QI Watchdown: J9 (Jeopardy), or PUT THE F–KING SAFETY GOGGLES ON.

After another random absence from me, we crack on with Series J, with an episode featuring trusted anchor Ross Noble in his second of three episodes this series, trusted goof Sue Perkins in her third of three appearances this series (both of the prior ones being standout ones), and another member of the Australian invasion of this series, Julia Zemiro, who’s an Australian TV personality and comic, having been on Thank God You’re Here a few times. She also shows up on a few more QIs, so hopefully she’ll have a nice showing here.

The buzzers are all danger-themed. Julia’s is the theme from Psycho, which she relishes. Sue’s is the theme from Jaws, which she chuckles at, then tries to dance to. Ross is an old-timey ‘dun-dun-dun’ sort of thing, which he reacts accordingly to. Alan’s is just ‘vehicle reversing’.

Stephen starts by revealing that people normally spill coffee in 7 to 10 steps of walking. Ross responds by saying that long jumpers must never spill, as it only takes them three to do a long jump, and by then they’ll already have drank the coffee. Just the right amount of bizarre.

Stephen, on the coffee question, mentions something called ‘anular ring baffles’, which Alan points out, and the double entendre game is already on.
Ross: “Let me tell you, the amount of times my anular has been baffled…”
Alan: “Baffle your ring, sir?”

And then, Alan: “If you put a baffle in your anus, does that mean you’ll have quiet farts?”
Stephen bites down on his glasses for a moment, sighs, and goes “…I suppose it would…UNTIL pressure builds up to such a state…”
Alan: “Then it could be lethal”
Stephen: “Then you could have someone eye out in the aisle at waitro’s.”
Alan, as Stephen goes on: “THHHBBTT. Baffle your ring, sir?”

There’s a really good discussion on why not to march in time on the Albert bridge, as enough marching would set off an oscillation and make the bridge unstable.
Ross: “And that’s why…Michael Flatley can never get north of the Thames. He’s FURIOUS! He’s always wanted to get to Madam Tussauds…but he’s at the Elephant and Castle going ‘AAAAH, AY CAN’T BELIEVE IT!”

Stephen: “Now, what’s smaller than the moon, and keeps moving the sea around?”
Ross: “Is it a seal on caffeine?”
Alan: “Is it one of our OTHER moons?”

Alan: “….this better be the blue whale.”
[pause]
Stephen: “…it so is NOT the blue whale.”

Screen Shot 2019-01-26 at 10.04.48 PM.png
Stephen: “How many jellyfish are pictured here?”
Ross: “Is it one with a very flamboyant hat on?”
KLAXON- ONE
Ross: “yes, but where are the words ‘with a very flamboyant hat on’?”

Stephen says that Portugese Man of War stings are very common in Australia
Julia: “Toughens you up, though. I mean, that’s life, isn’t it?”
Stephen: “One day it’ll toughen you up enough to win a test match against us.”
OH. LOW BLOW, STEPHEN.
Julia rolls her eyes, and feigns pulling a Preston and walking off.

Stephen: “What is Australia’s deadliest creature, though-”
Julia, buzzing in immediately: “Rupert Murdoch.”
Surprisingly there’s no Klaxon for this.
Stephen: “Excluding a member of the human race, which…I’m not sure that does or not…”

Sue talks through a specific spider, but once the klaxon buzzes halfway through her describing it, she just starts singing it. I love that she has an upbeat attitude to getting deductions.

Ross, overdramatically: “IS IT MAAAAN? THE MOST DEADLY OF ALLLLL THE CREATURES?”
He then presses his buzzer for good measure, basking in the camp of that line.

Stephen does a great impression here of horses overreacting to common things. “RBRBRBRBRBRBRBRB WHAT’S THAT, it’s a HEDGE. RBBBBBBRRBRBBRBRB IT’S A PIECE OF PAPER!”

Ross talks about owning a narcoleptic horse, and it’s a fantastic anecdote, and he ends with the line “and I’ve got a friend over here, and he never came to visit us unfortunately, and he’s got narcolepsy himself, and THAT would have been the funniest thing…he would have to be on the horse, and if they got it in TIME- obviously it’d be a bit rubbish if he was awake and the horse went…”

Ross: “Did you see that woman who, she had her bum bitten off by a shark…and, you know how they do face transplants?”
Sue cracks up
Ross, to Sue: “No, they didn’t put a face on her bum…”
Stephen: “They did that to Anne Widdicombe…”
Ross, and the audience, wince at that one

Stephen, on this dinosaur question: “But no dinosaur was bigger than what? The biggest living creature that has ever existed on the planet.”
Alan: “…the T-Rex?”
Julia sneaks in: ‘the blue whale’
Stephen: “YES, THE BLUE WHALE! IT WAS YOUR CHANCE TO BE RIGHT, ALAN!”
Alan takes a moment, sighs and facepalms.

Alan has a great bit talking about the two servants of the blind king who loved war, saying they essentially did a sound version of the battle by clanging their swords together and whistling arrows.

This show’s humor is coming from anecdotes and personal bits, rather than collaboration. Which…isn’t bad, it’s just not as effective as it could be.

Sue talks about doing the Wall of Death, where the bike keeps you ’round the curve with centripetal force.
Sue: “It was fun, my dad detached his retina.”
Ross: “What, before you got on, just ‘well, here we go'” [mimes taking them out]

Stephen describes this Euthanasia Rollercoaster, which kills the person with a huge drop and force.
Sue: “Have Chessington World of Adventure bought it yet?”
[No, but they have banned Hugh Dennis from riding it]

Ross: “You could build a chapel at the end…and then, after the funeral, you get a picture of your loved one…”
Ross is just killing it this show. Sue and Julia are fine, but much quieter and less funny than Ross so far

Stephen: “So, what’s the biggest dead body in the world.”
Alan, with a pause: “…blue whale.”
Stephen: “NOOO…”
KLAXON
Tons of applause for this

Stephen: “I’ll give you a hint, it’s a body of water”
Alan: “The dead sea”
Stephen: “OHHHHHH”
KLAXON

Stephen, still playing with the blue whale runner, asks what weighs as much as an blue whale and lives in the sea
Alan: “..an elephant on holiday.”

Stephen mentions that nobody can really go deep enough to find out what blue whales really do
Sue: “Just gossiping”
Stephen: “Or having quizzes in which people say ‘is the answer Alan Davies?”
BRILLIANT

Stephen talks about picking your nose leading to vulnerability to meningitis and syphilis
Sue: “FROM PICKING YOUR NOSE??? GOOD GOD.”
Ross, not at all serious: “yeah, that’s how you get syphilis”
Alan: “Yeah, it slightly depends what you’re picking it WITH…”
Ross: “That’s how ya explain it to the wife- ‘NO, I WAS JUST PICKIN’ ME NOSE!”

I love the little clapping Ross does when Stephen reveals he’s going to set fire to something in the studio

Stephen puts something out wrong for the Jolly Jape, says ‘the man in my ear is furious with me’.
Alan: “-T YOU FUCKING DOING??? PUT THE WATER. DOWN. DO THIS PROPERLY, OR YOU WILL DIE. DO YOU UNDERSTAND???”
Stephen, trying to move on: “No,”
Alan: “START AGAIN, FOR *FUCK’S SAKE*”
Stephen: “…he was MUCH gentler than that…”

Stephen: “I’ve been told to tell you NOT to try this at home”
Ross: “Try it in someone else’s home…”

Stephen: “What I have hear is some normal, everyday washing-up liquid. We’re not allowed to mention its Fairy- NAME.”

