After a thrilling E9, we end the regulation bit of this series with an episode featuring, well, Josie and the famous SERIES REGULAR git, plus voice-actor and impressionist Enn Reitel and…STEPHEN FRY, for his last appearance until Series 9. I’m certain this will be a good one (as I may have scene certain bits from this one several times).
Authors: The Day I Became a Merchant Banker
Stephen: 1001 Arabian Nights
Josie: Mary Shelley
Enn: Dashiell Hammett
John: Frank Richards
Stephen gets things going by not only nailing the style, but being very funny, so already we’re off to a rousing start.
It’s a one-round game, and it SORT OF gets off the ground. Again, John gets way too much time on his own.
Story: Tarzan and the Lager Louts
Moral: Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
You can vaguely hear Josie whispering something to some people, the other players I presume, as Clive gets the suggestions from the audience, referring to ‘last time’. Maybe she knew how badly things had gone last time, and was trying to change it herself.
As hectic as this game can be, and as frenzied and eye-roll-inducing as it was back when George McGrath helmed it in E6, this game is a success on so many levels, mostly because Stephen’s storytelling. He even starts with a variation on “are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.”
Normally I’d balk at John for presenting a flamboyantly gay Tarzan, but…here it works. Maybe it’s because he’s actually working with people.
Stephen: “Jane…swung casually in.”
Already, there’s some great character stuff- they’re both hungover, bickering, and Josie wants John to be ‘more like the Tarzan in the novels, more BUTCH!’, but the scene really gets going when Enn, as the lager lout, strolls into the scene.
Stephen: “Suddenly, and really without any warning at all…”
Enn, realizing he probably should do something; “SCUSE ME!”
And he wanders off and pukes.
Stephen, cross: “the lager lout…vomited…”
Stephen: “Tarzan’s patience was beginning to wear thin. He began to kick the lager lout in the stomach.”
Enn, ever the smartass, begins to sit down: “I’ll sit down over here if you don’t mind…”
Just as John’s about to lose hope for that objective, Stephen WILLS him to do it nonetheless.
Stephen: “But the lager lout, CAUGHT…first one leg, of Tarzan’s, which he held firmly in his hand, and then the other leg. And the moral of the story is don’t put all your legs in one bastard.”
BUZZ. BRAVO. Josie and John are giggling as they head back to the chairs. Clive even applauds the move as ‘brilliant.’
I may have quoted half the scene, but this is one of my favorites, and proof that you can take something that seems set in stone and play around with it. Great scene.
World’s Worst: Thing to say when being introduced to the royal family
Stephen: “…..womp some skull on that, bitch!”
Stephen, in the background: “I’m so sorry. I’m SO sorry. I didn’t say anything.”
Stephen: “…Hm, that reminds me, I really must buy a stamp…”
Alright round, but Stephen had the best lines.
Props: John and Stephen vs. Josie and Enn
Stephen: “Matron, I was playing frisbee, and…”
Josie: “My problems all started the day my father told me he was to marry a ginormous grub.”
Josie ends up bending the prop, and releasing…right at the prop hits Enn in the crotch. We get literally the first seconds of impact before we cut to most wholesome programming:
Stephen: “Try and keep the stomach really firm…if you’ve got a partner who wants to do it with you…”
Couples: Fortune Teller and Customer
As the scene starts, John and Enn are doing a great physical gag in just walking in unison, which proves they can at least work together.
You can see the problem immediately- Enn’s doing a fantastic Dustin Hoffman, and John is….not even trying to do a Lawrence Olivier.
In the Fox & Sinden bit, Enn’s impression does resemble Benedict Cumberbatch doing some impression.
John, doing a very good Alec Guinness: “I want to know whether the words…on the blackboard of life…can be said…any slower…than the way…I SAY them…”
John, as Barney Rubble: “D’you know what I wanna know? How come when we bend over, our balls don’t pop out of those little shirt things we wear?”
Enn, as Fred Flintstone, over the buzzer: “BECAUSE WE’RE NOT SEAN CONNERY, THAT’S WHY…”
John and Enn’s last one, Reagan and Gorbachev, ends in a rather amusing Roger Miller duet, which proves that while the plot was sort of lost along the way, the scene was still funny enough.
Wrong Theme Tune: Josie & Stephen- contraception (w. Blue Peter music)
This was an early cousin of Scene to Music, and I never dug this one as much as the latter one, because they can’t really do a scene.
Josie: “As you can see, the frogs have been having a WILD time, haven’t they?”
Stephen: “Yes, those cello-taped condoms didn’t really work, did they?”
Good enough playing, but went on a bit too long for my tastes.
After Stephen stretches to a ‘handy tip’ pun to end the game.
Clive: “Well, we’ll just end it there, where we’re in at least hailing distance away from a taste barrier….69 points for each of you.”
Oh dear. Just as Clive announces the game:
Clive: “…and they ALL LOVE IT…”
Enn, as he approaches the stage: “THE CONTRACTIONS HAVE STARTED!”
Clive, as Richard starts the keyboard drumbeat: “We’ve got Ginger Baker this week, take it away, Ging…”
John flies through his so quickly that it’s barely coherent. Enn’s is…very coherent, but cringeworthy, and you can tell how much he hates this game.
Josie has the best verse of everyone’s, because she’s the only one of the four who’s actually at home in a singing game.
Stephen: “MARY HAAAD A LITTLE LAMB- no, I’m sorry I can’t do that.
Stephen, 2nd try: “Oh, yes, I’m, uh, terribly fond of, uh…”
Stephen, like his Hoedown, talks through his, not really paying attention to rhyme scheme or common sense. It’s very amusing, and he’s sort of trying, but…the whole point is that it’s kind of pathetic.
Overall: A step or so down from last show, but still a nice enough note to end the regulation of the series on. None of the four had a particularly bad day, but Enn was awkward in some scenes, though he did do well in Couples. John had a better day, but still had his pitfalls. Josie had some nice moments, but not enough of them. Stephen dominated every game he was in, even the rap.
Show Winner: Stephen
Best Performer: Stephen. Not particularly close, and it’ll be sad watching 7 series without him.
Worst Performer: Enn by default, for not being as good as the other three.
Best Game: Story. One of my favorites.
Worst Game: Authors. Never really got going.