QI Watchdown: I2 (International), or ‘Do What Ya Like, Wing Commander..’

We started with a great one, and now Series I rolls towards a pretty strong lineup- David Mitchell, Bill Bailey and Jack Dee. Three people that are well-suited to take this one pretty seriously. No Lee Macks or Johnny Vegases hiding in the distance, waiting to throw everything off.

The buzzers, as this an international theme, are all flight calls between countries/cities with I names (India to Islamabad). Alan’s is ‘UNEXPECTED ITEM IN BAGGING AREA…”

Stephen goes over the Nobody Knows bonus for the new members.
Bill: “What are the points that you gain by using it correctly?”
Stephen: “…I think we all agree that nobody in this universe understands the QI scoring system…”
Bill: “So, by that logic, were someone to raise the subject of the scoring system and I were to raise the card…”

After a discussion on the scorekeepers
Alan: “I wonder what the score is NOW?…”
Stephen, checking: “…amazingly, Bill has 3, and everyone else has zero…”
David, amid applause: ‘WHY *THREE?*”

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 9.20.31 PM.pngStephen asks what would happen if the pilot and co-pilot were unable to land the plane
David: “I’d stop reading the kindle on the steering wheel…”

There’s a disagreement over what they call the guy on the plane who takes money for duty free. Jack says that he calls himself the Bursa-
Bill: “Yeah, he calls himself that…”
David: “Or is that the PURSA? The BURSA is the one who does the money for public schools.”
Bill: “Yeah, what kind of planes are you flyin’ on? ‘YES, THE BURSA will be coming around, collecting money for the end-of-term Jamboree…”
Stephen: “Here on this charterhouse flight…”
David: “The Bursa with the trolley…and then with the drinks, the groundsman.”

Stephen, bringing up another point: ‘Now, why do I say LuncHES here?”
Bill: “…because there’s more than one.”

Alan, listing a fact: “There are nearly 400,000 people in the air at any given time.”
Stephen, post-applause: “There’s no question that trampolining is a very popular sport…”

Stephen shows an example of the feats of the early auto-pilot:
Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 9.32.19 PM.pngJack: “…you wouldn’t want to be ball-boy, would you…”

Bill gets a question right, which even he’s surprised by.
David: “Another 4.5 points!”

On the world’s shortest commercial flight:
Jack: “Do they just lift off, throw peanuts at you, then land?”
Stephen: “Even worse is that the return ticket is 39 pounds!”
David: “Why don’t they just build a BRIDGE?”
Bill: “It’s a great flight. They just go over the exits, and go “…well, here we are!”

Stephen talks about how before World War I, the British army was required to all have mustaches. They cut back to him, and all of the sudden:
Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 9.40.17 PM.pngHe even throws in a ‘BAAAAHHHH’ after it’s subsided.

Bill: “I’m just imagining, Stephen, that that moustache is gonna have its own website by the time this is over…”

Stephen spins a story about the Disney head of PR sending out an email to staffers saying “The Disney Corporation takes strong exception to the use by many employees of the phrase ‘Mauschwitz’ to describe the Disney corporation. If it is used again, anyone who is caught using it will be summarily fired.”
Stephen: “WITHIN A HALF AN HOUR…they were using the phrase ‘Duck-au'”
David: “Perhaps they didn’t see the irony…of people using a fascist term to describe their organization- ‘OH, WELL, WE’LL PUT A STOP TO THIS!”

Stephen shows of a device (like Albert Finney used in Murder on the Orient Express) that guards the moustache while they sleep.
David: “What’s that FOR, though? You say you want to keep your moustache- keep it from WHAT, though?”
Bill: “ESCAPING!”

Stephen reveals that peeing on a jellyfish to suppress a sting actually doesn’t work…but peeing on a machine gun and a tomato is encouraged.
David: “I’ve never been stung by a tomato before…”

David: “If people would have known about [weeing on] machine guns in the first World War, it would have saved a lot of casualties…”
Stephen: “Well it did, actually. They did use them.”
David: “What, after the first wave in the Psalm, everyone’s firing with their cocks out?”

Jack: “When you said ‘urinate on tomatoes’, I thought you meant, like, instead of salad dressing.”
Jack is the quietest of the panel tonight, but he’s still having some great moments.

David: “I think it comes from our own self-loathing that we find our own excrement more disgusting than other creatures’..”
Bill: “Oy, speak for yourself…”

Stephen: “Now, what is the issue with machine guns?”
Alan: “They kill you, DEAD!”
Stephen, continuing: “Obviously we-”
Alan: “DEAD, STEPHEN, DEAD!”
Stephen, trying to continue: “We have here-”
Alan: “A GUN?? CHRIST!”

Stephen: “The russians actually made a gun with a hole in which to pee…”
Bill: “So you can pee, and shoot…WHILE you’re firing the gun?”

Stephen, moving on: “What was Italy’s biggest export in the year 1953?”
Bill: “…frozen urine.”
KLAXON
Bill: ‘What, URINE? URINE [sets it off]?”
Stephen: “We KNOW you, Bill Bailey!”

Stephen, describing the thing in question: “It had thousands of parts-”
Bill: “JIGSAW! JIGSAW!”

Stephen’s looking for an italian dish. Alan guesses ‘POLENTA’, and says it in a very similar accent to ‘DE PEENK POLENTAAAA, I LOOOOVE IT…”

Stephen: “And Mussolini was joined by…surely you know of the Futurists, the futurist movement-”
Bill: “Not yet.”
Dear god, Bill Bailey’s on FIRE today.

Stephen, continuing a conversation: “If I want to torture my mother…”
He then realize he may not have phrased that correctly.
Bill: “Then…it’s a free country!”
Stephen: “In a RESTAURANT!”
Bill: ‘Do what ya like, Wing Commander!”

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 10.12.22 PM.pngStephen’s telling a story about Jesse Owens’ treatment at the 1936 Olympics, how Hitler didn’t congratulate him…and Alan just starts laughing hysterically. Stephen stops the story to wonder what the hell’s the matter.
Alan: “The bloke on the far-right’s just going like that…”
Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 10.13.41 PM.png
Stephen: “THAT BLOKE ON THE FAR RIGHT…IS CALLED HERMAN GOERING, ALAN…”
David: “I think…surely they’re ALL on the far right…”
Stephen: Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 10.15.35 PM

Bill: “They’re all just taking bets on how high’s the high-jumper’s gonna go…”
Alan: “The one on Hitler’s left is going ‘oh, I didn’t get the memo…”

Alan gets the NOBODY KNOWS answer by saying that nobody really knows where the rainwater from a certain part of a creek in Wyoming ends up. He does sort of end up mimicking Stephen as he’s doing the full answer, in this muted, garbled tone in the background, which the audience notices.
Stephen: “But in THIS PARTICULAR PLACE…”
Alan, grunted: “…no…nobody knows…”

Stephen: “Name the Largest Pyramid in the World!”
[A picture of the Egyptian pyramids shows up on the behind-screen]
Jack: “…that one, there, in the middle…”
KLAXON: THE ONE IN THE MIDDLE.
Jack: “…Am I really that predictable?”