Ross, as Stephen points out all the things on his table: “Oh, this is like going on a picnic with Heston Blumenthal…”

Alan: “When are you going to put the safety goggles on, Stephen?”
Stephen: “I’m about to now, because I’m about to open the bottle of acid”
Alan, again as the guy in the booth: “PUT THE FUCKING GOGGLES ON.”

Ross: “Can I just say something…YOU’RE putting on safety goggles…YOU’RE putting on a mask…”
Stephen: “You’re fine, you’re expendable.”
Alan goes and hides behind his notebook

There’s a moment where he’s spurting the bubbles with water…and it’s not doing anything, where Stephen realizes he may have fouled it up, and goes “oh GOD”. But then the bubbles catch fire, and it’s all good.

I will say, the Jolly Jape is one of the better ones we’ve had this season, and then right at it’s wrapping up, we hear Alan, again, going “PUT THE FUCKING LID ON THE ACID.”

It’s a good sign when as Stephen reads the scores, he has to stop because the hydrogen smell is still putting off Alan and Julia. Just says a lot about the dynamic.

Alan somehow doesn’t get last, only third.

Overall: A wild show. A ton of lulls, and a disappointing performance from Julia, who took an informational angle, but Alan and Ross were on a roll, Sue had some good lines, and the Jolly Jape was a definite highlight. Definitely not a series highlight, but…something about the dynamic, the wild little moments, and the amount of callbacks, like the other moons, the headless chicken, and, of course, the blue whale, boosted this one’s resume a bit.

MVP: Alan
Best Guest: Ross
Show Winner: Sue
Best QI Fact: Euthanasia Rollercoaster
Best Runner: Baffling the rings.

QI Watchdown: J4 (Jack & Jill) or LOGS WILL FALL!

I’ve been cranking these out of late, so here’s another one, seeming to mirror the theming of Girls & Boys, featuring David Mitchell as our anchor, Sue Perkins, once again, as our comic relief, and newbie and NMTB favorite Katy Brand as our ‘guest star’ of sorts. I’m not sure if she appears again, and if so it’s fleetingly, so this’ll be our taste of her.

From here on out, we do see more of the infamous David Mitchell beard, which has graced our televisions predominantly ever since.

All the buzzers are songs with J-Names: Katy’s is Dolly Parton’s Jolene, Sue’s is Jean Genie by David Bowie, David’s is Jennifer by Donovan (I think?), and Alan’s is…well, the Top Gear theme, which he celebrates with a Clarkson impression, but it’s just a cover of Jessica by the Allman Brothers, which Stephen quizzes the group on. It does help to know a thing or two about music.

Stephen: “Who dies if they don’t have sex for a year?”
Sue, smirking: “…is it Russell Brand?”
KLAXON. BECAUSE OF COURSE.
Sue reacts with shock, as she didn’t think she’d get one so early on, and jokingly beats herself up on the desk.
Sue: “GOODNIGHT! BYE-BYE!”

Stephen: “Now what’s a male ferret called?”
Alan: “Jeff.”

Already, the panel is just cracking up Stephen with how far off they are on what a female ferret is called, guessing all the wrong J names. Katy even buzzes in, and points to her buzzer, as a guess.

After saying that female ferrets die if they don’t have sex for a year, internally
Stephen: “So what you have to do, one of two things, you could-”
Alan: “Shag it-”
Stephen: “Spay her…”
Stephen, then the audience, goes back and realizes what Alan just said, and breaks a bit.
Katy: “I was gonna say that…”
Sue: “Treat her nicely…”
Stephen: “It will be the ULTIMATE sacrifice.”

Stephen: “No, find a hob [male ferret] for her-”
Katy: “And then cook it…”
Stephen: “Or you can give him injections…”
Sue: “It’s easier to have sex with it, really..”

Stephen: “He also bites the back of the neck of the hooked female-”
Sue: “Sounds like fun…”
Katy: “Sounds like Russell Brand…”

Stephen: “And it comes from the latin Ferito, which means-”
Alan: “HAVE SEX WITH ME OR DIE!”
Christ, this episode so far…

Stephen, on Mad Jack: “He also liked to get up in the middle of the night and shoot ducks, while naked.”
Sue: “Was the nudity really necessary?”
David: “Probably thought ‘they’re naked, why shouldn’t I be?”
Katy: “Is it wrong to start slightly falling in love with this man?”

Stephen, on Mad Jack Churchill: “He was the only reported soldier during WWII to go into battle armed with…what?”
Alan: “A teapot!”
Dear lord…
Sue: “A dessert spoon!”
Alan: “Sorry, tea COZY!”
Sue: “Cheese slicer.”
Stephen: “No, a bow and arrow.”
Sue: “….DID HE KNOW WHAT DECADE, or even what CENTURY he was in?”
Stephen: “He was a gallant, chivalrous man…”
Sue, miming a bow and arrow: “MARVELOUS STUFF!”

Stephen mentions he also carried a sword with him, and David, ever the master of logic, dissects the redundancy of carrying a bow and arrow AND a sword, and not being able to use both at once.

Stephen: “He also said that if you SMILE at the enemy, then he’s less likely to shoot you.”
Sue: “I wonder how HE died?”

Stephen: “How did Queen Jenga arrange her harem?”
Everyone in the panel starts cracking up, knowing the obvious joke
Sue: “Three rows that way, then three rows that way…”
KLAXON

Alan points out, in the picture of Queen Jenga, that she’s wielding a bow and arrow AND has a sword holstered, just like Churchill, which is the right kind of coincidental.

Stephen mentions that Jenga had men fight to the death to sleep with her…and be killed after sex.
Sue: “So then, what’s the incentive to enter the competition, then?”
Stephen: “Well, you’re killed either way, so either you’re killed and get a shag, or you’re killed…without a shag.”
Sue: “What kind of shag would you have if you knew you’d be murdered at the end of it. I mean, that must have been some tense coitus…”
Stephen: “Mister Tiggy would probably be very shrivelly, wouldn’t he?”
Sue completely doubles over at that, as would most people. The rest of the panel is just shaking their heads.
Sue: “Ooooh…too much Mister Tiggy information.”

Stephen says the game Jenga’s name is Swahili in origin.
Alan: “Swahili for TIIIIMBEEERRRR…”

Katy talks about leaving her kids to play Giant Jenga, and then coming back after some wine and-
Alan: “Blood everywhere?”
Stephen: “INFANTICIDE!”
Alan: “One hanging underneath…’where’s Timmy?’ ‘I dunno’ ‘HE’S UNDERNEATH THE JENGA!”
David: “That’s an extremely middle-class form of neglect…”

Stephen says there are different variations on jenga
David: “What about a lego version? Then…”

Stephen: “Well, the only limit…is your imagination…”
David: “SURELY that’s not Jenga’s slogan, is it?”

