Gigglebox Weekly #18
This week Ian Wolf looks at a woman in a coma, a dark sketch show, and the making of an interesting programme.
The second in the series of Comedy Showcase pilots, Coma Girl isn’t the strongest of shows – and I can’t see it getting a full series.
The girl in question, Lucy (Anna Crilly, who starred in last week’s Comedy Lab pilot Anna & Katy), is trapped in a coma full of surreal moments – like seemingly being at a party and a pier, which made very little sense.
The main goings on was with the people who were coming to see her, especially three school friends: Siobhan (Sarah Solemani), a TV presenter who has recently got fired from her job, Pip (Katherine Parkinson), a bohemian woman, and Sarah (Katy Wix from Anna & Katy), a mother of three. There is also Lucy’s mother Mrs. Kay (Julia Deakin) who is constantly taking photos in the hope of building up evidence so she can sue someone on her daughter’s behalf.
For me the show was slow going. There was the odd good moment (Pip giving the comatose Lucy a copy of last week’s Heat magazine to read), but I think the problem is that this show would probably work better as a comedy drama rather than a sitcom. The idea of a comedy about someone in a coma isn’t a new idea (see the radio sitcom Vent) so it can work, but it wasn’t presented too well in this format.
There’s another issue I have with the show…the theme tune. If you have a show about a woman in a coma, surely Girlfriend in a Coma by The Smiths would be the ideal tune to play?
This week’s Comedy Lab pilot was a dark sketch show from Tom Palmer and Tom Stourton.
And by dark, I mean many of the sketches were rather twisted…and rather long. They ranged from a policeman giving an exaggerated interview to a Hollyoaks soap parody set in the Hitler Youth; a pair of poverty stricken Scottish brothers, one of whom keeps spending all their money at a photo booth; two cocaine-fuelled girls who become rather monstrous when they take too much; and an annoying T4 presenter has a crisis of conscience after mocking a man with one giant ear.
The show offers some genuinely shocking imagery, too, like the “coke monster” which one of the cocaine taking girls turns into (resembling a black-eyed ape). Another scene features the T4 presenter and one of his interviewees drooling with insane, evil laughter at the sight of the giant eared man. And the first part of the pilot ends with a man being whipped with a belt in slow motion.
Totally Tom has many interesting ideas, but whether or not they can get enough laughs out of these moments is debatable. Having said that, there are some laughs – the idea of an “Eager Eagle” Nazi vibrator comes to mind. Why I thought of Max Mosley afterwards I have no idea…
QI Genesis (The Making of QI)
This week QI returned to its original home on BBC Two. As part of a special night devoted to the world’s most interesting (and personally I think the greatest) panel game a documentary covering the making of the show was broadcast.
Speaking as someone who knows QI back-to-front and inside-out, I already knew about much of the information mentioned in the documentary, although to most viewers it did include stuff which will of no doubt be of interest. The fact, for example, Michael Palin was to be the original host (Stephen Fry and Alan Davies were going to be team captains, with Fry the head of the clever team and Davies head of the stupid team) and that two questions were created by reading an entire Albanian dictionary cover-to-cover is interesting.
However, there were some things that even I was surprised about. While I know that the show has popular demand, I didn’t know that it was the TV show with the second biggest demand for tickets in Britain (after Top Gear), thus making it the most demanded comedy show in Britain. No wonder I’ve only been able to see one recording at the time of writing.
The main area of interest to me is the work carried out by the show’s researchers or “Elves”. For me, being a QI elf would be my dream job. Just trying to find anything that would be of interest, coming across a glorious chunk of information that hardly anyone else knows about, would be a joy to behold. That’s why I spend so much time on the QI forums, trying to contribute information in the hope of recognition. One day maybe I’ll get that job… one day… a man can dream.