Thursday, May 13, 2010

So Wrong It's Right...Not Quite

Surprise! There's a new game show on BBC Radio 4!

All right, maybe that's not really that big a surprise. While it's certainly true that many of the game shows on that station have been around for decades, they don't shy away from new ones. To give you an idea of the range, the oldest game show currently in the station's rotation, Round Britain Quiz, had it's earliest version in 1941 and is possibly the longest running game show in the world; in contrast, the newest, The Museum Of Curiosity, premiered in 2008. Indeed, what's probably most surprising about May 11's premiere of So Wrong It's Right is that this show was announced as being developed years ago with no sign of premiering. I thought it was never going to happen. I was wrong.

The premise of So Wrong It's Right...I actually think it's genius. Host Charlie Brooker asks three panelists to come up with the worst things that could possibly fit in whatever category. Whoever comes up with most horrific thing gets a point, and whoever has the most points at the end of the show wins. Genius!

Unfortunately, the show wasn't. The first problem was, in a half hour show, they only got through four rounds - there was that much banter. I know it sounds weird to say that a comedy panel game show has too much banter, but this one does. When we finally get to the categories, they're not all that funny or original. "Worst Vacation You've Ever Had" was one; while "Worst Possible Reality Show" might sound funny on paper, the panelists were speaking the truth when they repeatedly complained that they can't come up with anything funnier than the real thing. I also have to note that during a supposed quickfire round, the panelists had to keep shouting "I've got one!" I know it's silly to complain about the budget of a radio show, but would it really haved killed them to install buzzers?

The panelists on the first episode were David Mitchell, Rufus Hound and Victoria Coren. Those are all good talents, but they didn't come across as very funny here, certainly when they kept saying to each other "That idea wasn't that bad!" Charlie actually was a lot funnier then they were, with the biggest laugh of the premiere being when he described his worst ever vacation - being stuck on a car ferry to Spain that was repeatedly showing the movie Mortal Kombat. That was funny - and the rest weren't.

In short, this may have been a great idea for a comedy panel game show, but the show wasn't funny. I somehow get the feeling that if Charlie asked the panelists to come up with the worst possible comedy panel game show ideas, So Wrong It's Right would get the point.


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