Stephen: “No, I think their slogan is “THIS SUMMER….LOGS WILL FALL…”

Stephen: “How many pieces are there in Jenga?”
Alan: “90.”
Katy: “NINETY? GOTTA BE A NUMBER DIVISIBLE BY THREE!”
Stephen: “See? Intelligence.”
David: “…well, ninety IS a number divisible by three…”
Alan just glares, kinda betrayed, at Katy for a moment

There’s a fantastic interlude, where Stephen says, truthfully, that any multiple of nine’s digits, added, is nine. And Alan does all the math in his head, up to 180. He does say that at 189, it becomes trickier, but Stephen adds the sum of THAT, 18, and we’re back to nine again. Very fun math moment.

Stephen tells a story of a Chinese pianist who had his arms burnt off, and had to learn to play piano with his toes.
David: “You sure he hasn’t got his head in the wrong place?”
Alan: “He’s got his hands down a pair of trousers. ‘LOOK AT MY TOES! LOOK AT MY TOES!”
David: “He’s SAYING he can play the piano with his feet- he’s a man who has a penis that looks like a face.”

Screen Shot 2018-11-24 at 6.11.49 PM.pngDavid: “I feel sorry for the other finalists to be Queen…”

I’m not even giving context for this one
David: “Quite lucky, I think, that nothing germinates from a discarded kebab. Our city centers would be even worse…”
[This is almost Rich Hall-esque]

Stephen: “How did the first person to notice they were colorblind realize they were colorblind?”
Katy: “Did they say ‘ahhh, the red shoots of spring…”

David slowly increasing his output this show, in a conversation about this man, who bought his mother red stockings, thinking they were blue.
David: “BUYING YOUR MOTHER PANTS IS NORMAL…but buying her RED PANTS. THAT’S WEIRD!”

Stephen, now talking about blind snooker players: “It’s to the point where at times they have to ask the referee-”
Katy: “Which is the table and which is the ball?”

Stephen then talks about cops playing ‘car snooker’, by chasing red cars until they do something wrong, then blue cars, and so on.
Alan: “Let’s all get a white car…so they can all just fuck off…”
Oh, I’m so glad Alan’s still on this show.

This is one of those episodes where the panel dynamic is so strong, and all four are just bouncing off of each other, that Stephen has to sort of try not to crack too much before going onto the next prompter read.

Stephen: “So what is it that people can’t become if they’re colorblind?”
David: “Snooker Players! Wait, no!”

Stephen confirms that colorblind pilots are alright, but only if they’re not the ‘worst kind of colorblind’
Katy: “Can’t tell the difference between the blue sky and the green…”
Sue: “And the gray tarmac…”
David: “Yes, the very worst kind of color-blindness, or BLINDNESS.”
All three guests are just teeing off. It’s fantastic!

Stephen: “What begins with J and was used by the first man to row the Atlantic to attempt suicide.”
Alan, not referencing E1: “…jizz.”
Sue, cracking up: “suicide by jizz?”

Stephen: “As a child, he knicked a pistol from his scout leader and fired shots at his fellow scouts, and was expelled from-”
Sue: “And got a badge for it!”
Alan: “Accuracy!”
Only Sue laughs at this one, but it really got me.

The jolly jape is doing paper airplanes, which Alan and David do well at. Katy’s lands behind her, and Sue’s lands in the central QI circle, which cracks her up.

Stephen surprises the group by saying the most effective paper airplane is cylindrical.
David: “What, you just scrunch it up and chuck it?”

Stephen does demonstrate, as it must be done in a spiral, like an american football, and he gets some pretty nice yardage on it.

Three episodes after making fun of Johnson’s tourette’s, Stephen confirms that Samuel Johnson did not, in fact, write the first dictionary. So, so much for that. Imagine if this show went out before Jargon.

One of the early Johnson words was ‘mouth-friend’, which Alan’s confused by.
Stephen: “Don’t we all need a mouth-friend?”

Alan, on another one of these words: “Isn’t shapesmith just a rubbish blacksmith?”

As Stephen is about to announce the scores, he does a contented sigh in that’s so flagrantly over the top that it sounds more like he’s just saying “EEEEEEEE…”. Everyone has to stop and go ‘WHAT?’ Sue and Katy even exclaim “HE’S DIED!!!” It’s sort of like the one time he literally just had a random ‘OHOHOHOHOHO’ laugh, and only Sean Lock called him off on it.

A note that Stephen has, for the most part, given up a longform anecdotal finale, in exchange for an Ellen Degeneres-esque “be kind to each other”, which is just the right amount of wholesome.

Overall: Dare I say it, an improvement on the show I was actually looking forward to, and the best show since E1. The dynamic was out of bounds, with all four giving fantastic material and collaborating. Katy Brand’s debut didn’t feel like one, as she was really excited to be there, and clearly knew Sue from somewhere (as did Liza, although…maybe Sue’s just naturally personable). David and Sue had very funny nights, though Sue may have had more outgoing moments. David took a bit more time to stand out, and was, like Phill last show, kind of to himself for the first half. It also helped that there were several very funny topics for all four to collaborate on, to the point where Stephen had to attempt herding them away, which was amusing in itself.

MVP: Sue
Best Guest: David
Show Winner: David
Best QI Fact: female ferrets dying without sex
Best Runner: Russell Brand jokes.

QI Watchdown: J2 (Jam, Jelly and Juice), or A Night Out with Tarbuck and Perkins

Over the next two series of QI, it’s gonna be noticeable that the BBC is piping in a moratorium that there’s got to be at least one female panelist on the program in an effort to allow more female comics to be featured, which I can definitely agree with. Yes, QI does lend itself to a ‘boys club’ dynamic, especially in its earlier series (Sean Lock’s shows boosted this narrative), but the last two series of the show have proved that panelists like Sandi Toksvig, Sue Perkins and now Victoria Coren-Mitchell are capable of providing fantastic moments.

Tonight’s show puts the moratorium to the test- Jo Brand is the anchor, Sue Perkins is the comic foil and Liza Tarbuck is the informational assistant. Three women and Alan, a tactic that would be revisited a few more times (I believe there was also one with Alan and three noted lesbians), but this assortment seems like a nice start.

A nice buzzer pun: the first three have party favor buzzers, party horns. Alan’s is Lesley Gore’s ‘It’s My Party’. Of course.

Jo gets the ball rolling rather quickly:
Stephen: “What begins with J and appears to be alive?”
Jo: “…is it me?”
Liza: “James Blunt?”
Stephen: “Closer, I reckon.”
Sue, bashfully: “…Jeremy Clarkson.”
KLAXON
And, as with custom, Sue outstretches her arms, as if she’s Andy Dufresne, and basks in the OWA.

Stephen restates the question
Sue: “Jedward, then. I’m revising my answer.”
KLAXON
[Also: Two Jedward references in two episodes. Man, they were milking this topical joke for all it was worth]

As Stephen explains why this is the case, Jo absent-mindedly guesses jelly, which is correct.
Jo: “Bloody hell!”

Stephen goes over all the uses for pigs
Stephen: “A pig’s bladder is used as tambourine skin.”
Jo: “I knew those folkies were evil…”

Sue: “You don’t want to get in a pen with a pig who’s approaching sexual maturity, as I learned at my cost…”
Alan: “And how ARE the piglets?”
Sue: “THEY’VE GOT NAMES, ALAN!”
Alan: “Porky and Perkin…”
Stephen, correcting Alan under the applause “it’s PINKY and Perkin…”

Just an general observation: everyone seems to be having so much fun so far, giggling and laughing. It helps that everyone seems to know each other well, and that these three are just in good moods. Granted, only the small lines are hitting thus far, but it seems to be a very fun dynamic so far.