David says the pyramid’s an Aztec one, and Stephen says he’ll give 40 points if he gives the full name.
David: “…I don’t know it’s name, but I’ll spit out some consonants…”

Stephen: “There is a word for a pyramid with a flat top…”
Alan: “…unfinished.”
Bill: “And the sign- ‘DUE FOR COMPLETION, EARLY BC, 447…”

Stephen asks for the world’s fattest country, and everyone just starts yelling out wrong answers like Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga.
Stephen: “I’ll give you a clue, it starts with N…”
Bill: “….NNNNNINNN…..NNNNNOT TONGA! NEAR TONGA! NORTH TONGA! NEVER TONGA!”

Ah, yes.
Stephen: “When was the first World War named as such?”
Bill: “Uhh…the outbreak. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.”
Stephen: “You think they called it that straight away?”
Bill: “BEFORE IT STARTED!”

David: “It’s gonna be some point after 1939, isn’t it?”
Bill: “A REALIST, A REALIST…SURE…”
KLAXON: 1939
David: “EXCUSE ME! I *THINK* I SAID…I THINK WHAT I SAID, people in the box, was ‘AAAFTER 1939′, which may CONTAIN 1939, but does not mean it!”
KLAXON: AFTER THE SECOND WORLD WAR.
David, still riled: “OKAY… NONONO…’AFTER 1939’ AND ‘AFTER THE SECOND WORLD WAR’ are NOT synonymous. Now…this is just GIVING YOU TIME TO *TYPE*, *AFTER 1939*!”
KLAXON: DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR
David: “…Why don’t you just type ‘MITCHELL IS A COCK’.”
Stephen: “…I wouldn’t put it PAST THEM…”

Stephen: “Why were the colonels and chief of the Royal Dragoon and the First King’s Dragoon Guards fail to turn up for duty at the start of the first World War?”
Alan: “They were entwined…in an embrace.”

David, thanks to his many run-ins with the Klaxon, gets -44 tonight, which is hysterical.

Overall: Dare I say even better than I-Spy? Literally every panelist was supremely on tonight. There were no rifts, everyone was collaborating with each other, and the jokes and runners were flying the entire night. The Bursa jokes, the mustache jokes, the pissing machine guns, Goering’s funny salute, Alan’s nobody knows grunting, and the ENTIRE KLAXONING DAVID MITCHELL BIT…all of that in one episode. Fantastic. A standard of excellence on the series, by far.

MVP: Bill
Best Guest: David
Show Winner: Bill
QI Fact of the Day: Piss-Powered Machine Guns.
Best Runner: Goering’s wave.

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

SERIES H SUPERLATIVES (FINALLY!)
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).

QI Watchdown: H10 (Health & Safety) or She was REVIVED…BY SMOKE!

It’s weird- this season started out really strong, got kind of bad for a few episodes, and since the last Ross Noble episode we’ve been unspectacular but fine. In fact, you might argue that Ross Noble has been responsible for the spikes of good in Series H. I certainly hope this is the case, because Ross is on his last show of the Series tonight, after conquering the first show of the season (with the Toblerone-Rolo Combo), and the Ruby Wax episode. Also on tonight are like-minded individual David Mitchell and…pissant Jeremy Clarkson.

As it’s the Health and Safety show, Stephen’s dressed as a doctor, while the panel’s all in hard-hats and construction outfits.

For the first time in a few episodes, the buzzers are kinda funny. Ross’s is an alarm sounding, with ‘DIVE! DIVE! DIVE!’, which he enjoys. Jeremy’s is ‘Vehicle Reversing’, which he facepalms to. Alan’s is an angry high-pitched voice yelling “DON’T TOUCH THE BUTTON!”

Right after intros, Stephen says they can take off their hats.
Ross: “Good thing, or else my hair would be ruined.”
He and Alan take turns whipping around their hair.

After taking the Whitely test, which is punctuated by putting a big Richard Whitely on the behind-screens, Ross scores low, meaning he’s not a hypochondriac
Ross: “But I am terrified that a giant Richard Whitely’s gonna kill me with a clipboard…”

Jeremy: “I didn’t even read the questions, I just put 5 for everything.”
Stephen: “Ah, this explains why you are…”DANGEROUSLY” a hypochondriac.”
Jeremy: “Well, I didn’t know it was because I didn’t read the questions, but I am. I’ve got every disease known to man!”
Ross: “You’re telling me that you’ve got elephantitis?”
Jeremy: “…of the scrotum. No, I’ve got a twisted testicle, a hideous rash, two slipped disks-”
Alan: “AND A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE…”

Ross: “You know who I feel sorry for the most? Construction-working goths.Because goths, they love a black outfit, but they’ve got to earn a living, and this [uniform] goes against everything they stand for.”
Alan: “But these are reflective…”
Ross: “But…would you want a reflective goth?? I WOULD! I’d want one in me house. BRING OUT THE REFLECTIVE GOTH!”

Ross: “But of this test…what does it mean if you write the answers in your own blood? That’d mess with their heads, wouldn’t it?”
Alan: “Not as bad as if you wrote with someone else’s.”

Alan: “My favorite question from there was…ah, can’t remember it now.”
Ross: “‘DO YOU SUFFER FROM FORGETFULNESS?'”

Stephen talks of an apparatus that’d save people from drowning by blowing smoke up their arse. And shows an older version:
Screen Shot 2016-12-22 at 5.37.09 PM.pngAlan: “BLOW, MAN! FOR GOD’S SAKES! IS IT SUCKING OR BLOWING, I CAN’T REMEMBER!…I THINK IT’S BLOWING IS IT? I DON’T KNOW! BE SURE, MAN, HE’S DROWNING….I’ll do both, I’ll suck first…”

Ross: “So there was a moment where [someone was drowning], and someone said “kiss of life? wait a second…hand me that pipe…”

Ross: “It would be a beautiful sight, though, if we’ve blown the smoke up there, and the person sputters back to life, and then takes off, with the smoke coming out the back! ‘LOOK AT THE SPEED THEY’RE GOING AT!'”
Alan: “Bloke on the left looks like he’s gonna rob his trousers if he doesn’t come ’round.”
Stephen: “No, he’s generating the smoke. They didn’t have an all-around device back then, so he’s getting the pipe ready-”
Jeremy: “Oh, Christ, so he has to french-kiss the pipe…THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SAVING A DROWNING MAN!”

Screen Shot 2016-12-22 at 5.44.10 PM.pngJeremy: “Well HE’S not drowning…he’s just in the pub!”
Alan: “This is like that scene from Pulp Fiction…”
David: “This is bad, because it feels like at any point, someone can say “I think I’m drowning!”
Ross: “As if that’s not bad enough, the bloke in the background’s going “…I think I’ll get my donkey in on this…”
Stephen: “OH, WHEN YOU SAID BLOW SMOKE UP MY *ASS*…I THOUGHT…”

Stephen talks of a woman who was nearly killed by a gorilla, thinking her long glances as mocking.
Alan: “AND SHE WAS REVIVED…BY SMOKE!”

