I Blogged Myself

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Thank The Lord For Your Presence # 9

Last night saw the ninth episode of Thank God You're Here (TGYH).

This week, we were treated to performances by Hamish Blake (on the left of the picture - why can't I find a good picture of him on his own?), Peter Rowsthorn, Bob Franklin and Fifi Box. The interesting thing about this week was that all four of our participants were winners of a previous week, so no matter who 'won' the trophy this time, it was going to be a record-setting second win for someone.

Hamish started us off this week, and as Audrey was 'the first' to point out in the comments to yesterday's post, his scene was flat-out hilarious. From his skillful inclusion of his white socks (discussed briefly with host Shane Bourne before entering the scene), to his returning to the two biscuits he'd been instructed to walk into the scene holding in his hand, to the way he answered the charge of racist remarks in the workplace by asking if 'Ching-Chong' had reported him, and how he couldn't remember the name of the middle-eastern man he'd shared a working space with for the past year ("I dunno ... Muhammad?"). It was all executed perfectly, and his laid-back style only made it sound even funnier.

Bob Franklin came on next, and he was dressed in an army sergeant's uniform. Walking with the aid of a cane and looking for more clean-cut than I've ever seen him (even if he did still sport his customary two-day growth), Bob seemed ill-at-ease during his scene of being welcomed home by his family and a guest after a long stint away at war. But ill-at-ease in an amusing way. The obvious "Mum, Dad, we're gay" situation we could all see developing when his 'college roommate' entered the room at the end was the only part that Bob seemed to struggle with. I put this down to him not wanting to go the obvious route, but being able to come up with little else that he coudl substitute for it. The references to Giles the family dog (and how he'd received him war wound from shooting a dog that reminded him of Giles) were brilliant, and Wifey and I found that the first two scenes far outweighed the two that followed. We quite enjoy watching Bob Franklin onstage, and his performance in this scene was very entertaining.

Fifi Box was the third victim contestant to try their hand at this particular brand of improv, and it was interesting to note her disclaimer at the top of the show that she's not a comedian. This is true, she's not, and as I've said before, although her scenes may seem weaker than others, I'm sure this is part of it. She's doing a great job (and her courage is second-to-none for giving it a go and happily coming back for show after show, even though - to listen to her speaking beforehand - the very notion of the show scares her silly), and when you take that into account (coupled with the previously-stated suggestion that the writers on the show aren't able to come up with scenes for the girls that are as good as those they write for the guys), you're reminded that Fifi's doing an okay job all round. It's not easy to bluff your way through a scene, remembering the timeslot, the live audience, the camera crew, and the judge's comments. Anyway, back to Fifi's scene. She was playing a woman who had started her own 'adult toys and novelties' business, called "Naughty But Nice", and she was being interviewed live on TV about her latest range of products and clothing. Fifi did alright with the scene (which was considerably better than the scenes provided to the women participants in previous weeks, I was happy to note), and her references to the models wearing items from her new clothing range, and her imaginary husband Derek, were also quite amusing.

Naturally, this means Peter was the final solo performer for the night, and I must say I was almost bored by this scene. Perhaps it's because I have absolutely no interest in cricket (he was playing an Australian cricketer who'd just scored two centuries by was having a press conference about his more questionable behaviour - both on and off the field). While I believe he played the scene fairly low-key, I would have to say in his defence that he was very much acting the part of an Aussie cricket bad boy, complete with the stare and attitude. He did well, but we weren't laughing as hard during Pete or Fifi's scenes as we were during Hamish and Bob's.

The group scene held a lot of promise, as they all walked on stage in full pirate regala (Elaine would have been so proud), and it turned out that they were all applying to be crew members (first mate, even) on the ship of a new captain. Although this scene seemed brief (in reality, it was probably just that so much of the scene was spent on the set-up by the ensemble cast), Bob's few lines seemed to be the highlight. He interrupted Hamish when they were asked their names, so the captain asked him to go first instead, so which Bob said, "Arrr, spoke too soon!" When ordering their drinks, Bob asked for a strawberry daiquiri (a joke that, to be fair, he kind of copied from Hamish asking for a raspberry lemonade). He also spoke of a bite mark on his leg that a nasty little dog named Giles had given him (excellent work to refer back to his previous scene - this was my biggest laugh of the night), and when asked what ideas he had about something (I forget what it was about now, but it doesn't matter), Bob replied, "Arrr ... he'll think of something, for sure!" and pointed behind him at Peter. It was very funny. Hamish also got some laughs by referring to Fifi (who called herself Kevin) "a fine young lad" and later telling her/him to take off her/his top so they could read the tattoo on her/his chest. (That reminds me of another great call by Bob - when Fifi said her name was Kevin and Hamish said he was a fine young lad, Bob added that Kevin was very popular on those long voyages.) Yet again, the scene ended with the pirates being asked to dance a jig. I'm still not sure if Hamish was trying to pick Fifi up to dance with her in his arms at the very end of the scene, or if he was intentionally grabbing her on the chest, but we'll be forever wondering because that's when we heard the siren to indicate the end of the scene.

