Nevermind Watchdown: S26E04, or NANCY AND NOEL KIDNAP SOME DOGS!

How do we follow a painstakingly-bad episode, that not even Paul Foot could save? With the RADIO DJ SPECIAL of Buzzcocks.

Hosted by Nick Grimshaw, the young hip DJ of the time, the gimmick tonight is that whenever the panelists need help, they can call over one of DJ (and NMTB) legends Mike Read, Tony Blackburn (of Blackburn and Slash) and the Ubiquitous Pat Sharp. It’s a nice gimmick, one that hopefully won’t overstay its welcome like the WHEEL OF JLS from a few years ago.

Rounding out the panel tonight are, well, a bunch of newbies. I do know Joe Lycett as a collaborator of Katherine Ryan’s, but the rest are new to me. Fred Macpherson’s the lead singer of Spector, a rock-ish/indie-ish band. Conor Maynard was, in 2012, ‘the UK’s answer to Justin Bieber’. Nancy Dell’olio is an Italian, uh, ‘TV personality’, who came up as a football manager’s wife and now kicks around the D-list celebrity TV circuit.

Nick introduces the runner, of the three DJ buzzers.
Joe: “Can we use them afterwards? Because I need someone to help paint my kitchen.”
Tony: “…I’m always available!”

Noel: “Nancy just whispered in my ear ‘which one’s the most experienced?'”
Nick’s buzzer: “TONY BLACKBURN!”
Noel: “….in mullets?”
Nick’s buzzer: “PAT SHARP!”
Pat nods, approvingly.

Joe and Noel are making jokes about Pauline Quirk’s evil laser eye, when suddenly, Nancy goes “are you talking of me?”
Joe: “HAVE YOU JUST WOKEN UP??? When you’re not talking, do you have to go to sleep like a laptop, and just…”
Phill: “Wow, this laptop’s got claws!”
Fred: “If it is a laptop, Noel’s shirt looks like the screensaver.”

Nick: “Who would you rather walk in on? Your mum with Tom Jones, or your mum with David Bowie?”
Phill: “Have you met my mum?”
Noel: “What’d be disturbing is a threesome…”
Phill, as Tom Jones: “OH, GO ON LUV. GIVE IT A GOO…”
Noel, as Bowie: “Oh, Jesus…Tom, please, you’re getting in the way…”
Phill: “OUT OF DE WAY, BOWIE, YA IDIOT, I’m tryin’ ta have sex with this laydee…”

Noel: “D’you know Elton John.”
Nancy: “Yes, I do.”
Noel: “Is there anyone you didn’t know?”
Nancy: “Well, of course. I didn’t know you…”

Nancy: “Listen, I was the first lady of football…”
Noel: “Who called you that?”

After the umpteenth Nancy slam
Nick: “Nancy’s texting her agent under the desk…”
Nancy: “No, I’m just, uh, learning…”

Nick: “Elton once said that he should have died in the 1990’s….mmhm.”
The whole audience REBELS against this joke.
Fred: “Who’d have played piano at Diana’s funeral?”
Noel, to Nancy: “Can you play piano?”

Pre-intros, Nick: “You excited about this, Joe?”
Joe: “The most current song I know is the National Anthem, I think, so…I feel like I might struggle.”

Joe decides to bring down Tony Blackburn to help him with the first intro, which leads to a really cool moment of Joe Lycett meeting LEGENDARY RADIO PERSONALITY TONY BLACKBURN. It’s just really nice.

As this is 2012, Phill and Fred have to do ‘What Makes You Beautiful’, by One Direction.
Tony knows it’s One Direction.
Nick: “D’you know the name of the track?”
Joe: “Uhh…BOLLOCKS!”

A legendary NMTB moment happens here- at the tail end of the 1D song, Fred notices it has a familiar melody, and starts singing ‘Summer Lovin’ from Grease along with it. THE ENTIRE REST OF THE PANEL, INCLUDING TONY AND NICK, start singing along, until the audience is joining in.
There’s not been a moment like this since Phill and Brinsley Forde singing When Doves Cry back in the much-maligned Series 17. It’s a wonderful moment.

After Fred adds a few too many drumbeats into ‘All Along the Watchtower’
Joe: “…it’s like Where’s Wally having a stroke.”