David: “Did they check that it wasn’t just an incredibly annoying woman?”

Stephen: ‘After attacking her, he went into a cafe, where he caused a bit of a commotion…”
Alan: “CAPPUCCINO! DON’T LOOK AT ME!”

Jeremy answers a question saying that a spike right in the middle of your steering wheel would improve car safety.
David: “Wouldn’t that sort-of reduce the point of having a car at all?”
Jeremy: “…quite a lot.”
David: “If you made cars perpetually on fire, people will probably be frightened to get in them at all…”

Stephen: “What equipment do children need to play conkers?”
Jeremy: “I haven’t heard the noise yet, so…”
He holds up his goggles.
KLAXON

Stephen: “Why would I stick my finger up your bottom if you couldn’t name seven bald men aside from Yul Brynner?…That is one of the oddest questions I’ve ever asked on QI…”

Alan reveals that sticking a finger up a dog’s bottom can help them stop biting you.
Ross: “You can use a stick, or other implement. It doesn’t have to…the dog’s not gonna go ‘is that a pen? I’m not releasin'”
David: “I think it’s such a considerate move…to take out a pen when a dog’s biting your arm. ‘No, not the fountain pen, just the BIC!'”
Ross: “Though, to be fair, the dog in my scenario is also a talking dog…”
Stephen: “OKAY, GOOD…THAT’S NICE, BUT…”
David: “Going back to your sensible question…”

Stephen: “But, there is only one proven way of stopping hiccups, and that is-”
David: “DEATH!”
Stephen: “No, a DIGITAL RECTAL MASSAGE…”
Jeremy: “I never knew the bottom was a passageway to so many medical cures…”
Stephen: “When you say digital rectal massage…was there a point where it changed from ANALOG?”

On how to save Jeremy from a threatening environmentalist:
Ross: “I’d punch a horse. I’d get a shetland pony, I’d just throw it around, not to hurt it but to punch it a bit, and there’d be a dilemma of ‘do we carry on the Clarkson attack, or do we go for the bloke with the horse?”
Jeremy: “Horses are tricky, because they produce methane, which some environmentalists believe is stronger than global warming-”
Ross: “Oh, well in that case I’d just turn the horse ’round, get a lighter, use it as a flamethrower.”

Stephen: “The point is, you’d help, wouldn’t you?”
Alan: “No, I’d video it, honestly…”

Look, as much of an ass as Jeremy is, he’s giving a nice showing tonight, he’s working well with people, and he’s being less of a loner-curmudgeon than he has in the past. He’s obviously not the best panelist of the night so far, but he’s still giving an effort.

On how a seahorse can help you get around town:
Screen Shot 2016-12-22 at 7.35.51 PM.pngDavid: “That’s just disgusting. It’s like he’s got a leg of lamb for a face…”
Ross: “I love that he’s still put a tie on. ‘I might look like a freak, but I’m gonna be a smart freak…”

Jeremy “I read somewhere that, because of the limbic system, that you can be blindfolded and sense when a lion’s come into the room- you can sense danger.”
Ross: “And it’s going RRRRAAAAARRR. And everybody’s going ‘THERE’S A BLUDDY LION IN THE ROOM!”

Alan tries to ‘double up on safety’ by putting the gorilla glasses and goggles on at the same time.
David: “Great, now you can show a GORILLA a science experiment..”

Stephen: “The robin on the left wouldn’t be able to navigate at all…”
Alan: “Cause he’s pissed!”

After Stephen reveals that one of a pigeon’s eyes can see magnetism, and throws something off there
Ross: “So you’re saying that it’s physically impossible for a pigeon to carry a fridge magnet? NO WONDER MY BUSINESS FAILED!”

Stephen says that the only reason people are advised not to take antibiotics with alcohol is simply tradition
David: “Now I’m gonna be more inclined not to drink alcohol while on antibiotics. If it’s traditional, then that’s fine. I respect tradition! If we stop observing them, they’ll disappear.”
Ross: “The trouble with that is that by that logic, you’ll be dressed as a morris dancer!

You can tell that this was a pretty bombastic show because the second Alan learns he lost with -6, he wonders aloud how he got -6, and all four panelists start arguing and talking over Stephen as he’s trying to do the final standup.

Overall: Incredibly fun show to get things back on track. The panel dynamic was pretty great, and Ross and David had some of the best moments, the former with his really nice lines, the latter with some momentary logical rage. Jeremy had a nice show too, but brings up the rear solely for not connecting as much as the other two. Just a lot of nice moments.

MVP: Ross
Best Guest: David
Show Winner: David
Best Runner: Smoke up the Arse

QI Watchdown: H3 (Hoaxes)

Onto a more traditional lineup, as tonight’s episode features 3 guys who’ve been here since near the beginning, Danny Baker, Sean Lock and David Mitchell. David and Sean have done one together, but David and Danny, and Danny and Sean haven’t. So this’ll be an interesting panel formula.

One of the buzzers, according to Stephen, is NOT a deer’s mating call. The first three are, indeed, deer calls. Alan’s is a scottish voice saying “HELLO, DEAR!”

Ah, nothing like a good-old-fashioned episode-long-runner. All four contestants get a hoax card, and there’s one answer over the course of the show that’s a hoax. Not as exciting as the ‘squirrel’ card, but still lots of fun.

Sean brings up the idea that “how about, we all do it on the first question, we all lose points…done. What d’ya think guys, you all in?”
Danny: “Well, we’re all gonna SAY yes, but we’re not gonna really do it…”

Stephen: “One question we got [about the QI Cropcircle] was “Is it real or is it man-made?”
David: “I ask the same thing about sandwiches…”

There’s not a lot of momentum going for the first few questions. Yes, interesting, but not a lot of funny, collaborative stuff. Also, Danny’s very to-himself, and isn’t great with the other two.

Stephen: “How would you make your house the most famous house in Britain?”
Alan: “That’s easy. You murder lots and lots of people, dismember them, and bury them in the garden.”
Sean: “marry the queen.”
David: “Some sort of…spectacular suicide?”

Stephen: “What observation did the great biologist Stephen A. Gould draw from a lifetime of studying fish?”
Sean: “Oh…they haven’t got any legs…”
Sean isn’t doing a great deal tonight, but his little stuff sure is helping.
David: “After a while, they smell?”

Danny: “Starfish don’t have any brains. They’re like the Louis Walsh of the aquatic world.”
It’s like he knew what I’d just watched before this.

Stephen: ‘And he came to a conclusion which is-”
David: “They can feel no love.”
Stephen tries to keep going, but cracks up.

Stephen, after saying that the classification of ‘fish’ doesn’t really exist: “How many fish are in this photograph?”
Alan: “Well, given that there’s really no such thing as fish…”
KLAXON

Stephen: “What did Nostradomus get right?”
Sean: “The hat! He got the hat right!”

