So…this is one I’ve been waiting to talk about for a while. For a number of reasons.
Firstly, I want to talk about what QI did with panel-stacking this series (and onward). Over the next few series’, BBC would employ a rule that panel shows should have at least one female panelist, and/or a minority, every show. Which is fine, as it gives opportunities to people who may not get them often. But also around this time, QI would get into a habit of deliberately stagnating panelists, and trying to mix in new talent. A lot of shows in this series, and others, would have a format of ‘one anchor, one joke-supplier and one newbie/guest’. For example, last show had Ross as an anchor, Sue as a joke supplier, and Julia as a guest/newbie. This is a far cry from the early series’ idea of ‘let’s just put a combination of three people we like on here’, which…worked a bit better.
So, if we’re going by ‘anchor-joke supplier-guest/newbie’…then what the fuck are we to make of THIS lineup?
Our anchor would be Reginald D. Hunter, who’s only been on once before, and didn’t do a great job of it, talking over the rest of the panel a great deal. He’s the anchor because the other two haven’t been on QI before.
Our joke supplier would be Greg Proops, who…actually is a nice fit for QI, as he does bill himself as ‘the smartest person in the world’, and, as readers should know, is a favorite of mine. As a matter of fact, he would have been a great person to host a US version of QI.
Our guest is David O’Doherty, another person who seems nominally like a good fit, but needs a good room if he wants to really gel well, and…I’m not sure if this is one.
So…a panel of two newbies and Reg D. Hunter. This will be…interesting.
Greg seems amused by David’s bird buzzer. All the first three are loud, wild animals; Alan’s is a cricket.
Stephen: “Where does the lion sleep tonight…”
Alan: “Is this gonna be a trick, where they don’t sleep in the night?”
Greg: “Or they don’t sleep in the jungle?”
Stephen: “You’re right-”
Greg: “Man, I am NAILING this game…”
Stephen: “Because, where do lions live?”
David: “…..office buildings.”
Good to have David back on this blog.
Alan: “…I was gonna say Luton, I dunno why…”
About lions eating other animals for nutrients
Reg: “So instead of eating vegetables…you eat something that DOES eat vegetables.”
Greg: “I feel better about my diet now…”
Alan slyly says ‘Lion King’ before Stephen does, then turns to Greg, smirks, and goes “I’ll get points for that.”
Greg: “Will you?”
Alan nods. It’s like he’s teaching Greg how to QI. This will come into play later on.
On revealing the original writer of the Lion Sleeps Tonight only got a pound for doing so, Stephen brings it back to the actual ‘Lion Sleeps Tonight’ thing being a ‘black lie’
Alan: “He doesn’t sleep in the jungle, he doesn’t sleep at night, and he’s lucky to get a pound for it…”
Stephen: “What would be the best way for Tarzan to get around the jungle?”
Reg: “Well, uh, without a family, I would guess…”
Alan: “He gets around by swimming, and swinging on [to Greg] what is it called?”
Then, immediately, Alan points to Greg as it goes off, as he set him up for it.
Stephen: “YOU TRAPPED HIM!”
He bangs on his buzzer in disgust.
Stephen: “Oh, Alan, you wicked, wicked…”
Alan: “I feel really good tonight…I feel I’ve finally nailed this game…”
Greg: “I didn’t know you were gonna use your jedi powers on me, Davies….I come in here with every good intention, and the next thing I know I’m providing answers to you…”
Greg talks about gibbons swinging from vines, and Stephen responds by playing a clip of one, which Greg’s initially kinda surprised they had supplied already.
Alan, buzzing in, points to the screen: “Orangutan.”
He then turns to Greg, and goes “four.”
Greg: “I’d like to say that Alan is tarzan’s chimp, because cheetahs never prosper.”
Reg has a ‘heard it through the grapevine’ joke that I saw coming a mile away. Also, David has said one line so far.
Alan, after hearing that Caesar birthed the words Kaiser and Czar, says to Greg ‘see, you learn something new everyday’
Greg: “I’m not talking to you anymore.”
