THere's a joke in the first five minutes of Alan Partridge's comeback This time with Alan PartridgeThat's so easy, but so funny that I can not believe it has not been done yet, and yet I'm pretty sure it's not.
Partridge's career is back on the right path (well, somehow) and he finds himself as a co-host of again under the gaze and the possible catastrophe of studio lights This timea kind of cross between The one show and … actually it is only The one show, The regular co-host is sick, so the BBC sent the first North Norfolk Digital DJ they could find.
Her first guest is an expert in leopard seals.
"It's Alice Clunt!" Partridge says, introducing her. Do not worry, that's not the joke.
She corrects him quickly. "It's Alice Fluck," she says.
"Right," Partridge says after a beat. "I see what I did there …"
Is not that great? I certainly laughed. If the comedy is so different from the big ones, it's not necessarily the reinvention of form or the creation of a genre or the fact that it's a problem. Funny is funny and in their hearts all comedies rely on the same basic mechanisms. It matters what you do with it.
And since Malapropism is the oldest and most basic of the comedy tropics, he is also the one who separates genius most from the chaff. Previously, Larry David had been involved with his random Obit in the first season of Limit your enthusiasm ("Lover C ** t" – it should say auntie), but you'd have to say this is up here.
It's also a perfect encapsulation of the new show. From where curb was over Larry, who talked too much, Steve Coogan's best Partridge jokes are about the line Not come next – he's live on air, but hangs as an awkward option delicious in the air, a bad smell that only gets worse the longer he stays.
Is he, always wonder explain yourself?
Once again, we get a glorious moment when the plastic bonhomie, the eternal register of daytime television, unfolds quickly.
"Steady there, I have not taken you to dinner yet," Partridge scolds at some point, bumping into a nonexistent double from his co-host.
"I am a married woman, I will know!" She replies with forced serenity.
"I was told you'd split up," Partridge replies with even more forced joviality.
The format is the same as Know me, know youin the sense that the fake show is the show – not Alan and Lynn, Larry SandersStyle, as they roam the BBC corridors here, only the off-air chat when the show is on video. But while it stayed so rigid, it meant Know me, know you Sometimes I could feel a bit uncomfortable. This gives us the fresh air to let us out of the studio while watching Partridge's wonderfully inappropriate records Scissored Isle, essentially).
The first episode is about tackling the importance of washing your hands ("Why are clean hands important, well …"), where he makes "doorsteps" when people come out of the BBC loo and ask if they were recently scrubbed.
We have the return of Sidekick Simon – the unparalleled Tim Key, a comic I'd like to watch in a silent movie – who releases his "sideways-take" of the news as soon as he can get his massive touchscreen up and running (Spoiler: he can not), and of course Lynn, the M & S private label, has made meat that returns as his ever faithful assistant.
The main question you have after this first episode is: what will Partridge bring to the table now, rather than at any point in the last 20 years? The first episode is hilarious, but barely contemporary.
Fortunately, Coogan has stated that an episode later in the series will be fully devoted to MeToo, which feels like the perfect unholy connection between subject and subject and that he will use Alan for tricky topics. As always with Partridge, he is not just the fall.
"It's such a difficult topic for anyone to talk about, anyone who can say anything," Coogan said in an interview with Marc Maron for his WTF podcast. He talked about how he told MeToo. "But if you make a character, this license gives you weirdness. You can do things wrong, you can do things wrong, and it's good because he does it. They are not sanctioning or disagreeing with what he says. They say, "This guy is doing things wrong," so you have the license to do it. "
And, crucially, Coogan added, "Because you have a cartoon character, he can say things that let you go, 'that's so off the message', but sometimes he can say things that are true, that I do can not say, so the fool can point out something that everyone secretly knows is true. "
We can hardly wait.
This time with Alan Partridge starts at BBC One on February 25th
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