After Stephen reveals that Nostradamus made jams that still hold up
Sean: “I might make some jam…”
Alan: “Know what you’d need? Fruit…sugar…”
Sean: “No, I’m not gonna make nice jam.”
Stephen: “oh, what sort of jam are you going to make?”
Sean: “Horrible jam. Yeah, ‘Sean’s Horrible Jam’. You don’t know what I put in this stuff…it’s up to you. It’s- Lottery Jam, I’ll call it…Sean’s Bingo Jam! One jar in every hundred is amazing! The rest of the time it’s instant vomit as soon as you open the lid…”

Stephen: “Who is the most famous person to be beaten by a machine at chess?”
Sean: “Me.”
Stephen: “You played a machine at chess?”
Sean: “Yeah, I got beat by a hoover.”

David guesses the Queen
Stephen: “No, someone bigger than the Queen, and had a higher rank than the Queen in his day.”
Alan: “JESUS!!”
Stephen, confused and cracking up: “JESUS?? Jesus isn’t really a RANK…”

Stephen: “How can you tell if a person is lying?”
Alan: “Their hands become sweaty, pulse quickens, their sphincter, you know, tightens up…”
Stephen: “Let’s just suppose that you haven’t got a finger on their sphincter and aren’t holding their hand.”
Sean: “What they’ve said turns out not to be true.”

Stephen: “What do swimming pools smell of?”
Alan, channeling Jo Brand: “Children.”

Stephen eventually reveals that the hoax card was actually a hoax itself, causing some angry reactions from panelists.
Danny: ‘THIS IS AN OUTRAGE! This is like the end of Lost!”

Overall: A weaker number into Series H, but not without an incredible Sean Lock performance. This didn’t work because all four were mainly keeping to themselves, with the exception of Alan because that’s what he does best. Danny had some good jokes, but didn’t really collaborate. David mostly stemmed his rants off other people’s answers, which was alright.

MVP: Sean
Best Guest: David
Show Winner: Sean
Best QI Fact: Fish don’t exist.

QI Watchdown: G16 (Geometry), or “BECAUSE IT *IS*!”

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.”
[beat]
“BECAUSE IT’S *NOT*. That could have been a question.”
He then draws a straight line, and goes “WHY DOES THAT LOOK STRAIGHT?”
[beat]
“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?”
Johnny: “Arkanas.”
Stephen: “No, that’s another state.”
Alan: “Well, Kansas City.”
KLAXON

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.

MVP: Johnny
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)

QI Watchdown: G10 (Greats)

We’ve hit our fourth and final Sean Lock episode of the series, and what a run he’s had this year, completely dominating all of his episodes (even with laryngitis), and making a case for Best Guest of the series. Tonight, he’s joined by Jo Brand, who’s had a nice enough series, and David Mitchell, who’s had some really nice episodes so far.

Alright. First joke out of the gate and I’m already in love with this episode.
Stephen: “Now, tell me about the Great Disappointment.”
Jo: “Have you been talking to my husband?”
KLAXON: HAVE YOU BEEN TALKING TO MY HUSBAND
Jo’s look of absolute astonishment once the Klaxon comes up is pretty priceless.

Stephen talks about a cult that believed that Jesus was to return and save everyone. He even says “a man jumped off his barn, hoping that Jesus would scoop him up and save him. He didn’t.”
Alan: “Did this happen in America, by any chance?”
Stephen: “How did you guess?”

Stephen: “Who had purple triangles in Concentration Camps?”
Sean: “Was it, eh, Barney the Dinosaur??”

Stephen explains that the alternative to the rapture is being marked by the anti-christ and being stung by gigantic wasps.
David: “But, on the plus side…the price of clothing goes WAY down…”

Stephen: “Well, the rapture is imminent.”
David: “Imminent?”
Alan: “What, d’you mean ‘this week’?”
Stephen: “Well, oddly enough they’re not being very specific…”

Stephen talks about how all of these great leaders (Stalin, Amin, Mao, etc) are all taller than expected.
Sean: “Usually they’re not judged by their height, are they…”

Sean: “It’s probably the one thing that short people have got to cling onto. That one day…they might be a dictator. And we [with the QI answer] have just taken that away from them. All this hope.”
David: “All this ‘not being able to reach things from shelves’ one day will be made up for when I kill millions of people. I can stand on their bodies…reach the jam.”

Stephen then says that short people are, on average, paid less than tall people.
Alan: “They should rise up!”

Stephen, with the Charlemagne question, explains that each person, going backwards, has thousands and thousands of ancestors.
Sean: “My brain’s…I can’t..How could have more ancestors than there are people that’s ever been?”
Sean, absolutely dumbfounded, mimes his head exploding, and falls onto the desk.

Stephen: ‘What about parmesan? When that’s grated, what does it smell of?”
Alan: “Cheese.”
Stephen: “No.”
Alan gives a “ARE YOU SURE” sort of look.

Sean: “I was just thinking, David. Rather than having a sell-by date on cheese, they should just have the date that cheese becomes poisonous. And then they know when to stop eating it.”
David: “Do they know that date?  Is it a global thing, TWO DAYS BEFORE THE RAPTURE?”
Sean: “Or maybe it’s the day they’ve worked out that everyone in the world’s related to Peter Andre.And they go “THAT’S THE DAY cheese becomes poisonous.”
David: ‘And people will happily eat it and die.”

Jo says that sell-by dates are a bit over-cautious, and that you could leave it out a bit longer after, “get it out the bin a few weeks later. You’ll be fine.”
Sean: “Put it down your pants, go in the sauna….take it out…obviously reshape it again…”
Jo’s reaction, of sheer disgust, is wonderful. Stephen eventually has to go “Sean…you’re not alone. There are PEOPLE here…”

David and Sean discuss the act of stealing the train, and how difficult it would be because it’s on rails. Alan eventually kamikazes this discussion and says ‘if you’ve got GROMIT in the gang…he can lay track as he’s going along…”

Earlier in the Great Train robbery topic, they discuss that the robbers spoiled everything by playing a game of monopoly (with the stolen money), and not cleaning up fingerprints. Later, Stephen discusses how they got the plan together, as the mastermind said “Look…I’m plannin’ this blag…”
Alan: “I’m planning a game of Monopoly.”
David: “I’ve just got to pick something up along the way. It’s that…I lost all the fake money, and the ONLY WAY OF REPLACING IT I can THINK OF…”
Alan: “I rung Waddington’s, they didn’t wanna know. “Get a new set”, they said. “Don’t be ridiculous”, I said…”

Stephen: “Why did it take so long for scientists to find a name for the Giant Tortoise.”
Sean: “Because Giant Tortoise was good enough?”
David, who takes a bit of time with this one: “Because they thought they were regular tortoises, but closer…”

Stephen mentions that Giant Tortoises were also edible.
David: ‘Anyone who saw one, couldn’t even stop to think of a name for it! They just HAD to eat it!”
Alan, mouth full: “THESE ONES…I’unno what they’re called…but they’re really, really good. Just call them ‘dinner.”
David: “There’s no latin name for pistachio nuts either… no one could be bothered. “SHUT UP WITH YOUR LATIN! EAT THEM!”
Alan: “No latin name for Maltesers.”