On the line, from Stephen, “it stops you from being able to speak properly”, a picture of George W. Bush appears on the behind-screen. Yes, this was well into the Obama administration, but Bush jokes were still easy back then.

So they develop a contraption to speech-jam, or delay speech to the ear by a fifth of a second, in an effort to confuse brain activity…and try it out on Alan, by having him read from a book on jam. But…it doesn’t really work, and the only thing that happens is that Alan has to bring the book closer so he can read clearer. Stephen is dumbfounded, and suggests they try it on Jo.

It does happen to work on Jo, as within about 4 seconds she gets very confused, as Stephen starts with the jammer turned on.
Stephen: “…thank GOD it works for you…”
Jo: “I’ve got schizophrenia now…”

Liza’s turn goes fairly well, though the book does go into lines about bumholes and buttplugs,
Stephen: “YOU MADE THAT UP!”
Liza: “I didn’t! Mrs. Beaton. Dirty old bitch…”

As Sue switches places to have her turn: “I wanna see what happens to Mrs. Beaton and the buttplug.”

When Sue tries it, she starts out very well, but after a while she begins slurring, and slowing her dialogue, now just acting drunk while still trying to soldier on with it. She even says “I sound drunk now!”
And, after she’s gone on for a while: “owww, my head, where’s everyone gone?”

Liza admits later that her radio experience may have made her better at using the device, as she’s used to hearing herself on air with a delay.

Stephen: “I’ve got jumbo wrists and I’m covered in tit juice. What have I been up to?”
Jo, amidst cracking: “…is it a night out with Tarbuck and Perkins?”

Stephen, describing other fisherman ailments: “You can also get haddock rash…”
Jo: “Why are you looking at me?”

Jo does mention that it’s similar to pregnant women having swelling
Stephen: “That’s right, a lot of people can’t take their wedding ring off again after they’ve given birth”
Jo: “Yeah, and they’re pissed off about it…”

Stephen: “What was unique about Fanny Farmer’s cup size?”
Liza, once again, just doubles over laughing. This is almost as bad as the gis stuff from last episode.

Stephen, still reestablishing the question: “…and it’s nothing to do with fanny-farming being an occupation.”
Again, the panel loses it.
Liza: “I NEVER THOUGHT I’D HEAR HIM SAY THAT!”

This is also the second show in a row that mentions Sherlock Holmes, though this one is more about the magazine where he first appeared, rather than his ejaculations.

Sue, on a question about Marie Antoinette’s bosom, says that she hates the term ‘breasts’, and people should just be more forthcoming about it, say ‘boobs’, or ‘jugs’ as Liza suggests.
Stephen: “I like ‘titties”
The audience beats Sue to this, but she goes “I’M SURE YOU DO!”
Sue: “YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST!”

Stephen, on the Antoinette cups: “And you can have replicas, if you’d like to have one in your own house.”
Alan: “I Do.”

Liza talks about going in to have a bra measured, and having the person open the curtain, look at her, and go “I can’t help you.”
Alan: “I’LL MAKE YOU A BRA, but I can’t help you…”

After the conversation about what women go through with bramakers, Stephen shudders, which gives the effect of a motorboat. He realizes the connotation and facepalms. Poor, poor Stephen.

Stephen even gives a breast-related dirty joke.
Sue: “Yeah, tonight’s the night you turn…”

The show does take another lull not too soon after, with both the IWS and the miracle berry segments just limping along. Like last show, a lot of the humor is solely cheap innuendo, and this panel doesn’t do anything with the innuendo other than just fall victim to it.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 2.13.56 PM.pngOn this matrilineal society
Alan: “WHAT THEY WANT TO DO…is they want to put the necklaces on BEFORE they put the hat on…”

Stephen: “What’s the main ingredient in fish jam?”
“….”
Alan: “I SENSE A TRAP…”

Stephen: “So what’s the main ingredient to Hitler bacon?”
Sue: “GOEBBELS!”

The ending Jolly Jape involves all four attempting to drink from a water cup with holes in it, which Sue has a ton of fun with.

Alan wins with +11, which is a triumphant end to this one, but…Jo lampshades that for the sake of the booking people, it would have been nicer if a woman won.
Sue, even: “This experiment in women on television has failed.”

Overall: Despite some fun moments in the middle, and a general jovial mood, this show was generally disappointing, with either deafening lulls, or moments that relied too heavily on innuendo, like the entire miracle berry sequence. It’s not the fault of any of the panelists, who all did well, but it was one of those shows that just couldn’t really take off past funny answers and…the occasional boob joke. Sue and Liza knowing each other definitely helped, as both were bouncing off each other all night, and Jo, while more subdued, was still funny, but…not a lot to excavate from this one.

MVP: Sue
Best Guest: Liza
Show Winner: Alan
Best QI Fact: sentient jelly
Best runner: Stephen’s tit fixation

A shame that one was a downer, but coming up next we have one I’ve been excited to cover for a very long time.

QI Watchdown: I15 (Immortal Bard), or OH! FRENCHWOMAN!

It’s been a while since I’ve truly devoted time to QI, and watching through it, to the point where I’ve basically taken 2 years to finish Series I. And it’s a shame, too, as this is a very funny season, with 3 10/10 shows, 2 extremely fun shows with Ross Noble screwing with a special guest, and just lots of great material.

Here, we see one of the last few instances of QI doing a ‘these 3 panelists are here a lot, let’s put them all together’ show; Bill Bailey, David Mitchell and Sue Perkins are all on a ton, and they’re all here tonight, on a special Shakespeare-themed QI, which should definitely make Stephen proud. It’s sad they couldn’t get an actual Shakespearean actor, like John Sessions, Brian Blessed or Emma Thompson, for this one, but with these three, including a guy who’d appear on a Shakespeare send-up years later (Upstart Crow), I think we’ll be fine.

Everyone is dressed for the occasion, as shown in the Intros:
Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 7.36.28 PM.png

Early on, Stephen asks about the David Tennant production of Hamlet, and asks who Tchaikovsky played. And it’s already amusing enough, seeing these four try to work out what that means. Eventually, Stephen reveals that he played the skull, which is a nice touch.

Stephen of course, quotes the line where Hamlet holds the skull, “alas, poor Yorick, I knew him, Horatio-”
Bill: “Alas, poor Yo-…wait a minute, THIS IS TCHAIKOVSKY!”

Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 7.44.57 PM.pngDavid: “You’d hope that they had to dirty it up again…like that’s not just a bit of the guy that’s still clinging…”

David has another line, about someone who wastes their life, and donates their skull to theatre, “and then all the reviewers say “…I dunno, Yorick felt a bit stilted…”

Stephen: “Name the Scottish Play, that Shakespeare wrote.”
Sue: “Ah, Taggart!”

Bill has a great moment here, where he ridicules Stephen for always tricking him, and naming fake Shakespeare plays that are clearly the wrong answer…and then he guesses Macbeth, which Stephen, rather matter-of-factly, goes “…yes.”

Stephen brings up that even saying Macbeth is bad luck
Sue: “Yeah, you have to sleep with all your costars immediately.”

Stephen talks of the John Gielgud production of Macbeth, saying four people died during the production.
Sue: “Was that the one where they used machine guns in it?”

