Did we like it?
Some sketches were brilliant from the off, some improved over the course of the programme as the comic repetition began to settle in, some will improve as their traits become more anticipated in a Fast Show-esque style, while others simply seemed out of date and dull.
What was good about it?
• The best sketch featured the owner of a store of pointless bric-a-brac (called I Saw You Coming) that people with too much money senselessly pay fortunes for in vain to award their home a plastic bohemian chic. Pointing to a worthless but stylishly displayed piece of furniture the owner (Harry) disclosed: “This is actually an authentic piece of s**t. It cost me a fiver, but I saw you coming. Is your husband rich?” Woman: “He earns millions.” Harry: “It costs two thousand pounds” Woman: “I’ll take it.”
Harry then asks her if she is an interior designer. “I’ve had some cards printed so I am,” she replied flatly. And when she queries Harry about some scratches on another piece of rubbish, he reassures her that: “The scratches are organic.”
• Another highlight was the middle-class dinner party, where the hosts brought out their working class slave and couldn’t understand his thick accent regarding him as little more than an animal. “We’re lending him to the Rothschilds tomorrow night. They’re going to try and mate him with their Filipino maid,” Harry Enfield’s character said snottily.
• The first sketch in which Nelson Mandela appears in an advert to flog alcoholic drinks wasn’t funny. It was only with his second appearance, this time selling ‘Nelson Mandela’s Fighting Beer’ that the joke of his promotion of ever-more absurd drinks became obvious, and also funny.
• Paul’s Jose Aragantio (based explicitly on Mourinho) became the new Julio Geordio, especially when the interview ended and he struck an arrogant pose of a victorious admiral having his portrait painted. And the ‘highlights’ from the game featuring Harry as an Arjen Robben character feigning grievous injury when merely pushed by an opponent added something to the sketch, too.
• The competitive surgeons who scale ever greater heights of literary pretentiousness as they work on their patients.
• The Italian man watching a TV comedy (possibly Mr Bean) that sets up an obvious physical gag, but then the protagonist avoids all the pitfalls set on his path such as a banana skin, only for a mishap to later send him falling back into the set ups.
• Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy’s interpretation of Brokeback Mountain, which had some lovely touches such as when Ollie is caressing Stan’s chest but does so with the rolling fingers of disdain that was one of his trademark physical tics.
What are we undecided about?
• The posh scaffolders, the South African bloke in the gym, the fast food eating teenagers and Roman Abramovich buying everything in sight.
What was bad about it?
• Aside from the opening line of the U2 sketch (“What have you been up to this morning, The Edge”), it didn’t seem to go anywhere as Bono’s pomposity has been parodied more caustically elsewhere in the past.
• The joke of rich ugly men with beautiful gold-digging wives will always be in the shadow of Mrs Merton’s immortal, “So Debbie, what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels.” The addition of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs talking computer jargon while their wives slip off to enjoy sexual favours from passing hunks may have some potential though.
Ruddy Hell! It’s Harry And Paul, BBC1, Friday 20 April 2007
Did we like it?
It was an improvement on last week’s opener.
What was good about it?
• The amoral antiques shop owner with his catchphrase of “It’s a genuine piece of s**t” as he fleeces wealthy, dumb housewives of their husband’s fat bonus by charging £2,000 for a cabinet his parents had thrown out. The dumb housewife bought that, but baulked at the next item: “£500? That’s a bit steep even for me!” “But £5 goes to Greenpeace,” retorted Enfield, easing her concerns.
• Paul Whitehouse’s deliciously sinister Chocolateer who coerces a three women panel to offer him a job simply by opening his box of chocolates, and later convinces an all woman judiciary to let him off an unnamed offence with the same trick.
• Nelson Mandela fronting a TV ad campaign for ecstasy tablets (“Let’s get muntered!”).
• Jose Arragantio defending his player Didier Peskovic after he had stabbed an opposing player in the testicles with a corner flag and then blown another’s legs off with a bazooka, while each post-match interview was concluded with Arragantio posing and smouldering for the camera.
• The Guy Ritchie and Madonna sketch in which a pathetic Madonna uses the word “f**k” in every sentence as a feeble crutch for her stave off old age obsolescence.
• The Metropolitan police officers who hope to distract attention away from their incompetence that they are responsible for general lawlessness by cheerily announcing they have arrested Pete Doherty.
• Harry Enfield’s nervous middle-aged man who is smitten by the attractive young woman who works in the coffee shop and who ruthlessly teases him with her fickle flirting.