Stephen: “None of [the tortoises] made it to London!”
David: “NOW THIS TIME…WE’RE GONNA TAKE IT…we’re gonna bring it to London.”
Alan, pointing: “NO…LEAVE IT…WE’RE TAKING IT BACK…”
Sean: “Ferry coming into Dover, there’s a bloke going [lip smacking sounds]”
David: “Alright, we take nine of them…WE LEAVE EIGHT…AND ABSOLUTELY…”
Stephen: ‘And now everyone’s looking at them…”
Alan: ‘And the moment they land…they’ve got one tortoise left, and they go “we’ve got to go back, get some more…”
David: “And they’re sitting there, eating the last tortoise, going…”we are TWATS…”

Jo: “Where are they from? Are they flights?”
Stephen: “THEY ARE NOW PROTECTED! All twelve species…”
David: “If they’re that delicious, they CAN’T be. They’re probably going “yeah, they’re all in there, we’ve protected them, no need to look…”

Stephen: ‘If a giant panda does a hand-stand in front of you, what is he trying to tell you?”
Alan: “Put some money in the hat?”

Stephen: “How did Catherine the Great die.”
Sean: “She…DIDN’T have sex with a horse….she died…”
Jo: “On the commode…OH WAIT THAT WAS ELVI-”
KLAXON: ON THE LOO
I mean, Jo’s already having the weakest episode of the four, but at least she’s getting a ton of klaxons.

Stephen: “No, she did have a stroke on the commode, but-”
Alan: “Is that a euphemism for something? I’M HAVING A STROKE ON THE COMMODE!”

Stephen: “What was the lingua franca of Ancient Rome?”
Sean: “DUTCH! Because I knew that wasn’t gonna come up… See, that’s where you’ve got to think, Jo. You’ve gotta think what they WOULDN’T put up…”
Jo: “Cheers, Sean. [presses buzzer] Latin.”
KLAXON
Jo: ” I did that deliberately.”
Sean: ‘Yes, but you-”
Jo: “I KNOW!”
Stephen: “She’s going for the record.”

For the ‘How many men have been President” question, they play the clip from Obama’s inauguration, where he says “44 Americans have now taken the presidential oath.”….and then they klaxon the President of the United States. Oh, QI. Gotta love ya.

David wins, because he’s David. Jo loses with -46 because she’s Jo. Obama comes in 4th with -10, because QI can do that.

Overall: An early candidate for the best episode of the series, because this panel was on from the first second of the episode. It helped that people like David and Sean were giving Grade A stuff, but it brought out the absolute best in Alan, and it even gave Jo some stuff to do towards the end. Obviously the tortoise bit keeps it so high up, but the episode was circling that point the entire time.

MVP: David
Best Guest: Sean
Show Winner: David
Loser of the Week: Jo, for getting every klaxon in the book.
Best QI Fact: Short men.
Best Runner: Tortoises.

QI Watchdown: G6 (Genius), or the one with RODNEY BEWES!!

Ah, yes. Graham Norton Hits QI. Quite the occasion.

Tonight’s episode features Dara, Graham Norton, and David Mitchell, so this will clearly be a pretty wild one to watch. You’ve got a quiet one liner machine, a loud one-liner machine, and a loud information machine. This will be interesting.

The buzzers are done in the style of University Challenge, except for Alan’s, who mistakenly thinks this is Blockbusters. Stephen does say that Alan’s actually a PhD, so his buzzers is an angry scotsman going “THA DOCTOR’LL SEE YA NOW!”

I love this. Stephen mentions that blocking the right nostril will make people instantly less happy. Alan takes this literally, blocks the right one, feigns sadness, and then takes the tissue out and starts smiling again.

Stephen: “Try and think of a really, really big number-”
Alan: “Seventeen.”

Alan says, of raising children, that you shouldn’t have them watch television until they’re four.
Dara: “Oh, that is not how parenting works, my friend…you train them to like the television as quickly as they possibly can…”
Alan: “Because there was no ADHD until TV was invented.”
Dara: “They’re happy with HD, my friend.”

Graham: “I mean, if you have a child listen to ‘One Potato, Two Potato’, they’ll at least learn that…and could count potatoes…”
And then Graham turns to other irishman on his side, and they reminisce about potatoes.

Stephen: “Do you know about the English Motzarts? Do they mean anything to you?”
Alan: “McFly.”
Man, that was almost a NMTB answer.

Alan: “My great-grandfather signed his marriage certificate with a cross.”
Stephen: “Of course, his name was Xavier…”
Graham: “He could have just used a pen.”
There are two ways of looking at a joke…

Stephen, on Mensa: “They used to be called MENS, which is Latin for mind, but they thought their magazine would look like some men’s special interest one…so they added an A…”
Graham: “Already, I’m not being filled with confidence that this is being run by geniuses.”
Man, Graham Norton really fits on this show.

Graham talks of a woman he did a game show with in America, whose father was a serial killer, and she didn’t tell her husband until after the wedding. He also mentioned the husband’s father committed suicide. “SO, YOU’VE GOT A SERIAL KILLER…AND A SUICIDAL MAN…AND YOU THOUGHT THAT WAS A GOOD GENE POOL TO BE SPLASHIN’ AROUND IN??”
Stephen: “She’ll give birth to a child who kills himself LOTS OF TIMES!!”

Dara, to Graham: “When you say ‘not til after she married him’, HOW LONG…was it after the speeches? Did she go “uh, Dad’s about to say a few words, this might be worth catching…”
Graham: “This may explain why he went with orange…”
David: “What you’d do then is you’d have her cover as a Serial Killer Themed Wedding.”

Alan spots Rodney Bewes in the background of the Da Vinci photo, and David just goes on a tangent about how Bewes might have just gone back in time to check Da Vinci’s pulse, or Da Vinci “might have INVENTED the Likely Lads…’

David: “The one on the left is gesturing to Rodney Bewes, as if to say “LEONARDO, WHO’S THIS DICK??”
Graham: “And Da Vinci’s going “SERIOUSLY, RODNEY BEWES? YOU WANT RODNEY BEWES HERE, OF ALL PEOPLE?”
Alan: ‘Well, that’s Matthew Kelly anyway-”
Stephen: “NOO! DON’T!”

Stephen: “Now I’ve got a horrible feeling that the Brian Blessed on the end has had the top of his head sawed of. CAUSE ‘E’S NOUUUGHH LONGAAUUHH BRIAN BLESSID!”

Stephen, on Da Vinci’s nephew: ‘sadly he died at only age 22, leaving 20 works behind him.”
Alan, calling back to Mozart: “Pushed out a window by Michaelangelo.”
Stephen: “Or, possibly by Mozart.”
Alan: “WORKING IN TANDEM!”
David: “For having stolen…Rodney Bewes’ time traveling technology.”

Stephen: “The first cloned dog, from Korea, was called Snappy.”
Alan: “…and then they ate it…”

Great moment at the top of GI. Stephen asks the panel how old they are. Nobody buzzes in. Everybody thinks it’s a trap. Graham eventually buzzes in and goes “how old do I look?”

David, summing it up perfectly: “It just shows you the effect of this game, though. You ask a question, and all four of us think ‘that is something I definitely know the answer to, but I’m so UNCERTAIN…that I’m not even willing to give my own age, name or address.”