The panel goes off on the idea that turning off mobile phones in a theatre should just be made a superstition, so more people will follow it. And they just keep building on it, saying it was an ancient curse from the time of King Tut.

Stephen: “I was in a theatre not long ago, where someone’s phone went off, and the actor just went “OH, FOR FUCK’S SAKE!”

Bill tells the story of a production of Diary of Anne Frank with Pia Zadora, and she was so bad that “by the time the Nazis started knocking on the door, someone shouted out ‘SHE’S IN THE ATTIC!”

Again, just the casual dynamic of these guys talking about Shakespeare and theatregoing is just fantastic. After a bit, they all just start telling stories of onstage interruptions, and it’s all great.

And then Bill tells the story of doing 12 Angry Men onstage, and one of the jurors fainted onstage, and they all had to help him off. “and you see the audience going ‘…I don’t remember a bit in 12 Angry Men where one of the jurors…died..”

The West Side Story question, which Bill guesses that the original title of West Side Story was…West Side Story (and is Klaxoned) is one I knew: Originally it was set in the east side. Sue knows this immediately.

Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 9.35.11 PM.pngBill: “…all their pipes have been airbrushed out of this photograph…”
[But don’t take it from me, take it from Sweary Bob. “YEAH, THEY’RE FUCKIN’ GREAT!”]

Stephen gets the audience to answer that the Lion King is based on Hamlet, which Sue, like me, doesn’t entirely agree with: ‘AT WHAT POINT DOES HAMLET SING ‘HAKUNA MATATA??”

Stephen: “What about the Tempest, what movie was made of that?”
Bill, on the Lion King thread: “Wicked!”
David: “THE PERFECT STORM!”
HA!
Bill: “SPEED! SPEED 2!”
Sue: “Harold and Kumar Get the Munchies”

The way Stephen pronounces ‘Syracuse’, as ‘Syyyy-racuse’, angers me, as a New Yorker.

Stephen asks for the other main candidates for the ‘who really wrote shakespeare’s plays’ theory
Bill: “Oh, hang on-”
Bill presses his buzzer, then turns to Alan and goes “…what was it?”
Alan, through his fingers: “…MARLOWE!”
Bill: “CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE!”

Bill: “Could he have theoretically dictated these plays, to someone else?”
Stephen: “I suppose it’s possible. Barbara Cartland used to lie on her sofa and dictate her marvelous novels…”
Sue: [cringes at that description]

Stephen: “I don’t suppose Shakespeare used every word he knew in his plays, as he left a lot out…[quieter]…I don’t remember the word ‘clitoris’ in any of them…”

Bill goes on a tangent about printing, about copying a vole, and printing a vole…and then it turns into a discussion of marzipan voles, which…again, this is classic Bill here, just going off about random things.

Stephen instructs the panel to figure out what all these seldom-used Shakespearean words mean
Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 10.26.55 PM.png
Alan: “…I’ve got a Swoltery Quatch at the moment…”
And he just looks over at Stephen, bashfully
Alan: “…it happened when I put me kicky-wickies on…”

Sue: “What is a kickie-wickie? Is that Russell Brand’s version of a football?”
Stephen: “It’s an affectionate term for a wife.”
Sue: “…A KICKIE-WICKIE IS NOT AN AFFECTIONATE TERM FOR A WIFE.”
David: “Domestic violence was a lot more acceptable, then…”
Sue: “Ah, the old Smashy-Washy…the ol’ Battery-Watter…”

On the list of words that DID catch on:
Alan: “FRENCHWOMAN? A bit of a stretch. “Yes, I invented it…”
David: “He invented ‘taking the space out’…”
Bill, french accent: “Zis is my wife, she is a…zuhdkfjg…uh, thingymagig, I dunno…what can I call her? OH! FRENCHWOMAN!”

Sue, on the list of phrases: “…How did he say ‘What the Dickens’? Dickens didn’t come along for another 200 years!!”

There’s a running gag where Stephen’s chain necklace keeps getting caught on his sleeve. It happens twice, and it gets laughter from the audience each time.
Stephen: “…this bit of ruff is not behaving, I’ve said that before…”

Sue, on the Dangerous Dan question: “Oooh, I sense I’m falling into a pit, but I’ll do it anyway…dunno why I’m talking like that…”

Stephen: “Of course, the trap you fell into, the rewriting of Shakespeare, was actually done by a famous couple, whose names were…”
Bill: “…Richard and Judy!”

On the Bottom actor who Morris Danced from London to Norwich
Stephen: “There’s a phrase that came of this-”
Sue: “Cocking about? Making a right tit of yourself?”

Stephen: “What d’you call a group of Morris Dancers?”
Sue: “…an ass.”
Bill: “A SWARM!”
Sue: “AN EMBARRASSMENT!”
Sue’s doing great with little jokes tonight
Bill: “Uhh, a plague?”
Alan: “A BELLEND!”
[and I’m gone]

Stephen mentions that American Morris-Dancing is taking off “in a big way”
Alan, American accent: “I’VE JOINED A BELLEND!”

The klaxons in this episode are kind of expected: Sue, in answering the Marlowe question, prefaces it by saying “…let me say it so you can mock me.”

This episode is great for collaboration as well, which is what the last show was missing: there’s a gag about a bill for a brothel, and all four are collaborating, juxtaposing restaurant bill jokes onto the brothel setting. It’s fantastic.

Stephen: “What made Lord Byron limp?”
[childish laughter]
Sue: “Now that’s a loaded question…”
Bill: “Item 4 on the brothel bill?…uh, eight hours of Morris dancing?’

Stephen: “There was a scandal, in which he’d possibly had sex with…”
Sue: “…a young…”
Bill, confidently: “Goat.”
And he just sits there, nodding

Stephen: “Now, what can the Queen do that an idiot can’t?”
Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 11.01.54 PM.png
Bill: “…by the looks of things, kill people with their own eyes…”

Overall: Along the same vein as Films & Fame- a very entertaining episode with great facts, that may not have been the funniest. I still enjoyed watching, as the panel was very coherent, and all four were capable of working with each other. Sue had the easier jokes, and not all of hers hit; David was the quietest of the four, but still had a great night whenever he spoke up; Bill Bailey, of course, had the funniest moments, and, like usual this series, is a delight at all points. A very fun show, and one, as a Shakespeare guy, that I got a lot out of.

MVP: Bill
Best Guest: Bill
Show Winner: David
Best QI Fact: Tchaikovsky’s head
Best Runner: Brothel bill

QI Watchdown: I7 (Incomprehensible), or When you say ‘Tossing Ewoks into a lake of farts’..

I feel like most of QI has been building to this episode.

Back in Series G, there was an episode where QI’s embodiment of ridiculous humor, Johnny Vegas, went toe-to-toe with QI’s then-supplier of interesting information, Rob Brydon, and the two ideologies clashed as the episode went on, while David Mitchell just sort of watched.

Tonight, Ross Noble, one of the most ridiculously funny people QI has ever had on, will be playing with Professor Brian Cox, one of the smartest men in the UK, one of the most charismatic informational presenters, and a guy who made Dara O’Briain look like the stupid one (which harkens back to Chris Addison’s Dara impression-‘So, WHAT YOU’RE SAYING, PROFESSOR COX, IS THAT IN A PARALLEL UNIVERSE, THERE IS A ME, WITH HAAAAAAIR”That’s right, Dara…’)

And then, on the other end, you have Sue Perkins there to watch.

