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TV Review – Blunder Channel 4, Friday 10.35pm

By ShinyMedia on November 27th, 2006 17 comments

Back in the day it was all Friends, Fraiser and Ellen. You knew where you were then – you don’t go out on a Friday because you know you’ll get consistent, well written, well performed comedy with a new episode of Fraiser. But then Fraiser got moved about in the schedules (I’m yet to forgive Channel 4 for this), Friends came to an end… god knows what happened to Ellen. Suddenly, Channel 4 had nothing. People started going out. Well they weren’t going to stand for that for long, so last night saw The Big Push, with a new sketch show Blunder. Can it fill such big American shoes?

Well, no, not really. I was looking forward to Blunder – bright young things, livening up the e4/Channel 4 schedules with some fantastic brand new comedy – but it didn’t deliver the goods.

The first problem is David Mitchell’s massively incongruous presence. He’s just far more famous than all the other comics working on the show – he’s got his own sketch show for goodness sake (with Robert Webb, I know) – and as a result he sticks out like a sore thumb. What on earth is he doing there? I found myself thinking this every time he came on-screen, and that’s really quite off-putting. Probably more my problem than theirs, but still.

Then there’s the admittedly more important problem of the rather weird format. Half of the show is essentially character-based stand up, with a live audience, and the other half consists of location-filmed sketches, and the two don’t really sit together particularly well. In fact, it all feels a little amateur, and, while I have no problem with the cartoony, old-fashioned humour that this show deals in (it’s a ‘mischievous, anarchic world aimed at the daft side in all of us’ don’t you know), here it only serves to add to the feeling of a hurriedly thrown together revue. There’s no shortage of talent – Rhys Thomas and Tom Meeten perform particularly well in front of the live audience – but the location sketches fall completely flat, and nothing raised more than a smile. In other words, the whole thing’s a bit of a mess, and does nothing to showcase these comics who we know, from previous projects like Spoons and Nathan Barley, are capable of much much more. [annawaits]

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  • Mark

    I thought Blunder was childish in the extreem. David Mitchell is, as you say, far superior to all this – it was rather embarrasing seeing him in the awful peeing in the swimming pool sketch. I assume he must be under contract or something.

    I certainly won’t be watching again!

  • Paul

    I was unfortunate enough to see some of the first episode and have actually re-watched some of it online just to double check – could it actually be as terrible as it first seemed? No, it’s actually much worse. Entire 2-3 minute long sketches drag out without a single detectable joke taking place. The climax of one mirthless piece is a ‘comically mentally ill’ character farting into a young girl’s face. What is David Mitchell doing within 1,000 miles of this project? What is the point of people dedicating what seems like a lot of time and effort to such dismal effect? And, more importantly than this, who on earth is responsible for commissioning this embarrassment? If I were the commissioning editor of Channel 4 I would have it axed mid-series – it’s just not worth the humiliation.

    David Mitchell – go and say 15 Hail Mary’s and we’ll think about forgiving you when Series 4 of Peep Show is back. The rest of the ‘comics’ – you could give children’s entertainer a go but to be honest I think they’d be looking for something more sophisticated.

  • cmr

    ahh dnt knock it! David is quite wounderful, and extremly talented, but the others arent bad. Am gonna wait till I’ve seen a few more before I judge it. I also love the barren!

  • Gurd Prepostlethwaite

    Oh dear.

    A sketch where the only laugh is because a man has his knackers out, another where they rip off a character and a catch phrase from Some Mothers Do ‘Ave Em, The Baron is purile infantile obnoxious offensive and degrading – but not funny with it. Other sketches make urine appear shit-hot.

    Eventually what you are left with is a load of tripe, that fails to amuse from start to finish. In many sketches I can see what the performers and writers were thinking (the Malibu Man is a prime example) but unfortunately on every level it fails miserably and what you are left with is a miserable traul through what apparently now passes for what is being internationally hailed as “British Comedy”.

    I unfortunately watched the first two episodes and look forward to watching again tonight, but only because it is so bad and fails to even raise a smile so badly, that it is gruesome and difficult to watch and you feel violated, but afterwards you actually feel like a good person for not being as bad as the people you’ve watched on screen.

    This show is a brown trout.

    PS Channel 4 please give me my own show as I believe I have about as much talent and humour to offer as these performing monkeys, if not more. Thank you.

  • AT

    The ‘comedy’ in blunder is just the most deadfull, immature and easiest to produce comedy possible. You could take anyone off the street at random and they could produce something better than this.

    Simply creating a rediculous situation or having some guy dance around naked is not comedy, well perhaps on the playground, but the rest of us would rather see wit, not this pathetic attempt at gross out comedy.

  • Bob

    The above comment says it all I believe, but I thought I’d chuck in my tuppence anyway.

    This show is terrible. It is a terrible terrible steaming turd. Axe it immediately. I also think that the “daytime tv” sketch is actually a cynical pathetic in-joke about the sorts of people who air grievances with the content put on Channel 4. Well, David Mitchell, although your mantra that it’s the viewer who’s a tosser for complaining and not justturning over may be the case, the reason we feel we have to complain isn’t because we have a problem with the schedulers at Channel 4, it’s because people like you should not be being paid for this utter garbage when there are so many talented people who should be earning money in entertainment.

    I think everybody involved with this show should either move on to another project immediately, or give up the dream and go get a proper job instead of embarrasing themselves any longer.

