October 31, 2013

TV for Thought: British Game Show Edition

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So technically I didn’t watch them on TV, but luckily you can find them all on YouTube! I’m referring to my summer obsession with two British quiz shows: Never Mind the Buzzcocks! and QI (Quite Interesting). Both have great hosts (well, Buzzcocks did until the snarky and gangly Simon Amstell left; QI has kept the brilliant Stephen Fry, thankfully) and littered with great useless information (for trivia nights, of course) and the best jokes. I really don’t have anything insightful to say about these shows either. I’m going to break format a bit and give you a list of top episodes to check out so that everyone can love these shows with me (yes, I am always desperate for validation, so validate me).

1. Never Mind the Buzzcocks S19E04: First, watch for the intro. It preps you for Simon’s great wit for the rest of his tenure as host. Second, Amy Winehouse (RIP) is one of the episode’s guests and she is absolutely hilarious and out of her mind. When asked by one of the contestant’s if all of that is her hair and if anything is living in it, Amy responds with “Yeah. Yeah, it’s all mine ’cause I bought it.” Brilliant. Warning: There is a moment where she says that the sober Winehouse is dead. It may be too soon.

2. QI S10E06: This episode is titled “Joints,” so you can only imagine what some of the questions are about. Where can you find the knees of flamingos? Bet that’s what you were thinking. Come for useless joint information, stay for Stephen Fry shamelessly flirting with young comic, Jack Whitehall. If you don’t know Jack Whitehall, get to know him and start here with his appearance on The Graham Norton Show (a British talk show you can watch on BBC America).

3. QI S08E14: Speaking of Graham, he appears on this episode along with Daniel Radcliffe. Why I love this episode? Daniel Radcliffe plays into all of our hopes of him being a real wizard, as he knows an awful lot about magic. This means that I didn’t get my letter … damn. Anyways, he somehow manages to win with a positive number, which is nearly impossible on this game show where the points are completely arbitrary. Also: perfectly timed for Halloween.

4. Never Mind the Buzzcocks S22E02: Crossover moment! Stephen Fry is a guest team leader. Simon Amstell attempts to show off his (prepared) smarts as Fry does on QI, but you can’t out-Fry the Fry. In addition to this back and forth, the outrageous lead singer of Cage the Elephant, Matt Schultz, entertains with his own antics. Hopefully you won’t be as lost as poor Frankie Sandford.

5. Never Mind the Buzzcocks S21E07: In time for The Hobbit: Part Two this December, catch Martin Freeman on Buzzcocks. His shy humor is sure to win you over. But the best part of this episode is definitely Amstell ripping on Anthony Costa from British boy band, Blue. Just unrelenting. If you’re unfamiliar with the band, he’ll provide you with enough context clues so that you laugh along just as well.

6. QI S03E08: Stephen Fry tries on an American accent while re-enacting an exchange from the moon about oatmeal, and he says “ballcock” (you’re welcome). Alan Davies, the panel regular, corrects Stephen on the pronunciation of a town, and you raise your fist like John Bender at the end of The Breakfast Club because gosh darnit, the man deserves a point every once in a while against Fry. This is another crossover moment as other panelists include Bill Bailey and Phil Jupitus, regulars on Buzzcocks.

I hope you enjoy this list and delve into more episodes because of it. I will go back to my binge now. Add your favorites below.