Dara: “HOW COULD THIS POSSIBLY A TRAP! I *AM* THIRTY-SEVEN. YOU KNOW WHAT? (buzzes in) THIRTY SEVEN. THERE.”
(KLAXON: DARA- 37)

Stephen mentions a man named Spratt, who sold ‘dog cakes’, which confuses the hell out of Alan. He rewords it as dog biscuits. Alan goes “when you said ‘dog cakes’, I thought you meant it was made of dogs.”
David: “Dog biscuits are biscuits for dogs. Dog cakes are cakes that might have a layer of dog in them…”

Stephen says he loves watching golf.
Graham: “BUT WHY DO YOU WATCH IT?”
Stephen, matter-of-factly: “…the golf…”

Stephen: ‘And finally, how many brains did the man with two brains have?”
silence
Alan: “Two.”
Stephen: “YES. THAT’S BRILLIANT.”
David, nearly tearing out his hair: “IT’S SO CRUEL!!!”

David: “It’s just the technique of the bully. You hit us, and then you go ‘oh, did you think I was gonna hit you???”

SOUND THE ALARM. ALAN DAVIES HAS WON THREE EPISODES IN A ROW!!!! I cannot, for the life of me, figure out exactly why this has occurred, but I’m happy it has.

Overall: An episode that continued the momentum from the Christmas show (“AAAHHHHLIIVIINNINAYELLOWSUBMARIINNNNEEE!!!”), and managed to have a really funny, well-balanced show. Graham had a very nice debut, and his humor really fits well with QI, because he’s very manic and also very good in terms of connecting. Dara had a quieter night but still had some great moments. David Mitchell’s performance tonight was an AMAZING return to form, having not been this dominant on a panel since the Film episode.

MVP: David
Best Guest: Graham
Show Winner: Alan
Best QI Fact: Da Vinci’s nephew.
Best Runner: Rodney Bewes

QI Watchdown: G1 (Gardens), or The One With The Bees

I don’t think I could have asked for a better way to begin Series G.

This is a season where there’s gonna be a big-time phasing out of older regulars, and a slow new wave of regulars. People like Sandi Toksvig, Ross Noble, Jack Dee, Lee Mack and Sue Perkins will be joining the fold this year, and they’ll be sticking around for a while. People that the series depended on in the beginning, like Rich Hall, Sean Lock and Clive Anderson, are gonna slowly be exiting within the next few series. It’s the beginning of a huge transition in QI.

Thankfully though, they managed to start this whole commotion with three regulars I couldn’t be happier about. Rob Brydon, the man who I proclaimed the MVP of Series F, David Mitchell, who became a consistent panel anchor last year, and Dara O’Briain, who I even said last year needs to be in more episodes. Throw in Alan and a noticeably-slimmer Stephen, and you have the makings for a gem. Let’s see how good we get it.

I swear to God, Stephen has magically transformed into a Wildean version of David Niven. There is less neck evident. Maybe he finished filming Game of Shadows. Nevertheless, he looks great.

Rob explains that the goat has been usurped as a family pet, because wallabies are better at eating grass.
Dara: “You mean a better family pet than that traditional family bet, the goat? Surely, all those Christmas mornings where children go…IT’S A GOAT!!”

Rob, after the props have been given out: “You see, everyone’s been given these fascinating devices…and I’ve been given a bottle with the top cut off.”

As Rob and Stephen start disagreeing about the bottle, Alan realizes that his cane prop is really a saw, and starts cutting into things while they’re arguing. As Alan’s about to saw his cards in half, Stephen finally notices.

I find it hysterical that Stephen keeps yelling at Alan to stop as Alan almost mutilates a part of the desk with the saw. Hell, he actually cuts into one of the panels, which Stephen is even impressed  by.

Stephen explains the cane is for the gentleman gardner who found a hanging branch while walking. With sudden inspiration, Alan goes over to one of the plants behind Stephen with the saw. Stephen already sees it coming, and stats yelling “NO!” Alan and the saw just keeps making me laugh.

Stephen says David’s tool is a bit of a hoe, “not as the word is used in the American street sense”. And then, with the best transition since the Scotland-crime one, he goes “speaking of hoes, Rob!”

David: “Sorry, a fly landed on my buzzer, and I tried to use…my little hoe.”

Rob, once it’s revealed that the tool is for shaping cucumbers, points to the behind-screen: “It may very well be for cucumbers, but that picture there is very reminiscent of a spam email that I get sent quite a lot…”

A sign that the group dynamic works- once Rob signs his drawing, David gives him shit about it. Then Dara signs and copyrights his, which leads to Rob copyrighting his. Stephen adds that the copyright also requires a date, so both immediately grab their pens again.

The whole argument about why you should never clean a teapot, especially, as Alan says, “if you came in and couldn’t find a loo one night…”, is priceless. All four are acting on each other and adding to the joke, working together. This is terrific.

Stephen: “Where is the best place in the entire world to discover a new species?”
Alan: “The National Geographic Channel…”

I may not be writing down a ton of these conversations, but they are definitely worth watching rather than me writing them up. This is a strong panel, and they’re going these insane directions with bees and things.

Okay, this is the very beginning of the Elves’ way of knocking points off people by catering to the way they speak.
Stephen: “Who finds garden gnomes attractive?”
Rob: ‘I do. And it’s lovely to have the opportunity to be able to admit it in public.”
Rob then notices that the gnome on the behind-screen looks like Ann Widdecombe. He then peers over, curiously, and makes this very weird noise, like “hey, what’s this.”
SOMEHOW THE QI ELVES KNEW THIS EXACT NOISE, and klaxon him, throwing “PHWOAR!” on the screen. Rob’s betrayed expression is classic.

Dara talks about a place in Dublin, a Gyro stand, that put on the sign “Gyro,s”. Dara goes “you knew something had to go there…but you couldn’t…and it looks like a dead apostrophe.” Dara may be having the best day out of anyone here, even Rob, because he’s taking the stories that people are setting up, and knocking them out of the park. He did this with the bee story, and he’s just phenomenal today.

Dara: “Very few instances that you will run in and go “where are the grocers?”, and someone will go “there’s only me”, and you’ll go “BUT THE SIGN IMPLIED…THERE’D BE MORE THAN ONE GROCER!”
Alan: “I’m looking for three grocers!”
Dara: “That’s the minimum I need in this situation! Not just one!”

They’ve literally squeezed GI into the last 4 minutes. Wow.

David and Dara tie for first, which, as Stephen even says, hasn’t happened in a while.

Overall: Very nice show, one I could watch a few more times, mostly to get all the bee jokes. Literally all four were on, and saying that Dara did the best job isn’t meant to discredit David or Rob, because everybody had really nice stuff. I pick Dara because I feel like his jokes and joke additions were the focal points of the episode. He just gave his strongest stuff, and kept pounding. Rob was very close behind him, but didn’t give as good a showing as his last few. Alan’s bit with the saw may have been the highlight of the season so far.

MVP: Dara
Best Guest: Rob
Show Winners: Dara and David
Best QI Fact: Seed Guns.