When nobody, NOT EVEN BLACKBURN, knows the Hendrix one, Nick brings us right back into ‘Summer Lovin’. Initially, Phill wags his finger, then ANGRILY SINGS ALONG.

Nick, to Noel: “It’s like if your hair and shirt made a song.”
Noel, channeling Bill Bailey: “which…they have made an album or two..”

Thankfully there is some sanity in this audience, as Mike Read, called on by Noel’s team, is FINALLY able to guess it’s ‘James Michael Hendrix’ and All Along the Watchtower. Mike is probably doing more here than he did in his episode in Series 12.

Nancy, as the real clip plays in: ‘Your performance was HORRENDOUS!”
Fred: “I’m gonna put that on our CD, on the front cover…”

As the Ronson clip plays in Noel, crouches over towards Nancy and tries to move with the music so she understands.
Phill: “Ya look like two baddies in a Disney film! ‘COME ON, LADY! LET’S KIDNAP DEM PUPPIES!”
Nancy: “That’s good idea for BBC. New show.”
Noel: “We’re gonna drop an atlas on a Dalmatian.”

There’s this whole runner about Noel and Nancy adopting Conor.
Nick: “What’re you doing later, Nancy?”

Nancy even invites Nick to dinner, and Nick even asks the audience if he should go, basically say he will on account of she’s rich and she’s paying.
Phill: “I can see it now: “FOUR HUNDRED HAPPY MEAL.””
Noel: “Make it quick or the Dalmatian gets it.”

ID Parade:
Fred: “I know that two of the S-Club Juniors are in the Saturdays.”
Joe: “Yes, and the rest of them have Saturday jobs.”

Fred: “She’s got a great skull. I sometimes think about what people’s skulls look like inside their heads-”
Fred: “What, d’you think me and Dell’olio should swap?”
Phill, Italian accent: “OHHHH DO NOT DO THAT.”

There’s a brief conversation about who Nancy’s dating now, which Noel takes offense to (“I know you’re out looking at other men, while me and Conor stay inside and play Battleship..”). They’re trying to figure it out.
Joe: “It’s Tony Blackburn!”
Nick’s buzzer: “TONY BLACKBURN!”
Nick: “Tony, are you Nancy’s new man?”
Tony: “…I AM!”
The whole place applauds. It reminds you how great Blackburn was on the program.

Fred gets his own lyrics, then, smirkingly, goes “OUR ALBUM’S OUT NOW!”
Joe jokingly plugs something ridiculous.
Nick: “Anything to plug, Nancy?”
Phill, taking this the wrong way: “Ooofff..”
The audience even catches on.

Nick does an Italian Next Line for Nancy, which she didn’t understand, so he reads it slower, and sexier.
Noel: “…..I’ve got a boner.”

Overall: BACK ON TRACK! This was the NMTB equivalent to the QI Squirrel episode- a runner that worked, and occasionally added stuff to the episode’s greatness, including Tony Blackburn’s usual exuberance, and Pat Sharp’s deadpan. Nick was a great Guest Host, being loose enough to have great lines. Joe had the best day of everybody, and Fred had some nice lines in there, while Nancy stood her own as the episode’s primary punching bag. Conor was a big quieter, but he was still happy to be there. Great show, decent watchability.

Guest Host Rating: 9/10. Solid job for Nick.
Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Joe
Best Runner: Nancy, Noel and Conor, the family.

Nevermind Watchdown: S26E03

Well, we’ve had two really nice episodes. Who’s the next guest host?

….ah, shit. REALLY?

Jack Whitehall, after not having a great first-run as guest host…IS BACK AGAIN FOR SOME REASON. Well, great.

At least there’s a nice-looking panel, featuring Paul Foot, Danny Jones from McFly, MENA SUVARI FOR SOME REASON (I mean, she was fantastic in American Beauty, but…still an odd choice), and ‘Requisite Comedian’ Celia Pacquola.

Jack, in the introclip: “Say what you will about the Jonas Brothers, but if you ask me, they make McFly look like fucking Nirvana…”

Jack, explaining the Jonas’ purity rings to Celia: “It’s a thing you put on…and then you don’t have sex. It’s like a wedding ring.”
Okay…so far, I’ve cracked a smile or two at Jack. This is odd.