After Stephen congratulates Alan for another right answer, Reg sums up the whole show: “Yeah, it’s interesting that the two people that be on this show every week are doing the best…”
Stephen mentions that anything you put in front of a bonobo chimp, ‘it will shag’.
Alan: “Even Russell Brand?”
Stephen: “About 8% of lion sex is gay.”
Reg reacts to this a bit: “So did you get that from, like, a book about lion facts, or did you get that from a gay man?”
Stephen: “But there’s only one species that exhibits homophobia, and that’s mankind-”
Alan: “I really thought you were gonna say elephants then…”
Greg: “I mean, how did they get the figure 8%? That’s a lot of research. I mean, I saw the Lion King and I didn’t see any of that going on…but I did feel the love…”
Stephen: “The circle of life had a whole new meaning, didn’t it?”
Of course David is gonna get a few questions right in this jungle-animal-themed QI. He literally wrote a book about pandas. This is one of his specialized subjects…which is why I’m surprised he’s not saying more.
Greg gets a right answer in saying the red-faced monkey is South American. He looks next to him, smirks, and goes “I’m comin’ up on a point, Alan.” I am loving the Greg-Alan dynamic so far. It’s just really working. Also, because it’s two of the fringe TV stars of the 90s, Greg from Whose Line and Alan from Jonathan Creek, coming together and goofing off.
Stephen brings up a point that seeing animals in cages in zoos is quite depressing.
David: “Also, the ice cream at zoos is very expensive, so that’s another depressing aspect…”
Stephen, talking about the ‘plastron’ denotations: “A turtle’s underbelly is also called a plastron, and so…is a man’s stiff…formal…shirt-front.”
Greg: [fans himself]
On ants converging together to float on water for transportation:
David: “That’s how I got here from Dublin this morning…”
Stephen: “But we do have an interesting experiment- I do love to do an experiment-”
Alan, to Greg: “He DOES love to do an experiment.”
This didn’t get a lot of response, but I still love the ‘Alan explaining QI to Greg’ runner.
Stephen’s experiment, involving the weight of sand in water, is a very cool one, and causes Alan and David to yell “WITCHCRAFT” and “SORCERY” as he does it.
Stephen, like last episode, tries to get around mentioning a brand name but lampshades exactly what it does “and it rhymes with something called GotchScard”.
Stephen mentions a kangaroo that smells of curry, and Alan goes into an Australian accent. One show short of having an actual Australian in the room…which is odd, considering the amount of Oceanians on this series.
On the animal, bearcat, that smells like freshly baked popcorn
Alan: “Is it slightly overpriced? And is the medium one the exact same price as the large one?”
David: “Their birth is apparently unique, because they’re born as a very small egg, and then on a hot day…they just pop into the air…”
Stephen asks what a specific butterfly smells like
Alan: “…finger of fudge.”
Stephen: “I’ve got to give it to you, because the answer is chocolate.”
Alan: [fist-bumps Greg]
David: “You two have developed a bizarre understanding…”
David, taking this the wrong way: “So chocolate is ground-up butterflies?”
Okay, he’s finally getting some good stuff out there
Greg has some good points about the Amazons who settled in North America, and the pigs that killed off most of the population with infectious diseases. Yeah, in addition to being really funny, he also aces the informational part of the show, which makes me wonder why, especially with his friend Sandi hosting the show now, he hasn’t been back on the program.
On the larva eating the frog from the outside
David: “He was a prince as well!”
Reg, after the clip: “Wait a minute, I didn’t see the end, who won?”
Stephen: “We were too tasteful to show you the outcome.”
David: “They shake hands, and they go ‘we’ve both learned a valuable lesson here…”
Reg: “Did you know that 8% of predator-pray relationships are homosexual?”
On the clip of a frog waving his arms
Reg: “I’m thinking…is there a plane-load of frogs coming in?”