QI Watchdown: F12 (Food)

Alas, we’ve reached the last QI of Series F, one of the most consistent seasons in recent memory. This has been a season that utilized new anchors, and tried to spread the wealth around to several different panels, so that there’d be a mix of new panelists and strong returnees. This has been a season where, aside from Phill and Jimmy, people like Rob Brydon and David Mitchell have stepped up and truly carried shows.

And now, we’ve reached the end, and for the first time in a while we have a panel full of trusted players: Jimmy Carr and David Mitchell, definite standouts this season, and Rich Hall, who had a nice show a few episodes ago but hasn’t especially dominated consistently since the early years of the show. Plus, there’s a broad enough theme, with ‘food’, that it could lead to a lot of nice moments.

The buzzers are all dinner bells. Jimmy’s is a gong, which he is thrown off by, but appreciates. Rich’s is two bells, spread apart, so that by the time the second bell is sounded he’s ridiculously caught off guard.

And now, Stephen vs. the english language:
“Now, before we tuck in, I’ve had a tongue down your- no, I’ve PUT a tongue….YOU WILL FIND A TONGUE-I’ve tongued- I’ve put a tongue. Is there a tongue under there?”
Alan, dumbfounded: “Is this what you’re referring to?”

Stephen: “What kind of animal can you eat without killing it?”
Rich: “Crabs…unintentionally…”

Stephen clarifies that it’s something you can eat fully, passed through, without killing the animal.
David: “Something that comes through, like sweet corn, except it’s still running around.”
I did not expect David Mitchell to make a joke that disgusting.

Jimmy: “If there are ladies watching this, and they talk about bloating…have they tried farting like a duck?”
Jeez, everybody’s on a role tonight, except for, oddly enough, Alan.

Stephen: “It’s almost the official dish, in some ways, of Florida.”
Rich: “Tapeworm!”
Rich is in complete gonzo answer mode from his first few seasons, which I am very thankful for.

David, on getting the tapeworm out of your body: “You’d have to tempt it, at either end, with a bit of food…”
Jimmy: ‘I know which end I’d prefer…”
David, not catching it: “Which end would that be?”

Greatest out-of-context line so far:
David: “I think I’d had to have experienced a giant worm coming out of both orificies before I decide which is the least unpleasant.”

David, on crabs: “They’re sort of like fruit-bearing animals, aren’t they?”
Stephen: “That’s pretty similar to that, actually. Like, an apple tree gets its apples taken off, but the next year it grows…more apples.”
David: “So maybe they’re trees…they’re just seafood-y trees.”

Stephen: ‘What can you usefully teach an oyster?”
David: “Is it…not to get its hopes up? To…expect lemon juice and death?”
Jimmy: “You teach it when you get lemons, you get lemonade.”
David: “Right. When you get lemons, you’re seconds away from death.”

Stephen: “How did Mounties use fruit-machines to get their man?”
Jimmy: “When you say fruit machine, do you mean a friend of yours?”

David compares the Mounties riding horses everywhere is “like trying to police a country with daleks.”
Jimmy: “Which would never work with the disabled access we got. Now the daleks can get anywhere…”
David: “Jimmy, are you saying that you think the disabled access is a dalek conspiracy??”
Jimmy: “…Yes. That is EXACTLY what I’m saying.”

Jimmy: “D’you know what the Russian National Dish is?”
Stephen: “What?”
Jimmy: “Empty.”

Right after awarding David the ‘Teacher’s Pet’ moniker, Stephen asks the panel if they know anything about the guy who brought the several-course meal into popularity.
Jimmy: ‘David’ll know…”
Alan: “He invented frog’s legs. ”
Stephen: “You’re absolutely right.”
Alan: “And I only know that because I went on David’s radio show and found it out…”

So then Stephen starts quizzing David on this guy:
Stephen: “First name?”
David: “Auguste.”
Stephen: “Died in…”
David: “Oh, how the hell would I-”
Alan: “A house-fire.”

Stephen: “And what did [Dame Millie Melba] think was good for the voice?”
Alan: “Oral sex.”
And then Alan does this impression of someone trying to sing with a cock down their throat, which made me laugh WAY too hard.

As Stephen awards Alan his own ‘Teacher’s Pet’ fanfare, Alan, in an effort to downplay it, points to his tongue-stick and goes “I’ve still written semen on my tongue.” Jimmy, being Jimmy, responds with “at least you’ve just written it…”

Rich, as they finally get off the greco-roman wrestling: ‘Finally, this show goes back to its heterosexual roots.”
Rich, as Stephen brings up anal floss: “HERE WE GO AGAIN!”

David has a clever joke with the tongue placings. He says that cheese is near the back, and forgotten names are ‘right on the tip.’ very clever.

And now, reason #417 why I love the QI Elves
Stephen: ‘Name a poisonous snake.”
Jimmy: “Piers Morgan.”
KLAXON

Alan makes a point, focused, that there can’t be poisonous snakes because of the venom.
Jimmy: “You sounded so much like Jonathan Creek JUST THEN!”

Stephen: “Who said ‘Let them eat cake?”
Jimmy: “It’s that French woman…Dawn French!”

Stephen: “What makes up more than 70% of the internet?”
Jimmy: “It’s my special collection, isn’t it?”
Stephen: “Of what?”
Jimmy: “…of Gentlemen’s Special Interest Literature?”
(‘PORN’ KLAXON goes off)

Of course David wins, but I wasn’t expecting Jimmy to get last, especially with -46!

Overall: A nice, if uneven, way to end the series. All four were on, and really funny. David had a very nice show, providing a lot of answers, which led to a lot of jokes from other panelists. Alan was the standout here, for the second episode in a row, although Jimmy and Rich also were hysterical at points. There would be some moments of coldness, but there were more than enough great moments to make up for them.

MVP: Alan
Best Guest: Jimmy
Show Winner: David
Best QI Fact: Tapeworm through the arse.

BONUS: END OF SERIES F SUPERLATIVES!!!

Best Episode: F7: Fingers & Fumbs. Great runner, great panel, and Phill’s Magnum Opus
2nd Best Episode: F5: France, ft. Hugh Dennis and Sweary Bob.
Worst Episode: F8: Fashion. The dynamic was just off, save for some okay Clive and Rich moments.
Episode Most Worthy of Another Watch: F11: Films & Fame, obviously.
Best In-Episode Runner: Making the panelists do paper-scissors-stone for points every time someone said the f-word. (F7: Fingers & Fumbs)
Best Recurring Guest: Rob Brydon, for completely dominating all three of his episodes this season, and cementing the fact that he can anchor a panel like the best.
Most Underused Recurring Guest: Dara O’Briain.
Most Improved: Phill Jupitus, for going from a down year in terms of material to completely DOMINATING two shows, and making some of the most ridiculous jokes in the show’s history.
Worst Guest: Reginald D. Hunter, F8: Fashion. Just the wrong kind of person for QI.
Best Guest Appearance: Emma Thompson, F11: Films & Fame.
Guest we wish wasn’t done after this season: Charlie Higson, F3: Flotsam & Jetsam. By default, really.
Guest we sorely missed this season: Bill Bailey.
Rookie of the Year: Hugh Dennis, F5: France. Sure, he’s only in one more episode, but it’s Hugh Dennis! On QI! That alone is pretty outstanding.
Best Single Moments: “FUCK THE PIGEONS, STEPHEN! AM I GAY??” (F4: Fight or Flight); The Benny Hill Retrospective (F5: France); Sweary Bob and the fingers (F5: France); “One if you play your cards right.” (F7: Fingers & Fumbs); Ben and Rob kiss (F9: The Future); Stephen causes his own Luvvie Alarm (F11: Films & Fame)