Jack, to Mena: “You ever get any weird stuff from fans?”
Mena: “I did get a letter from prison once…”
Phill: “Yeah, well we’ve all got a terrible uncle…”

Again, the problems I had with Jack last time are sort of the same here. He’s basically Simon Amstell 2.0, and he’s doing a bit too much cheeky digression. The main thing is he’s making the quiz show about himself…when it should be about, you know, the quiz show.

The options for what was left on Dolly Parton’s doorstep are a baby, a cowboy, or a baby cow. The baby cow, which Paul unveils, is just a plate of veal. He’s saddened by this.

Mena: “That is an ugly baby.”
Noel: “If I had a child like that, I’d leave it on Dolly Parton’s doorstep. Go ‘aaaah, you’re beautiful- RIGHT, ON THE STEP!”

Noel relents and tries putting the baby in the cowboy boots.
Jack: “Someone from Social Services is gonna be watching this and have a heart attack…”

Paul: “I mean, you couldn’t leave a live calf, that’d be against the law, wouldn’t it?”
Mena: “…versus a baby?”
Jack: “Yeah, leaving a baby is PRETTY BAD…”
Paul: “NOT IF IT’S DEAD! You can leave a DEAD baby there…”
The audience reacts accordingly.
Paul: “Obviously it’s against the law, but it’s not gonna cause any inconvenience to anyone, is it?”

It makes me happy that this show’s come a ton from its origin. Series 1 they were doing Oasis and the Prodigy in Intros. This episode, Phill and Danny do ‘Gold on the Ceiling’, by the Black Keys.

At least a silver lining to this episode is Paul is still atrocious at intros. Jack even plays in the actual song, and he still doesn’t get it.

Jack, before the second intro: “Look, they’ve been famous for a long time, and they’re famous now.”
Noel, to Mena: “What, should we just wing it?”
Jack: “…fuck it. IT’S COLDPLAY. You just need to get the song.”
Noel, shaking his head: “I can’t believe they’re making me do this…”
Paul: “Is Coldplay the one with James Blunt?”

Jack: “Why don’t we play in the song, then have you guess? Hell, WHY DON’T WE WRITE IT OUT LIKE HANGMAN AS WELL…”

Screen Shot 2017-02-19 at 11.26.01 PM.pngJack: “PAUL! PAUL! THERE’S YOUR CLUE!”

Because Phill honestly doesn’t want to know who did a kiss-and-tell with both Eminem and Robbie Williams, he and the other two panelists all decide to draw a cat.
Jack: “Danny from McFly…drawing a pussy from memory. What a legend.”

Sure enough, Danny gets the wrong idea and draws a vagina, all while Phill’s drawn a happy cat with cream, and Celia’s drawn a Phill cat. Danny eventually shows it, and Jack reams him out: “OH, YOU SICK BASTARD! THIS IS A FAMILY SHOW!”

On Phill’s ID Parade
Paul: “I think I know which one it is…”
Jack: “…just from behind?”

Paul does eventually go up to the Take That ID Parade.
Noel: “He looks like he’s about to hit you…”
Paul: “He can’t hit me, I’ve got show business immunity.”

Overall: Not good, folks. Not good at all. Jack’s cheeky manner made this episode a slog, even with Paul Foot was there to save it, even in his run-in with a legitimate gangster in ID Parade (which I didn’t write down). The panel was dead, and Jack’s bashing of Danny and Mena didn’t work. Mena just seemed alarmed by the whole ordeal. Celia did nothing. A noticeable failure, one that derailed what was looking like a pretty nice series of Buzzcocks.

Guest Host Rating: 4/10. Ugh.
Best Regular: Noel
Best Guest: Paul
Best Runner: Paul and the Gangster.

Nevermind Watchdown: S26E02, or The Filthy Pantomime Horse Joke Show

So, how do we follow an episode of an established comedian DOMINATING Buzzcocks? Let’s get one of the more consistent musician panelists…and get him to host. Uh, for example…uh. Yeah. Example! Get him on!

Also on the panel is the insane combination on Phill’s team of Rufus Hound and Wretch-32, the return of The Choir’s Gareth Gates, and Lianne La Havas, a singer-songwriter who worked with Paloma Faith.

