Did we like it?
Too superficial to act as a spoof cultural travelogue, too witless to be a comedy – a truly awful waste of the talents of Leigh Francis.
What was good about it?
• Nice views of the Grand Canyon.
What was bad about it?
• Olivia Lee, the second most repellent of the odious rogues’ gallery of Balls of Steel after Mark Dolan, who had a cameo in the prologue.
• It appears to be a feeble cash-in of the Borat school of comedy, but is bereft of intelligence, humour and any sense of social comment that made Borat funny (although whenever Borat played to an audience who were in on the joke, such as at the MTV Europe Awards, that creation was as similarly impotent as Keith Lemon was here).
• There was no abrasiveness to Lemon’s encounters, he acted too stupidly for any of his oblivious guests to take him seriously so the Chippendales simply chuckled at his inept dancing, while a pretty female ranch hand looked both bemused and bored at Lemon’s extravagant chat-up lines.
• Francis seemed to gauge if something was funny if perennial Bo Selecta guest Mel B laughed at his antics. Leaving aside the fact that Mel B forsook her humanity the moment Wannabe stormed the charts like the Black Death stalking the pestilent streets of Whitechapel, the sight of Keith charmlessly coaxing her into his bedroom was rancid television for its utter absence of originality.
• The places and people Lemon visits are all too brief to able to set up a gag, and so no sooner have we arrived at the Grand Canyon then we’re whisked away to a ranch, and then on to a ‘risque’ festival where repressed Americans live out their repressed teenage dreams with wet T-shirt catwalking and genital beauty contests – this more than anything else in the first episode offered a teeming reservoir of untapped comedy potential but Lemon/ Francis was satisfied to make some limp quips in a bull testicle-eating competition.
• The utterly pointless interlude when Lemon came back to Leeds to discuss Mel C’s ‘pregnancy’ with their child. Amateurish and conceited enough to believe that the presence of a celebrity – no matter how desiccated with obsolescence – will be a satisfactory (and that is the loftiest peak anything in this show aimed for) sketch.
• The absolute paucity of material that was even just rubbish became apparent in the frequency of hurried filler such as when Lemon is spooked by someone pottering about outside his motel room only to discover – without ever there being an ounce of tension or comedy – that it’s his cameraman.