The buzzers are funny tonight. Sue’s is a child’s voice saying ‘WHO DID IT, DADA?’ (which she says is ‘a million types of wrong, there’). Ross’s is a bunch of telephone sped up voices, which he unsuccessfully tries to imitate.
Alan’s is just a ton of Alan voices all played at once.
Brian: “…was that your internal dialogue?”
Alan: “I think so!”

Brian, on the rodent noise question, vouches for the animal language person: “my director on one of my documentaries got a phD from Oxford, studying frog communication.”
Stephen: “…he was a professor of French.”

Brian: “We sat out there in the Outback, and he was able to discern three words.”
Sue: “Was one of them ‘ribbit’?.”

Ross: ‘[the prairie dog’s] got that fact because he’s got Philip Scofield’s hand up his bum…”
Stephen: “Ohhh, THAT takes me back…”
The audience, of course, takes this the exact wrong way-
Stephen: “No, WHEN I SAY THAT TAKES ME BACK…”

Stephen explains that prairie dogs are able to distinguish height and color, but not gender.
Ross: “Apparently, if a transvestite in a tartan approaches, they explode…”

Stephen asks what the Pope’s librarian initially thought of Saturn’s rings, and Brian mentions that Galileo jokingly thought that the planet had ears.
Stephen: “No, I’m not talking about something SENSIBLE, I’m talking about the librarian for the POPE…”

And then…this bit:
Stephen: “He genuinely believed that after Christ’s ascension to Heaven…the rings of Saturn…were where he put his foreskin…”
Brian: “FIFTY THOUSAND MILES ACROSS! IMAGINE THE SIZE…”
Stephen: “They weren’t aware of that-”
Sue: “Gee, I need a place to hang this massive foreskin on…”

Brian, after hearing of said librarian’s dissertation: “This is how to interest teenagers in astronomy…”

(There’s a pretty stinging Mock the Week swipe that Alan has, but…I’m gonna let that slide, seeing as I rather enjoy that program…or at least Series’ 1-15 of it…)

Brian becomes the first NON-ALAN person to get the ‘Nobody Knows’ bonus, for saying that nobody really knows how the rings of saturn were formed. Right up his alley, too.

As Stephen congratulates the ‘true scientist’ for guessing the answer, Alan goes ‘AHEM’, and we cut and see he’s had his card up as well.
Stephen: “….well done, NOW…”

After Brian takes some time with some truly interesting information on the moons of Saturn:
Ross, earnestly: “Of all these moons…and this is the one thing I wanted to ask you, of all these moons, which one is MOOOST likely to be the home to Ewoks?”
[And the audience goes wild, of course, because this is a great moment.]
Brian, rebounding like a champ: “It would be, uh…TITAN, actually. It has a thicker atmosphere than the earth, so….you’d…need to be furry…”
Ross nods, approvingly, and starts jotting it down. I’m just glad these two polar opposite mindsets could work together to make something hysterical.

And then Stephen, being Stephen, goes ‘you’re just gonna have to destroy the one that has Jar-Jar Binks on it, I suppose…”

Stephen talks of astronauts seeing penguin poop from space.
Ross: “Yeah, they pile it up like toothpaste, and they put it together to spell out ‘Piss Off Spacemen’..”

It’s mentioned that helium’s the 2nd-most abundant gas on the planet. When asked why, Sue keeps perking up and going ‘squeaky voices’.
Eventually this gets her a KLAXON (“Making your voice go funny”), and she rears back in a Jo-Brand-esque arms-out stance. Like, her works here is done.

Okay, here’s why I like Brian Cox. Unlike somebody like John Sessions or Rory McGrath, Brian Cox has all of this knowledge not from the desire to pedantic, but from years of experience and studying. He’s lived all of this knowledge, in terms of astronomy and such, and he can take this knowledge and make it interesting, knowing full well that QI’s a comedy program as well as an informational show. His information enhances that of a given topic, rather than just being random, trivial knowledge. Hell, he might even rank higher than Gyles Brandreth in this regard.

Also, what’s even better is when Ross pitches a ridiculous question, Brian can actually use science to theoretically answer it, even if, after another iteration of this, Sue’s going ‘OW, MY BRAIN…’

Stephen: “When…is the present?”
Sue: “Ohhhh…I’m not gonna fall into that trap. WHO’S gonna say it?”

There’s a nice runner where whenever Brian says something intelligent, both Ross and Alan start taking notes, even out of context.
Alan: “the sun has exploded….we’ve eight minutes to live…”

After Brian says that all electrons are just the one electron going through time several times.
Ross: “I have a feeling that when you’re late for a meeting, you’re an absolute nightmare…’you were supposed to be here 8 minutes ago”well…actually…’ ‘OH, GOD, HE’S DOING IT AGAINNNN…”

Stephen starts lighting candles to start a new topic.
Ross: ‘Is this the point where we all have to kneel down and pray to Jesus’ foreskin?’

Brian makes a point about nitrogen gas being heavier than air, and pushing all the air to the top of the lift. So people can suffocate, even if it’s Nitrogen.
Ross: “Every Al Queda cell that’s watching this tonight is going ‘WE’RE NOT DOING IT RIGHT!”

Stephen talks of a professor dipping a fresh rose in liquid nitrogen, and smashing it on the table, saying it was shockingly beautiful. Nobody else on the panel seems to share this sentiment.
Stephen: “I think you’re humoring me. I think you want me to go back to foreskins.”
Ross: “No, I think it’s a hilarious Valentine’s Day prank.”
Brian: “Imagine if they did that on Saturn’s moon titan, where the atmosphere is so cold-”
Ross, fetching his notebook: “Hold on, TITAN? THAT THE ONE WHERE THE EWOKS LIVE! HANG ON! Basically you’re saying that you can SHATTER an ewok!”
Brian: “YES!”
Brian: “It’s got layers of liquid methane, because it’s so cold. It has the consistency of water, so there’s methane rain, methane snow. There’s a lake of methane that’s the size of Lake Superior.”
Sue: “Methane, which is essentially a fart? Liquid fart? I don’t wanna go there! Strike it off!”
Ross: “If I could stand on a planet, and throw an ewok into a lake of farts, that would be-”
John: “Well, you couldn’t because it’d shatter…”
Ross: “……EVEN BETTER!”
Stephen: “It’s your heaven. Everyone has their own heaven, and that’s yours.”
Ross: “Hang on, when you say ‘tossing ewoks into a lake of farts’…
Stephen, seeing where he’s going: “STEADY…”
Ross, smiling: “That’s EXACTLY what I meant…”

Ross: “You know what? After this show finishes, I’m off. I don’t care. You’ll never see me again. ‘Where is he?’ ‘He’s off tossin’ ewoks again..into his lake of farts.”

Stephen, trying to keep the show going: “What variety of lettuce did they serve on board the titanic?”
Sue: “Iceberg!”
KLAXON
Sue collapses into that same Brand-esque ‘don’t care’ pose from earlier.