On the Guess Who round:
Screen Shot 2017-02-14 at 1.44.17 AM.png
Rufus: “I think, somewhere, Tom Jones is looking at a paternity suit, whoever it is…”

Example steps away from the actual quiz to make sure Gareth and Wretch get to know each other, possibly to set them up together (he even cues in his song ‘AND THE LOVE KICK STARTS AGAIN…’) It’s kind of an odd digression, and even Rufus is saying how horrifying it is.
Rufus: “I don’t want to know what cocktail parties must be like at your house…”

The question, eventually, is which of Will I Am and Chris Martin, has complained that their music has been used to put horses in the mood for sex.
Phill: “I played Coldplay to my cat, and sterilized it.”
Rufus: “Yeah, and last time I heard a Black Eyed Peas track, I wished instead a horse was fucking me in my ear.”

Noel: “Real horses or pantomime horses?”
Example: “Real horses.”
Phill: “D’you think when you’re shagging a pantomime horse, somebody goes ‘BEHIND YOU!”
Rufus: “You ask a pantomime horse for his phone number and he goes [starts stamping out numbers]”
Wretch: “HORSE CODE!”
Noel: “I just picture a pantomime horse cumming and fabric coming out…”
Example: “We should just make the show about this…”
Noel: “Basically we should just change the name to ‘The Filthy Pantomime Horse Joke Show'”

After Example asks Gareth what music he makes love to:
Phill: “Do you make love to horses?”
Gareth: “…no.”
Noel: “Patti Smith?”
Lianne: “That’s a bit harsh…”
Noel: “…No, her album was called Horses.”
Lianne: “Oh, was it?”

Noel’s question is about whether Nikki Minaj or Jessie J sung a girl out of a coma, and Gareth seems to think it’s Jessie J.
Noel: “What, you’re saying that Minaj would just go ‘THERE’S SOMEBODY IN A COMA WE NEED YOU TO SING NOW!’ ‘I can’t, I’ve just got stuff to do…”

Noel asks Lianne if she’d, hypothetically, sing Noel out of a coma, which she agrees to.
Rufus: “No no. You don’t just start with singing somebody out of a coma, you have to work your way up! Initially you hum someone out of an athsma attack…or whistle someone out of the flu…”
Gareth: “Play the banjo when they’re got herpes, I DON’T KNOW…”
Noel: “He’s better at being me than I am!”

The Phill-Wretch combo in Intros produces two REALLY GOOD intros, one for The Hives’ Main Offender, the other for Lenny Kravitz’ Are You Gonna Go My Way. Just having Wretch, usually a dry presence but kicking back here, helping out is wonderful.

Example: “Lenny Kravitz is half-Jewish, half-black, whereas I look Jewish and wish I were black.”
Wretch even gives him a fist-bump after this one.

Example brings up a bunch of army wives to help Gareth guess his.
Lianne: “It’s like your specialist subject…”
Noel: “…is Rambo porn.”

Rufus: ‘Sorry, are we bothering at any point to justify THIS? We’re all perfectly happy- IN 2012, we’re just gonna have some ladies come out, and- I’m sure you’re all doctors, and rocket surgeons…”

Noel: “It is quite Rambo-esque, isn’t it?”
Gareth: “It is. I’m glad the heating’s on…”

ID Parade:
Rufus: “Yeah, I’m pretty certain it’s #2, and the reason I am is because when Example said the geezer’s name, he actually turned round, as if he’d been summoned for a conversation.”
Wretch: ‘TONY!”
#2: [Looks, then sighs, annoyedly]

Screen Shot 2017-02-14 at 9.12.37 PM.pngRufus: “I can make this slightly easier for you, because #5 is actually my dad-”

By the third ‘AND THE LOVE KICK STARTS AGAIN’ segment, Gareth is literally banging his head on the desk in frustration…like most viewers, I imagine.

This bit has Gareth and Wretch give each other stupid nicknames.
Noel: “…yeah, nothing stupid, like Wretch 32…”

Wretch says he’s never slept with a groupie.
Example: “What about you, Gareth. Any soldier’s wives?”
Gareth: “NO. NO. NO.”
Example: “Look, their husbands are all away in Afghanistan…”
Gareth: “And they’ve got GUNS…AND HELICOPTERS…and they know where I live. NO…..wasn’t me.”