David, getting it, does the sort of ‘waving the plane in’ hand signals
Stephen, still on frogs: “There are other ways of catching mates, which are unusual”
Alan: “…the internet.”
Stephen talks about the species of spider that attaches their sperm to their antennae, and waves them around, saying essentially “I’ve got some sperm for you!”
Reg: “I used to do that to my ex-girlfriend…”
Stephen: “Why am I not surprised by the word ‘ex’ in there?”
Stephen: “Alan, what I’d like you to do is press your buzzer.”
Alan, knowing Stephen: “….”
Stephen: “It’s not a trap-”
Alan: “It’s GONNA BE a trap…”
Stephen asks him what’s making the cricket noise on his buzzer
Alan: “…it’s one of two things…it’s either the one that makes the noise by inflating its thorax…or the one that makes the noise by rubbing its back legs together.”
KLAXON: BY RUBBING ITS LEGS TOGETHER
Alan: “…so…I think it was…the first one…”
Stephen says that the ‘crickets rub their hind legs’ thing is “a weird fallacy that people cling to. I’ve clung to fallacies…”
Alan turns…realizes what this sounds like, and shakes his head. David’s cracking a bit too. Alan just turns to Greg, as he has all episode, and goes “he said it’s a weird phallus that people cling to! He said that!”
Greg: “He said…fallacies! That means ‘many phalluses’
Stephen, continuing: “‘rubbing body pa-‘ oh god, it’s getting worse, sorry…”
Stephen mentions the Snowy Tree Cricket…which was a plot point on an episode of Big Bang Theory. I can’t not correlate that.
Stephen says that this cricket can, with a mathematical formula, predict temperature.
David: “I’d still prefer a thermometer up my bum if I was in hospital…”
Stephen: “What lives underwater, and is the loudest animal in the world for its size.”
Greg, channeling Rich Hall: “Oprah.”
Alan: “…is it gonna be a blue whale.
Stephen: “You know those things that seem to walk on water, d’you know what they’re called?”
David, completely serious: “…Our Lord?”
The Jolly Jape involves rubbing a rod to produce a high pitched frequency which an insect uses as a phallus to attract mates. It’s very amusing, and Alan and Stephen have the loudest noises, but Alan, sighing afterward, punctuates it by going “no females have attracted, Stephen”
Then, Alan starts doing it from under the table, giving an even louder sound.
David: “And he’s doing THAT with his penis!”
Greg: “yeah, he put the rod down hours ago…”
Stephen: “Is a zebra black with white stripes or white with black stripes?”
Alan: “…black with [to Greg] what do YOU think?”
Reg: “I’d say they’re black with white lines.”
Stephen: “Well, they’re actually white with black stripes.”
Reg: “Well, you WOULD say that, white man.”
Somewhere, Nish Kumar encounters his bit.
Proof that this show works: at literally the eleventh hour, right before Stephen announces the scores, David comes up with ‘The Credible Hulk’, which is a concept that Stephen finds admirable, and Greg finds hysterical. So literally, last beat of the show, and the main contributors [read: everyone but Reg] are all giggling at ‘The Credible Hulk’
Despite Alan’s great start, he still ends up losing, which is sad.
Overall: From the comments section, I was prepared for a dull, disjointed QI…which is NOT AT ALL the one I got. Not even remotely. Greg, Alan and David were all collaborating, doing fun gags, and keeping the spirit of the game intact, while Stephen and Alan were especially sharp. Greg had a fantastic time, especially in sitting next to Alan while he essentially explained the game to him. David was a bit quieter, but definitely had funnier moments down the stretch. Reg…kept to himself, and his few funny moments were at the expense of the show’s integrity, or easy, low blows. He’s only on one or two more of these, but hopefully, like tonight, there’ll be a panel to supplant his energy. Definitely a favorite of mine on the season so far, even if it did have a lull or two.
Best Guest: Greg
Show Winner: Reg
Best QI Fact: Ants converging for transportation
Best Runner: Alan’s asides to Greg