Stephen says there may have been 700 heads of lettuce because that’s just how much was saved.
Sue: “They SAVED the lettuce but not the people? FIFTEEN HUNDRED PEOPLE DIED! And they went ‘GET THE LETTUCE, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD…”

Stephen: “No, it was actually 7000 heads of lettuce.”
Ross: “No wonder the bloody thing sank, then. It was filled with lettuce…”
Brian: “Hey, lettuces float!”
Ross: “…THEN WHY DID IT SINK, THEN? WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?”

There’s a round where the panel has to complete slogans for areas of the UK.
Stephen: “Welcome to Northamptonshire, let yourself-”
Sue: “…down.”
Ross: “‘let yourself out..'”

Stephen: ‘Welcome to Tower Hamlets, let’s make it ______”
Alan: ‘…out alive.”

Stephen, on satnavs: “I’ve just done voice for them, so that-”
Ross: “What, does it go ‘Turn left- now the interesting thing about…”
Alan: “Did you do it as if you were talking to me? LEFT, MORON!”
Ross: “If you make a left turn instead of making a u-turn, does the [klaxon] come on, and ‘WAAAAH-WAAAH-WAAHH…”

Sue nabs the SECOND ‘Nobody Knows of the night, by saying that nobody really knows the correct definition of a galaxy. Man, everybody’s just intelligent all-around tonight, even Ross Noble…

Overall: A truly fascinating show, not only being truly informative and thought-provoking, but also being truly hysterical. Ross Noble’s interactions with Professor Brian Cox made for some of the funnier moments of the series, and Sue Perkins had some insanely funny moments herself, leaving Alan with the least extraordinary day. Brian definitely seemed like he was enjoying himself, and was definitely the right person for this show, capable of spewing knowledge, as well as being able to laugh at himself (and mostly at Ross Noble.)

MVP: Brian
Best Guest: Ross
Show Winner: Brian
Best QI Fact: Goat-webs
Best Runner: Throwing ewoks into a lake of farts.

QI Watchdown: H2 (H-Anatomy) or I DON’T WANT TO BE YOUR BISCUIT!

So, way back in Series A, we had the very first ‘Oh my god this is amazing’ episode of QI. And it starred an incredibly british chap named Gyles Brandreth, who never everything and spoke in a very thick, twee voice. And Rob Brydon and Rich Hall proceeded to steal the episode right from under him, turning his billion right answers into a spree of jokes. Gyles by himself can be a tad underwhelming, so with good support he can be enjoyable.

Tonight might not be as good support as Rich and Rob, but instead Sue Perkins and Bill Bailey are here to buffer Gyles a bit, in a special Anatomy themed episode.

Observations: Sue, after her fairly normal debut, has gone to her usual style of wearing her hair in a very boyish cut, which she’ll probably keep with for the rest of her appearances. Bill is wearing a full-on Dragonball t-shirt. Gyles has much less hair than he did in 2003.

The intros for all four have a ‘hand’ for Sue, a ‘HOORAY’ for Bill, a ‘HIP-HIP-HOORAY’ for Gyles, and a loud scream for Alan. All four buzzers are these recorded audio cues, even the ‘hair-raising scream’, which seems to freak Alan out.
Bill: “Already, this is one of the weirdest shows I’ve ever been on…”

Stephen: “What can you tell about someone from their hands.”
Alan: “How long you’re gonna live, what job you’re gonna have…”
Bill: “Your future…”
KLAXON- THE FUTURE
Now Alan and Bill start arguing who should get the -10 points. Bill even goes “he started it, I just went along with it…”

Gyles, after Stephen says the correlation between hands and future has never been proved: “But there are people who feel they’ve done it.”
Stephen: “Yes, but feeling you’ve done something is not quite the same as empirical scientific fact- thank God you’re out of government.”

behind Stephen tonight are two scientific example skeletons, just for the theme. When Stephen’s explaining an answer, someone offscreen starts moving one of them toward Stephen, putting a bony hand on his back. It turns out there’s a piece of wire…going all the way to Alan’s chair. Yeah, that’s pretty perfect. Eventually Alan yanks it so hard that the skeleton falls.

Gyles: “He, being gay, spent a lot of time in North Africa…”
Sue, making fun of him: “NORTH AFRICAAAA.”
Gyles: “One of the things I found when I was in North Africa…”
Sue: “Are you coming out? Is this a coming out story? Cause if it is, that [Gyles with his finger up in the air] will be the picture, so just watch out…”
Gyles: “I might not, but tonight could be the night…”
Sue: “I know your party’s well behind you…”

Gyles: “I don’t mean to namedrop, but I met Desmond Tutu, and he held my hand like this for a long, long time.”
Bill: “As he said to his aides ‘Who is this again?'”

Stephen: “I have no evidence of this. I know that Andre Ghee went to North Africa..”
Gyles: “Oh, that’s who I’m thinking of…” [Facepalm]

Gyles is actually doing a lot better making jokes and playing along with people like Sue and Stephen, in addition to sharing his wealth of knowledge. There’s a reason I loved him the first time he was on, and that’s because he’s very genuine about what he knows, and who he is. It’s not like a John Sessions/Rory McGrath facts for the sake of looking good kind of thing. This is who Gyles is, and the fact that he knows this makes up his personality.

There’s a great running character bit where Gyles, in order to demonstrate something, keeps requiring Sue’s hand. Sue, being very gay, hates even the slightest touch from a guy, so every time, she’s very reluctant. One time, Gyles even says “I need you to be my biscuit”, and Sue, horrified, backs away going “I DON’T WANT TO BE YOUR BISCUIT!”

Stephen: “Are there other names for an angels’ halo?”
Gyles: “Gloriole!”
Stephen: “Yes, Glory ‘ole”
Gyles, dodging outright: “No, it’s got to be Gloriole! He say Gloriole!”
Stephen: “It’s a shame, cause Glory’ole is somehow better, I don’t see why. Describe the Pope’s Glory’ole.”
Oh dear lord Stephen…

Sue: “Are there other shaped…glory’oles? Like, is there a triangular glory’ole?”
Stephen: “A TRIANGULAR GLORI’OLE!”
Bill: “What, so somebody’s stuffing Toblerone’s right in there.”
Second episode in a row to mention Toblerone. Thankfully it has nothing to do with Richard Fairbrass’ bum.

Alan just keeps playing with the shrunken head, and pressing the buzzer with it, so there’d be a high-pitched scream every time the head hit it.

Stephen: “But how do you shrink a head.”
Alan: “Put it in the washing machine at a very high temperature…”

Stephen: ‘What happens if you try to comb a hairy ball?”
Sue: “Ask Bill.”
Man…it’s a good thing Bill’s heard worse from Mark Lamarr.

Gyles, in his nosebleed answer, goes “you could lie back.”
Sue and Stephen: “Oh, no…”
Gyles, sensing a klaxon: ‘NO NO! I MEAN-”
KLAXON

Gyles and Sue tie for first. Gyles turn to shake Sue’s hand, and Sue winces, going back to the episode’s runner, before finally shaking it.

Overall: A very fun and breezy episode, though the droughts in the middle did slow the grade down a bit. Gyles was a wonderful addition, and his way of working with Sue was definitely a great improvement. Sue was a wonderful connector as usual, and Bill, though down from his usual material, was still very funny.

MVP: Gyles
Best Guest: Sue
Show Winners: Gyles and Sue
Best QI Fact: Shrunken heads
Best Runner: Gyles and Sue handshakes.