After tuning out what judge Tommy G had to say, we watched as Peter was made the lucky recipient of his second TGYH trophy.

I have to say that I find it a let-down (and creatively, I think it's a cop-out) when they end so many scenes by making them dance. It's just not funny to see them dance so often. Bob had to do it when he was the revolutionist, Tanya had to do it as the newlywed bride, Peter even had to do it as the cricketer! And of course they all had to do it as the pirates in this last scene. Throughout the course of the series, it's been a very commonly-used device with which to end a scene, and I think it weakens everything that's gone before it, because it's simply not that funny. Once or twice, maybe, but when it's used so frequently, I've got to wonder if it's just the writers being lazy and/or not being able to think up a more original way to finish the scene.

But that's just a personal preference; perhaps everyone else loves the dancing bits.

Thanks to that all-knowing, all-seeing tome of televisual feasting, TV Week, I can now tell you that the finale features five, yes five performers (unless TV Week included a misprint!). If you'd looked at my TGYH posts' index since Monday, you'd have noticed the same thing. According to the article I read in the aforementioned magazine, the performers featured on next week's TGYH season finale are: Shaun Micallef (spelt 'Sean' in the article - tut-tut!), Frank Woodley, Angus Sampson, Akmal Saleh and first-timer Kate Langbroek. (All of these people have won an episode before as well, with the exception of Shaun and - obviously - Kate.)

Should be good, although if the five performers thing is correct, each scene may be cut shorter than normal (because it's still only running for an hour). Either that, or they're getting rid of the judge's comments (yay!) or the pre-recorded bits (boo!) or something else to make room for the fifth solo scene. Surely they wouldn't cut the group scene at the end. Not when it's such a great way to finish off with everyone onstage at once.

So this means that for the entire ten episodes, there was no appearance by ... (you guessed it) ... Judith Lucy!

I am thanking the Lord daily for this present.



At Friday, June 02, 2006 2:23:00 am, Blogger audrey said...

I hate Langbroek. Hands down one of the worst interviewees at the Logies. What a trollope.

At Friday, June 02, 2006 7:51:00 am, Anonymous Colls Bolls said...

I love cricket & still didn't enjoy the scene. I have found Peter Rowsthorn disappointing all through the series, I don't think he has made any effort to go along with the lines as given by the actors. Particularly the first one he did (property salesman in Byron Bay(?)) where the poor actors had to keep coming up with new questions because all he gave them was "yep" or "na". He has been marginally funnier in other scenes but not much in my opinion.

BTW - how did the job interview you mentioned go?

- good on you re the new TV blog

At Friday, June 02, 2006 11:23:00 am, Anonymous John B. said...

Bevis, you beat me to the punch about thinking it silly or lazy to end so many of the scenes now with a dance.

I am liking Fifi less and less each time I see her on the show. I find that watching the cogs turning in her mind as she struggles to come up with new lines, very distracting. While they all do this to a certain extend, it really stands out with her. In contrast, Hamish was just smoothly coming out with some hilarious material as though in a normal conversation. I'm aware Fifi is not a comedian, but given enough pauses anyone should be able to come up with something remotely funny.

At Friday, June 02, 2006 1:10:00 pm, Blogger Jeremy said...

Why do you hate Judith Lucy so much?

Is it just me, or are the group scenes just getting more and more predictable? It's not just the constant ending everything with a jig. It's the formulaic start to each one = "Thank god you're here, people obviously dressed as pirates. Why don't you tell me your names, which you've obviously had a few minutes to think about and knew I was going to ask because I always do, and something else piratey."

The whole point is making it unpredictable for the performers, but the writers have slacked off and don't seem to be able to manage it any more.


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