like an Irish Richard Gere.”
Alesha: “Well, that’d have to be #2 then…”
Screen Shot 2016-11-11 at 12.42.43 AM.png

Well, I never thought that someone from Steps would end up on ID Parade, but thankfully it’s not one of the ones we’ve had on…and it’s not ‘H’.

Paul walks up to each of the ID Parade people…and just does his absolute nut to crack them up, just in talking. I’m not printing the whole thing, but it’s pretty funny to watch, almost Pythonesque.

Next Lines:
Mark: “She’s got an itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny
Paul: “tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny…”
Noel: “Yellow polka dot bikini”
Paul: “tiny…tiny…tiny vagina.”

Overall: Solid opener, even if it fell off towards the last half. The dynamic on Noel’s team was a big stronger than that of Phill’s- I’d even say that Alesha was a bit more difficult tonight, even during Next Lines. Paul was EXCELLENT, and Tinie did a nice job scaring the shit out of Noel, who had a career day. Mark wasn’t the greatest guest host, as he seemed kind of out of it, but he tried his best, and there were some nice moments.

Guest Host Rating: 8/10
Best Regular: Noel
Best Guest: Paul
Best Runner: SAAAAY WHAAAAT?

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