The final round, instead of Next Lines, is…okay, I’ll admit it, an intriguing twist. Example introduces a category, such as ‘Worst X-Factor winners’, and if a team matches an answer with one on Example’s card, they get a point. It’s actually a nice idea.

Example: “Give me an Example of an overly-muscular pop star.”
Phill: “[chuckles]- THAT WOULD BE MADONNA…”

Example: “Give me an example of the most annoying member of Jedward.”
Noel: “The one on the right!”
Example: “…we would have accepted ‘Jed’ or ‘Ward’…”

Overall: Another really nice episode, despite Example not being an outstanding guest host. Look, he had good reads, good moments, but on the whole he was a bit too unmemorable to truly make an impact. Plus, the whole ‘love kick’ runner with Gareth and Wretch felt a bit forced, and never truly got off the ground. THAT BEING SAID…Rufus, Gareth and Wretch all had really nice nights, and even if Lianne was quieter, she still had some great moments. So panel-wise, as well as moment wise, this was still a pretty nice one.

Guest Host Rating: 8/10- not perfect, but passable.
Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Rufus
Best Runner: Pantomime Horses.

Nevermind Watchdown: S26E01, or I Found Something That Works, and I’m Sticking With It

Alright, it’s been a while. Time for another Buzzcocks series.

By this point, NMTB had sort of found its early-2010’s niche, and was definitely more pop-oriented and less quiz-oriented. Still, the series chugged along. Tonight, Kathy Burke, comedy legend and French & Saunders player, hosts the show. Should be pretty fun.

The panel consists of approx. one returning player, that being Sarah Millican, who’ll probably do well tonight. Mark Hoppus, lead singer of Blink-182, is also here…which is pretty surprising, as well as Fazer from N-Dubz, and …Olympian long-jumper Greg Rutherford? Maybe somebody dropped out?

Also, interesting to note…no cold open. Hm. Maybe they’re growing up a smidge.

Maybe in lieu of that, the captains and host get Olympics-style intros, thanks to this episode coming on the heels of the all-important London Olympics. The captains have stunt doubles do their insane jumps for them. Kathy tries it herself and falls. This may be what we’re in for.

As Snoop Dogg is the subject of Phill’s round, Fazer brings up that around that point he’d changed his name to ‘Snoop Lion’, and was doing a reggae album.
Noel: “What’s his name? Snoop Layin’?”
Phill: “You know what that means, right? Evolution. I think his next incarnation will be Snoop Buffalo…”
Noel: “I was gonna say Buffalo…I was thinking of a larger animal…”

Kathy seems to have the right ‘nudge nudge wink wink’ attitude. She has a standup about Snoop’s song-book being made from rolling papers, “or, if you prefer, you can get it in an e-book. [WINK]”

After the wink gets a huge response, Kathy: “I’m just gonna use that throughout the whole show. I found something that works, and I’m sticking with it.”

After the Bieber clip
Mark: “…did he just say ‘shawty’ in that?”
Kathy: “I don’t know what he said, the little twat…”

Mark, proving why he was a tremendous overdue get: ‘I think it was the Bieber vitamins, because I remember the ad for it, it was ‘it’s the fastest way to get me inside you…”
Kathy, laughing: ‘I do remember that…”
Mark: “He looks at the camera and goes ‘swallow me’?”

Kathy does say that she’s happy that Greg’s here, because she wanted an Olympian. However, possibly lampshading the original person in his seat, she goes “and obviously…I would have preferred Mo Farra…”

Noel, to Greg: “D’you ever think about anything mid-flight? Like, ‘boy, I really would fancy some toast…'”
Greg: “It goes so quickly that I never really-”
Noel: “D’you ever…not land?”
Sarah: “D’you land in sand? D’you ever worry if you’re gonna land in a dog-poo or something?”

Kathy does commit to some of the stunts, but wholeheartedly. She says to Greg that he’s become one of the many ‘flame-headed’ celebrities who get shat on by comedians, and says “I’m not into that, you see….SO LET’S PLAY, NAME THAT GINGER!!!”