    Kind regards

  • AnnaWaits

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s found this show disappointing in the extreme. The thing is, I really *want* to like it – a live sketch show showcasing British comedy talent is a fabulous idea. But it’s just not funny, and that’s the only criteria we can use to judge it. Heat described it as an ill thought-out Edinburgh Fringe show, and they’re right. cmr – I agree that they’re all talented; it’s just that it’s not really coming across on screen!

    Many thanks for all your comments!

  • Darrin

    Well I’m going to stand out a bit here,( not quite in the style of karate Johnson’s clackers you’ll all be relieved to now!!).#
    I thought generally the show was really quite good. Although I except there some, shall we say one or two ‘dry’ scene’s it was really rather funny. I thought Karate Johnson, The Baron and Franco Franco where quite brilliant –10 O’clock Friday night ‘no- brainer’ television, perfect!!!
    Come on guys and gals give it a chance, think back to the League of gentlemen when that first came out no one got it. Having said all this I’m quite sure it will slide into the obscurity and no doubt end up a fringy, cult show that will invariably have spotty gimps quoting its catch phrases.
    ‘Jizz face’ ……………..oh crap I’m falling into the trap and not a spot or a gimp in sight!!!!

  • Anonymous

    I genuinely cannot believe Darrin has mentioned Blunder in the same paragraph as The League of Gentlemen. Are you trying to suggest Blunder is a carefully crafted piece of absurdist character studies? Personally I don’t even rate The League of Gentlemen highly but Blunder isn’t fit to lick its boots – it’s a show where mostly talentless comics blunder their way through an embarrassing tirade of inert catchphrases and poo jokes.

    On a side issue, I also notice that most of the Youtube clips have had their comments removed – clearly the producers are having trouble stomaching the rather overwhelming amount of criticism the show is receiving. I’m with Bob and Paul – time for the channel 4 lumberjack to put these underachievers out of their misery.

  • AnnaWaits

    Darrin – I agree that there’s some laughs, it’s just I really don’t think there’s enough, and far too many of those ‘dry’ scenes you mention.

    I hope that Channel 4 can do something with this – maybe change the format a little, and for goodness sake let David Mitchell go!

  • Harry

    Oh dear. Do we really need to see David Mitchell prostituting his current popularity any further? I think not. In my opinion this show was basically only commishioned on the fact that David Mitchell is incredibly hot at the moment. But a few fat idiots in suits in an office somewhere have applied something viable on a piece of peper to a project that is now beyond rescue.

    It’s terrible. Good point someone regarding The League of Gentleman. That show was more vulgar, more offensive, but equally more comedic and yes, the characterisation was top notch! This feels like a bunch of lay-about students came back from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, had a few ideas and (naively) thought they could run their own weekly show.

    Karate Johnson is (although entirely purile) a good example of why some comedy is great when you’re in a room full of people at a festival and the comedy seems to feed off of this great energy. The idea that it would translate in a tv show setting is immature.

  • Anonymous

    Oh my god , how terrible is this show.I watched some of it the other night…..I was astounded by its unfunniess…..I was myself hungover watching it and thought maybe It was just me.But no. Ive just read the above review and it hits the nail on the head.Some sketches, if you can call them that, beggar belief….you would not see poorer quality on late night Tokyo cable TV.How on earth did it make it onto british tv. It must be somekind of experiment on the public or something….maybe the Dharma initiative are behind it.

    Back again……didnt notice all these fellow complainers the last day, but hey, this is something worth complaining about. Somebody said something about randomly grabbing people off the street and putting them in front of a camera etc……..To better this program all you would have to do is show some CCTV footage of the house hold goods aisle in Tescos and you will be guaranteed more laughs.
    And David Mitchell????……He must be doing a favour for that bloke who does the ” i’m randy character (so bad it has to be seen to be believed)”….ive seen them on the box together before.
    I’m gonna leave it at that ….my keyboard is’nt an adequate enough vehicle for me to vent my derision for this show. The only plus is that Nina Conti is strangely attractive in a goofy way…..Tschus!!

  • Kate Moore

    Unbelievably bad. Rhys Thomas doesn’t deserve to work EVER again. The cast, including Mitchell, need shooting for this steaming pile of rancid dung!!!

  • Darrin

    Firstly I’m amazed I got any responses around my comment, not really doing the ‘chat/forum’ thing before I was genuinely surprised at the amount of comments I seemed to of generated .However back to Blunder after reading the comments again and watching the show in stone cold sobriety i can quite honestly say that with the exception of the odd scene it is total and utter crap!!
    There I’ve said it, I’ve made a complete ‘u’ turn I’m rubbish!! It is simply a load of rather puerile lads on a post comedy festival jolly who at some point one of them has said ‘we can do that’…..shameful what was I thinking .

  • nick

    The baron is a legend and is the whole thing of the show, everyone who dislikes the baron sucks and they can drink my evil ball juice.

    The rest of the show is great too!

    From the Barons #1 fan!

    IM EVIL! ‘!@/$ YOU!

  • Magnus Hanesblickenson

    Hello Rhys (or is it Tom?)! Calling yourself Nick today are you?

    If I were you, I’d concede defeat on this project and abandon the sinking ship as everyone else (including the C4 executives) seem to have done. I’d imagine it’s no coincidence that Channel 4 have removed all mention of Blunder from their website.

  • Nick

    This is not rhys tom or nick, i am the baron! i am evil! I block your arterys with my man fat!

    I will be mighty upset if they stop showing blunder, it is great.

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