Saturday, April 14, 2007

Ruddy Hell, Harry Ap-Paul-ing

Last night we caught the first episode of Ruddy Hell, it's Harry and Paul, or some such title. An alleged comedy series featuring Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse. I've never been a big fan or detractor of Enfield, although I did like Whitehouse's Fast Show. It had the now rather done-to-death type of comedy, which is to create a catchphrase or interweave of catchphrases and repeat each episode in slightly different settings/situations until you've made your series.

Then do a Christmas special featuring all the same characters doing the same catchphrases - but the kicker - do it in Spain!


Ruddy Hell made me say "eh?" rather a lot. One of the more, er, memorable skits had "Nelson Mandela" selling alcopops and later "fighting" beer. Er, OK...

None of it made me laugh.

The skit with them playing Oliver and Hardy playing BrokeBack Mountain was just jaw-droppingly incomprehensible. Simulating anal sex and being chased by their wives in Benny Hill style just makes me go "wtf?" It wasn't that it was shocking, it was just "huh?"

Not getting it. Not getting it at all.

We watched a repeat of QI afterwards and that made us laugh a lot.


Ellie said...

It was so unfunny it was cringe making, I liked Paul in the Fast Show but this was just tragic. Didn't someone at the bbc think to tell them it was not funny before they went ahead and commissioned a whole series...

Hippernicus said...

Hello! Thanks for commenting.

It was dire, wasn't it?

Steve, Oxford said...

I disagree but then I was big fan of Harry Enfield due to his and Paul's older series and I've never been a huge fan of the Fast Show. You say you were but then criticise the basis of the sketch show and how they rely on catchphrases and only slightly altered scenarios each week; did the Fast Show not do exactly that as well? I didn't even watch it that much and I can recall "cheesy peas", "scorchio", "this week I'll be mostly...", "Brilliant!" to name but a few and the episodes I've seen follow the same sketch show rules that you are now criticising.

Catchphrases and characters is what a sketch show is, it just wouldn't work without them and if you don't like the new show, fair enough but don't claim that Harry and Paul are using "done to death" tactics when new shows like Catherine Tate and Little Britain are doing the same thing with the latter getting many plaudits. It's nothing to do with the concept, it to do with whether you like the characters and judging it after one episode is too soon. I didn't really find Lou and Andy in Little Britain very funny and thought it was a cheap shot a disabled people when I first saw them but after a few episodes I got the joke. In the same manner, I can't stand Tate's Lauren character and yet she seems to still be getting work like working with the PM for Comic Relief.

I think the new show is pretty funny and the "hidden" joke with each character seems appropriate. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates missing the fact their wives are cheating on them, the posh builders who turn into cockney barrow boys when a woman walks past. If you don't find them funny that's cool but surely you can see where they are going with the ideas.

I think to judge any show after one episode is naive, especially a sketch show as they require a level of repetitiveness to let the characters develop. Having said that, the characters I don't like are the (greek?) couple that are watching slapstick TV describing it and the two posh doctors. My favourites are the posh scaffolders, the very important man and Pik the South African.

Hippernicus said...

I would include Catherine Tate and Little Britain under my umbrella of "done to death" catchphrase-type shows, tbh. I don't rate either particularly. (I know lots of other people do think both are hilarious: comedy/humour is very subjective.)

I'm quite happy to admit that the Fast Show had the same formulaic catchphrase-based comedy. In fact I said that in my blog-post :D. The difference for me, was it was the first time I'd seen that type of comedy really.

And I think it used up my enjoyment/tolerance for that format.

I appreciate I was quick to judge the show (and possibly unfair) on one episode, but it seemed old & tired to me. The "hidden" jokes on the characters were a bit too predictable and the Nelson Mandela juxtaposition was just lame. But your mileage may vary! :D

My tastes are more for QI, Have I got News For you in tv comedy; Eddie Izzard and Bill Bailey for stand-up. Sketch shows and things like Alan Partridge, The Office aren't really my bag.

I know, it's probably heresy! :D

Hippernicus said...

Oh, (forgot my manners :D), and hello and thanks for commenting.

Labiche said...

Been a massive fan of Whitehouse for years and also enjoyed Enfields, although PW is where the talent and diversity is.

Got to say this series has been very patchy in my opinion. Was unimpressed with the first episode and wiped it, but on watching the second was quite taken with it, similarly the third episode. Four and five, however, just haven't been as good overall.

Still, the good parts are head and shoulders above most of the dross served up as comedy these days.

Anonymous said...

I hated the Office at first but due to the magic of cable I managed to discover it later, and decided it was really good. Ricky Gervais does this typical English cynical thing, and that's a bit predictable, and then just when you least expect it, an episode comes along full of heart, and optimism and sentimentality, and you never saw it coming, so I think he's deceptively much deeper and cleverer than you would think on first viewing. US Office is being shown on Paramount at the moment and it's also very good.

I've seen 5 minutes of Harry and Paul and thought I could hear them scraping their fingers to the bone on the bottom of the barrel. Embarrassing to watch, really, I think they should move on, to doing whatever older comedians do. Writing novels or summat. Abster x