Kathy gives some clues, and Greg guesses “oh, it’s that one out of Girls Aloud?”
Kathy: “EXACTLY! That one out of Girls Aloud!”
Phill: “Is that officially her name now? The one out of Girls Aloud?”
Kathy: “That’s what I’ve got on the card! ‘The one…from Girls Aloud!”

The next one Kathy gives clues for is, well, Greg, but Greg insists that one of the facts, that he likes karaoke, is false, as he’s never been.
Noel: “I’d love it if right after the show you went straight to the karaoke bar…”

Kathy: “I am characterized by my strong, sweet, yet woody smell-”
Kathy: “I have been used since ancient times to help digestive problems-”
Mark: “OH! GINGER!”

Kathy: “Who Am I…it doesn’t say this on the card, but she’s really fuckin’ annoying.”
Sarah: “Geri Halliwell”

Kathy: “Now, Justin’s broken a lot of young girls’ hearts…I say hearts. Hymens.”
That was almost EXACTLY a Mark Lamarr joke, and she delivered it perfectly. Man, Kathy Burke’s no-fucks-given approach is selling this show.

Sarah, after Fazer and Phill’s 1st intro: “When you both started screaming…it sounded like what a stroke must sound like in your head…”

After the Aerosmith intro, Kathy: “A lot of buildup, lot of foreplay coming from Steven…”
Noel: “Do you fancy Steven Tyler?”
Kathy: “Oh, I DOOOO…I’m nearly fifty, mate, OF COURSE I THINK HE’S SEXY. HE’S STILL ALIVE!”

Kathy: ‘The Isley Brothers were once a six-piece band but two of the members died. Now I know what you’re thinking…”If only that would happen to Jedward…”

Again, more proof that Mark was perfect for NMTB: Right before going into an intro of Somebody I Used to Know, Mark, under his breath, goes “oh god…”

Mark and Noel’s intro for Muse’s Survival (the Olympics theme) is a sight to be beheld, just a bass-song that just gets considerably higher and stringier. It’s just hysterical.

When they place it in, Kathy just starts dancing to it, like dramatically.
Noel: “If I were training for the Olympics, that’s the exact kind of music I’d want to listen to. Just sounds like someone’s coming after you with a knife…”

This is a nice touch: for Phill’s ID Parade, they have to guess which is the kid from the cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind album. Nice twist on the round.

They even get to ask him stuff afterwards.
Phill: “How much sex did you get from being on that cover…”
Spencer: “I think…at least twice I got laid from being that kid…”

Noel’s side has to figure out which of the ID Parade is a Miley Cyrus superfan who’s tattooed his entire body with Miley stuff. So, twist to the round this week…maybe they couldn’t get talent.

#5 in Noel’s is “He cost so much to get him on the show that we figured we might as well get another use out of him, IT’S SPENCER ELDON THE NIRVANA BABY!”
Noel: “…is it #5?”

As they’re talking to #1, the actual superfan.
Mark, channeling Dave Fulton: “Can we ask #4 why he’s looked so depressed this whole time?”

Next Lines: “Say it ain’t so, I will not go.”
Mark, nodding: “Turn the lights off, carry me home…”
Kathy: “Beautiful…”
Mark: “THAT’S OUR SONG!!!”

Kathy: “Phill’s team, you need 7 points to win!”
Kathy: “Well, give it a go…”
…That’s like word-for-word a Mark Lamarr line from the video special. Maybe it’s like Spectre, where it’s just a drawn-out homage.

Kathy: “I’ve got passion in my pants, and I ain’t afraid to show it.”
Phill: “PFFFFFF…”
Sarah: “I’ve got some cream from the doctor’s?”

Kathy: “Oooh, baby, I’m hot, just like an oven.”
Sarah: “…but I need to go clean?”

Kathy even signs off by thanking “Mark Hoppus and Greg Jumpus…Rutherford…”

Overall: A promising and insanely watchable start to the series. It helped having Kathy Burke as guest host, as she felt well with the show’s brand of humor, as well as being legitimately funny and loose. Despite Greg not doing a great deal, this was a nice panel, the best surprise being Mark Hoppus being INSANELY GAME and INSANELY FUNNY. Sarah had some good lines, Fazer had some nice moments. Not a ton of problems here.