QI Watchdown: G13 (Gothic)

Onto a rather dark episode, technically though not nominally the Halloween special, featuring two very dark comedians, Jack Dee and Jimmy Carr, and one that will eventually become one of QI’s more tenured ones, Sue Perkins.

Jimmy’s buzzer is a Shining-esque “HEEERE’S JIMMY!”, which he seems to enjoy. Sue’s is a Wilhelm Scream, which she seems flabbergasted by. Alan’s is “Arsenal, Nil, Norwich City, 3”, which Alan glares at Stephen for.

Sue’s description of the Goths: “The Goths were an ancient German tribe, I think, who wore crushed velvet and very, very thin drainpipe trousers, and spat in shopping centers.”

Stephen: “The Goths were actually Scandiwegian, and…you [Alan] look Scandiwegian-”
Sue: ‘Scandinavian and Glaswegian?”
Jimmy: “They sound dangerous!”

Jimmy: ‘BAD MONKS! There’s a good idea for a book.”
Jack: “They did that, it was called The DaVinci Code”
Jimmy: “They should have called it Bad Monks. It’s a film about some BAAAD monks! These monks have turned NASTY!”

Stephen: “Does Carpenter Gothic mean anything to you?”
Jimmy: “Carpenter Gothic? It was an interesting phase in their recording career. Cause she was quite skinny anyway, and she had the mascara…”

Stephen says the guy who painted American Gothic was Grant Wood.
Sue: “Grant Wood. Sounds like a porn star.”
Alan: “I GRANT WOOD! THANK YOU!”

Jimmy, on ‘Gothic’: “It’s great, because it makes me think the Goths sacked Rome…after being nagged about it by their mum for a fortnight.”

Jack: “I was a goth for a while.”
Stephen: “Were you?”
Jack: “Yeah, I was asked to leave because I was too miserable…”
Sue: “You were bringing them down?”
Alan: “I was an emu for a while…”

Jack: “What’s the difference between an emo and a goth? I’ve forgotten that…”
Alan: “One’s a flightless bird…”

Stephen: “Who painted Still Life with Sunflowers?”
Sue: “Van Goff.”
KLAXON
Jimmy: “No, then it’s Van Go-TH!”
KLAXON- VAN GOTH
Sue: “VAN GO!”
KLAXON- VAN GO
Sue: “GAAAHHHH!”
Jimmy: “OOH! Cezanne.”

Stephen: “There’s now a theory that Van Gogh’s ear was cut off by Gauguin.”
Jimmy: “Oh, it’s not pronounced Gauguin.”
Sue: “It’s HOOOOOOOCHHAAUN!”

Stephen: “Alan, you’re a zombie. You bite Jimmy. Jimmy, you bite Jack, and Jack, you bite Mel.”
Alan, correcting: “Sue.”
Sue looks confused and perturbed. Stephen just face palms. Jimmy does the Jimmy laugh.

Jimmy, on the zombie outbreak question: “I think it’s a trick question, because [Alan]’s a vegetarian. You wouldn’t bite me, I don’t think. You’d have a salad.”
Alan: “I wouldn’t CONSUME you, but I would be prepared to kill you, turn you into one of me, BWAHAHAHAHA!”
Jimmy: “AND THEN WE WILLLL ALL LIVE IN WINDMILLS AND SOLVE CRIMES!”
Fantastic link to Jonathan Creek, there.
Alan: “I LOOK like the character…not actually me.”
Jimmy: “Whereas Mel looks NOTHING LIKE HERSELF!”

Stephen reveals that people in Ghana can be buried in any object-shaped coffin they’d like. The picture shows a fish-coffin.
Jack: “Was he cremated or grilled?”

Jimmy’s got a lot of great lines about death. On dying too young, he says “there must be an age of which they die, where they say “naw actually, that’d be enough, that’ll do…”
Or, on ‘a loss in the family’ stones: “Well, everyone’s death is a loss in the family, so…”

Weird part about ‘see me rot dot com’, which is mentioned here, is that it’s not the first time i’ve been told about this. Ex-gf of mine. She was into some weird shit.

Stephen: “There are a lot of people who are deathly afraid of being buried alive.”
Alan: “I am quite afraid of it, now that you mention it…”

Stephen: “It has the biggest eyes of any animal relative to its head. The human equivalent to that-”
Jimmy: “-would be Natalie Imbruglia.”
Stephen: “They’re rather ugly…”
Jimmy: “I think she’s sexy…”

Stephen says this squid is able to “dazzle” anyone who tries to devour it.
Jimmy: “Its defense it to dazzle? Like, TA-DAAHHH!”
Sue, with a perfect analogy: ‘It’s the John Barrowman of deep-sea specimens…”

Stephen: “What’s the toughest way to become a mummy.”
Jimmy, after a thoughtful beat: “Reverse cowgirl?”
The audience applauds.
Stephen: “Now, they understand that. You’ll have to explain that to me.”
Jimmy: “i’m going to need a volunteer from the audience…”

On the town in florida that had 2/3rd of the US’s amputees in 1965.
Jack: “Did this town cost an arm and a leg to live there?”
Jimmy: “Is it the town where they put the diabetic clinic next to the donut shop?”
The audience literally has to stop and groan at that, in the midst of laughing. Jimmy’s even going “WHAT??”
Jimmy, going on: “Is it the town where the helicopter pad was next to the taxi rank?”

Stephen mentions it’s self-harming.
Sue: “Oh, uh, amputee-wannabes…I think I’ve made that sound…disrespectful…”

Stephen: “After the Vietnam war, who was buried in the tomb of the unknown soldier?”
Sue: “We don’t know. All of them were anonymous, weren’t they?”
KLAXON
Jimmy: “The whole nature of this show, it’ll mean, the unknown solider, he wasn’t a soldier, they KNEW him, and he wasn’t dead!”
Sue: “The unknown soldier was actually buried in a chili pepper in Ghana.”
Jack: “Was he an unknown soldier while he was still alive? He kept turning up, no one seems to notice. “How you doing? [whispered] who is that? I dunno!”

For the ‘saved by the bell’ question, Jack, narrowly dodging a question, gets it right by saying it’s a boxing reference. Alan says “I thought it was a reference to being buried alive.” AND HE STILL GETS A KLAXON.
Jimmy: “HOW COULD YOU GET IT WRONG AFTER HE’S GOT IT RIGHT?? That’s EXTRAORDINARY!”
Stephen: “Only Alan!”
Jimmy: “You were LITERALLY saved by the bell. He buzzed in and got it right, and you couldn’t say your stupid thing, AND YOU WENT THERE ANYWAY!! YOU’RE AMAZING!”

Stephen: “What can you tell me about Mozart’s burial?”
Jimmy: “Did they play Angels by Robbie Williams?”
(Don’t tell Mark Lamarr)

Alan ties for first for the second episode in a row, with Jack. Jimmy comes in last.

Overall: A very nice episode with four people that definitely came to play. I like Sue, because she’s not the funniest person on the panel, but she’s an outstanding connector, and she’s great in terms of a group dynamic, which this show THRIVES on. Jimmy had the best nice, and the best lines. Jack, like usual, stuck to the outskirts but always came in with some nice lines. Him and Rich Hall probably get along well, as they have the same humor.

MVP: Jimmy
Best Guest: Sue
Show Winners: Jack and Alan
Best QI Fact: Vampire Squid
Best Runner: Sue= Mel.