QI Watchdown: F11 (Films & Fame)

Ooh, I’m very excited for this one, for a number of reasons. First of all, the topic of this episode, Films and Fame, is a really good one, especially within the confines of QI. Secondly, we have David Mitchell, who’s proved that he can carry a panel, as the sole anchor here, other than the returning-after-a-much-deserved-season-long-break John Sessions. And lastly, this episode features one of the most grand guest appearances since Hugh Laurie…which is funny, because tonight’s is Hugh Laurie’s wife, Emma Thompson, star of tons of Merchant/Ivory films and Harry Potter. So I think this should be a fun one, to say the least.

Thank Christ, John’s back to his old hair color.

The buzzers are all film-themed. Emma’s is Indiana Jones, which she seems to really enjoy. Alan’s is the Looney Tunes theme, which I think is one of the least flattering ones he’s had, and the most awesome.

Aaaaannnd one John Sessions answer in and I’m glad that he hasn’t been here for over a season. Good god, he’s such a pompous knowitall twit.

However, Emma Thompson, who obviously knows John, has the best reaction. As John riles off the death date of Man Ray, Emma turns to him and goes “Are you gonna be like this all night?”

The thought occurs to me that since Hugh Laurie was on the show the last time John started pedantically rolling off dates, and since Hugh and Emma live in the same house, maybe Hugh could have warned his wife about how awful John Sessions is on QI, and prepared her for his pedantic nature by saying “why, erm, don’t you just fuck with ’em a bit, hun?”

Stephen: ‘Almost all the Oscars were won by Walt Disney, who won…how many?”
David: “109.”
Stephen: “No, 26…”

Stephen, on his Oscar-making experience: “I did to a bit of buffing…”
Alan: “On the bum area, I presume…”
I had a big laugh at that one, and so did Stephen

Emma’s presence on this show is actually really cool. She’s won two Oscars, and she’s come off as a very genuine, wonderful person who tells great stories and can laugh at herself. John Sessions has won 0 Oscars and is a genuine tit.

Third straight correct answer from John. WHO GAVE THIS BLOKE ALL THE ANSWERS? This is becoming as bad as the Rory McGrath debacle from ‘Common Knowledge’.

Stephen asks the panel to close their eyes. David goes “you won’t do, like when I open my eyes, and you’ll all have gone, right?”

Stephen: “So what’s this time?”
Alan: “A guillotine!”
Stephen: “And how’s it made?”
Alan: “With a guillotine and a person…”

Stephen: “Where have you heard this [scream] before?”
Alan: “In the green room, ’bout a half an hour ago…”

Okay…I can give John Sessions crap for being a know-it-all…but I will give him some serious respect points for his amazing Alan Rickman impression. Like, as an impressionist myself, that is really close to his actual sound. I’d say a bit better than Ben Cumberbatch’s impression, but I might have to listen to his again.

Alright, even more brownie points to John for his Alan Rickman anecdote. Especially his change from the kid’s voice to Rickman’s: “A-A-LAN?” “yes?”
And then of course, the great line, “I don’t play villains…I play very…interesting…people.”
I think I might be coming close to actually liking a John Sessions performance.

And then, a terrific moment. Stephen asks what American movie Peter Cushing played the villain in. John buzzes in, turns, and goes “I don’t know…”, feeling almost beside himself. Stephen, deadpan, says “THEN DON’T BUZZ!”

Alan starts fantasizing about putting Mary Poppins in The Sound of Music, and “having a Maria-Mary face-off.”
David: “Like Alien vs. Predator?”

This is a good episode for facts, and for the interesting factor, but it’s not the best one in terms of jokes. This isn’t a bad thing, as all four are at least saying interesting things, and at least Alan and David are telling some jokes, but it’s more along the lines of Europe, where it’s more of an educational thing than an entertainment thing, though it’s not completely boring.

Great Emma anecdote. She talks about getting a genuine horrified reaction out of Stephen, “just from appearing nude at the top of his stairs.” The fact that a panelist has a good relationship with Stephen, especially one that goes back as far as Stephen and Emma’s has gone, does a lot for the show dynamic, because Emma can just embarrass Stephen over and over.

Stephen shows a Greek statue of a naked guy holding his cock in one hand and a baseball bat in the other. Alan, curiously, asks “is he about to bash himself on the cock?” And the impression that Alan does of the guy slamming his cock with a baseball bat made me nearly spit out food. His hair even moved.

On the subject of Brazillian waxes:
Stephen, to Emma: “Do you wax yourself down there?”
Emma, getting up: “Do you want to see it?”
Stephen: “NOOOOOOOO!!!!”

Stephen ends up disproving a fact that David said on The Unbelievable Truth.
David, in defense: “Yeah, yeah, people give you this shit and you read it out…”
Stephen, off the card: ‘I’VE NO IDEA WHAT YOU MEAN.”

And then, on the Shakespeare and cricket question, Stephen refers to an exact date on David’s radio show where he said that cricket did not appear in Shakespeare’s time, and he disproves it. David, now uncouth, goes “IS THIS WHOLE ROUND…”

And then Emma sets Stephen up for one of the greatest jokes on this program in a while. She asks his opinion of the word ‘luvvie’, and he says that he thinks it’s overused, and it’s a rubbish term for people, especially actors.
Emma: “Do you know what the first citation of it is, in the O.E.D.?”
Stephen: “No, what is it?”
Emma: “It’s you…”
And then Stephen has a shocked, horrified expression on his face, almost like the one Emma described when he saw her naked at the top of the stairs. Then the Luvvie Alarm, best seen in most John Sessions episodes, appears onscreen.

How funny is this: ALAN ACTUALLY WINS THE SHOW! I thought it was gonna be John or Emma, but Emma evidently klaxon’d her way out of the top spot in GI.

Overall: A show that started slow and charming, but picked up and became fast, funny and charming. This is mostly due to the presence of Emma Thompson, who made the most of her only appearance, and took advantage of her relationship with Stephen. David didn’t hold the panel as well as he did the last time, but still had some great moments. This was probably the best Alan episode in a while, as he had some really funny shit throughout. John…well, thankfully we don’t have to see him for a little while, although I did really enjoy his Alan Rickman impression.

MVP: Alan
Best Guest: David
The Gyles Brandreth award for Knowing Too Goddamned Much: John Sessions
Loser of the Week: David Mitchell, for defying the system and losing points.
Show Winner: Alan
Best QI Fact: by default, the Alan Rickman story, because I knew a lot of these movie facts already.