Guest Host Rating: 9/10. Solid job, Kathy.
Best Regular: Noel
Best Guest: Mark
Best Runner: Nevermind Baby

QI Watchdown: H16 (History)

Well, it’s taken us about a year, but we’ve FINALLY made it to the end of Series H. While this has had some pretty nice moments, the bulk of the series was pretty ‘meh’. There weren’t a ton of bad episodes, and there were some great ones here and there, but in the midst of what’s considered by many as a golden era of QI, this is a tad disappointing.

Tonight, we have three of the more civilized, intelligent people in Qi on the same panel: Rob Brydon, Sandi Toksvig and David Mitchell. Only David has been on an above-par episode this season, the Health and Safety show, and while Rob and Sandi have had some great showings, they haven’t themselves been a part of a great show. Hopefully this changes tonight.

Stephen, top of the show: “Let’s start out with something nice and easy: name a henge…”
Panel: “….”
Alan: “Now, come on…”

David gets the first klaxon of the night (which is rather quick for a bunch of really smart people) by guessing Seahenge, which Stephen says just has ‘henge’ in it, and isn’t a henge.
Alan: “So, the word henge in it…that, uh, that’s wrong?”

Talking of the Druids at Stonehenge:
Rob: “Presumably…I mean, they can’t all have parked miles away, they must have stickers in their windows with a little druid sign on it…which also gets them into KKK meetings…”
Stephen: “They just have to straighten up their headdresses…”
Rob: “They can park near the burning cross.”

Stephen asks what carhenge is, and Rob’s initially quite confident, but the picture changes and he’s like “maybe it’s not that.”
Eventually he says “it was featured on the liner notes for Bruce Springsteen’s The River, part of the song Cadillac Ranch…it’s all these Cadillacs, and- oh, that’s not it, is it?”
[The shot is panned all the way out, as if the klaxon’s about to sound]
Stephen: “It is!”
Rob: “IT IS! IT IS!”

Stephen: “It was a memorial to his father.”
Sandi: “Was he killed in a car accident?”

Stephen talks about lay lines, including an example, of how every Woolworth’s lines up to an exact picture.
Sandi: “It does look like if you folded it one more time, you’d get a frog.”
David: “Surely there are more…”
Stephen: “Oh, there are hundreds more-”
David: “So it’s been very selective.”
Stephen: “What, and people who believe in lay lines AREN’T?”

Stephen passes around ancient golden bowls. Alan says that his has a hole in the bottom.
Stephen: “You’ve all got holes in the bottom?”
Stephen realizes the flaw here, and responds with a “HEY!”
Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 11.38.16 PM.png

Rob: “You know what I’d use this for? If I were eating pistachios at home, while watching the Emmerdale omnibus…I would use this to-”
Stephen and Alan: “KILL YOURSELF!”

Stephen says that an older way of measuring time was setting candles so that a cannon would go off at twelve noon.
Sandi: “That must be a fantastic way to wake the children.”
Alan: “Yeah, in a hail of bullets. ‘GET READY FOR SCHOOL!’ ‘BUHBUHBUHBUHBUHBUH!”
Stephen: “DANCE!”

Additionally, China had a type of joss stick that would burn for increments of time, and would change scents in intervals.
Sandi: “Oooh, it’s cinnamon, I must collect the children!”

Stephen tells the panel that sponges can reform their initial shape after liquidation.
David: “So, they’re essentially like terminators?”
Stephen: “YES! EXACTLY! But Terminator 2.”
David: “So it’s definitely evil? Like, it could destroy all sponges?”
Rob: “That’s only natural sponge, not the one you get at Halford’s…”

Stephen: “Time speeds up as you get older. I had an aunt in her 90s who said “GOSH, IT CAN’T BE BREAKFAST *AGAIN!*”

David: “What, to the queen mother, everything ever 1964 has just been a big BLUR! She must have thought ‘my horses are DEFINITELY getting quicker!”

