Friday, November 16, 2007

eels and the mighty boosh

My fellow Brighton blogger Anna Pickard writes for the Guardian today and sticks her neck out to say that she is only mildly impressed with Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt's BBC3 comedy 'The Mighty Boosh', a fairly unusual position to take on a show that really does tend to polarise opinion. I can kind of see why people might find it too knowing and faux-quirky to get along with, but, oh, I love it regardless, and although I was mildly disappointed with series two (apart from its maginificent final episode) I've been very excited about the fact that it's back for a third run.

Unfortunately I was out last night failing to win the Brighton Web Awards, so I missed it but set the video, and this evening I sat down to watch it. First impressions... well, it's hard to see how hardcore Boosh fans could be disappointed, although it must all be faintly mystifying for a newcomer, much less massively annoying for Booshophobes.

The best aspect of the new series, which is now set in a shop in Shoreditch, is that Fielding and Barratt seem to be concentrating more on the two-handers which made the first series such a joy, giving Howard and Vince ample time to trade lines and riff off each other. Their obvious delight with language is fundamental, and a run of jokes concerning Howard's small eyes work a treat, as do some super jokes which play on the contrast between the ultra-vivid Vince and the relatively conservative Howard, who proposes to make a fortune with his camoflage elbow patches.

Their world is endlessly inventive, lacking all continuity and led by whichever flights of narrative fancy they choose to spin. Vince's 'celebradar' is a hilarious idea, a machine which allows him to track the activities of indie musicians via tagging devices. There's one wonderful illustration of Vince's charming and childlike worldview, where he describes his target market as 'cool people [and] 15 year old girls'. Vince's appeal lies in the fact that he sees no difference between the two.

After all the verbal gags, the duo also attempt to retain the bizarre saturated look and feel of the second series. So the show, having started gently, soon gives way to a psychedelic and colourful carnival of a plot which takes in eels, stag dos, prostitution and, er, a popstar named Pete Neon who is part indie kid and part flamingo. It's all utterly absurd, a bit ruder than usual, and great fun, particularly as the Boosh include colourful cameos for many of their stranger past creations.

The whole thing is rather uneven and hardly densely plotted, but the sheer fun of it, plus some amazing jokes, sees the show through. The pinnacle arrives in a bizarre musical hallucination which sees Howard shrunk and made to dance with a Burlesque dancer inside a hat belonging to 'The Hitcher', one of Noel Fielding's more outrageous characters. As ever the set design and music is singular and engaging, and the whole thing reverberates with enthusiasm - which makes it a pleasure to watch.

Looking forward to episode two.


Ben Harbour said...

Series 3 was absolutely brilliant; it will be out on DVD in November now for all of you that missed it. I agree with you on the point that some one being mildly impressed by it, I would have said its more of a love it or you hate it program my self. Personally I think it’s excellent

Ben Harbour said...

I also forgot to mention, that if you can’t wait for the DVD to come out in November you can watch all of series 3, the full episodes in flash on my site, under the episodes link on the left hand side. Click here to watch the mighty boosh

Hope you find this helpful