Then, this comes up on the behind-screen:
Screen Shot 2017-02-10 at 5.59.36 PM.pngAlan, to David: “You look hilarious on the end…”
Stephen: “THAT…is a CHARACTER. Somebody has got to write a sitcom around David Mitchell’s character…”
David: “I feel like, in this war film, I die about 2/3rd of the way through…”

Sandi, proving again that she’s a welcome presence on the show, tells a story about reboarding a plane after a plane in front of them had crashed, and the pilot saying, on the intercom, “I know many of you are seasoned travelers and don’t normally watch the safety instructions, but PERHAPS TODAY…”

Stephen reports that plane patrons are at ease with a pilot with an Edinburgh accent, immediately followed by, in a Billy Connolly accent, “I DUUN’T THINK THA’D BE VERY GOOD…”

Sandi brings up that the chairman of the pork pie association is a vegetarian, and David is completely baffled.
Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 2.45.42 PM.png
David: “Yes, but how…what-”
Stephen: “HE’S ANGRY, NOW!”
David: “No, I’m absolutely…god, what’s this man DONE with his life? You can’t, on one hand, say that it’s wrong to eat animals, and then dedicate your life to marketing a ground-up pig!”
Stephen: “…you’ve got a point!”
David: “It’s just like a pacifist…nuclear weapons manufacturer!”
Alan: “Maybe he thought it was a job being chairman of Porkpie HATS…”

On what this object is:
Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 2.50.24 PM.png
Sandi: “Is it an over-large hearing aid?”
Stephen: “Yes.”
Sandi: “…WHAT?” [bursts out laughing]

Stephen: “Who succeeded Harold as King of England in 1066?”
Sandi: “…Is there a trick to this?”
Stephen: “…No, you just need to name the person that succeeded Harold as King in 1066…”

Overall: True to form for this season, a ‘good enough’ ending. Nobody had a truly bad day, but the episode only occasionally got out of a ‘middling’ rut. Sandi probably had the best night, followed by David, not to close a quieter Rob out. Just a quieter, ho-hum show, not bad but just middling.

MVP: Sandi
Best Guest: David
Best QI Fact: Bowlingtons

Best Episode: H1, Hodge Podge, featuring an insanely on-panel, a great debut from Ross Noble, and a toblerone-rolo combo.
2nd Best Episode: H14, Hocus Pocus, featuring a surprisingly game Daniel Radcliffe, Lee Mack arguing about the I-before-E joke, Graham Norton answering a question about sailors, and the show ending with a dead panelist.
Worst Episode: H3, Hoaxes. Mostly thanks to an emphasis on information, and Danny Baker, this one never really got off the ground, despite Sean Lock’s best efforts.
Episode Most Worthy of Another Watch: H10, Health and Safety. Just a nice episode I undervalued a bit in the initial watchdown that still has enough great moments…mostly thanks to Ross Noble.
Best In-Episode Runner: Gyles Brandreth’s insistence on touching Sue Perkins, H2: H-Anatomy. Just the way this got funnier as it went along, especially with Sue’s horror.
Best Recurring Guest: Ross Noble, for being a newcomer to the series and ABSOLUTELY DOMINATING three episodes. Impressive stuff, especially considering he’s a fixture for the rest of the run.
Most Underused Recurring Guest: Rich Hall. A quieter, less present showing on two occasions.
Most Improved: Jack Dee, for being a nice presence on two pretty nice episodes.
Worst Guest: Ruby Wax, H5, H-Animals, for not adding anything and for just being confused by the proceedings.
Best Guest Appearance: Eddie Izzard, H9, House and Home, for…being Eddie Izzard and having a grand old time.
Guest We Wish Wasn’t Done After this Series: Graham Norton, H14, Hocus Pocus. Because he’s always a nice presence in episodes, and…I wish he was on more.
Most Welcome Return: Gyles Brandreth, H2, H-Anatomy, for coming back and knowing everything, yet still contributing fairly to a pretty nice episode, and playing well with the rest of the panel.
Rookie of the Year: Ross Noble. See above.
Best Single Moments: Toblerone-Rolo Combo (H1: Hodge-Podge), Pushing hippopotami into the swimming pool (H5: H-Animals), The Quickfire Hypothetical Round that Took Ages, (H8: Hypothetical), Blowing Smoke up Someone’s Ass (H10: Health and Safety), CEILING! (H14: Hocus Pocus), IT’S NOT THERE! MIRAGE! (H15: Hypnosis).