Tuesday, 2 October 2007

QI E02 Review - Electricity

Read the recording review here.

Foremost, I apologize for the lateness of this review; there were extenuating circumstances involving moving to England for a year's study and being cut off from the internet for several days. All is up and running now, thank goodness.

Although this was the second episode of the "E" series, it was the first of the series to be recorded; predicting the out-of-order transmission, Stephen was told to be careful not mention anything about it being the start of a new series.

A running joke throughout the evening was Stephen's unusual attraction to a horse that was shown as one of the viewscreen pictures, and the panellists took it in turns to rib him about it as often as possible. Most, if not all, of these jokey asides made it into the cut episode, and it worked very well without seeming overdone. Alan also did well in this regard by his multiple breathless conjectures about harnessing the immense power of lightning.

Each of the other panellists had some golden moments over the half hour. Jo Brand impressed everyone by her easy recall of the probability density definition of the electron. Sean Lock took an almost uncharacteristic walk on the intellectual side of the game and explained why, due to poaching, some elephants were being born without tusks, but made sure to follow up this revelation with his typical jolly silliness. Rich Hall, too, demonstrated his special ability to tell incongruous stories with a straight face while explaining his relationship to the long-deceased man who had been struck by lightning seven times.

You might have noticed that Rich Hall seemed a bit baffled when the scores were announced; they'd emphasized earlier that his one point came from his rather trivial calling out the name "Menlo Park", and funnily, it turned out that he received no further points than that. After the recording ended, he declared petulantly, "I got one point because I've been to Menlo Park," which, if it's any consolation to Rich, earned him supportive laughter.

Without a doubt, the highlight of the episode was Stephen's exaggerated camp German accent, which he exemplified by patting himself down with a distressed expression while voicing, "Oh, wo ist mein Handy? Ich habe mein Handy verloren!" (To non-adepts of German: "Oh, where's my mobile? I've lost my mobile phone!") It was certainly a hit with the audience, and caught Jo Brand's fancy particularly as well, for she got him to repeat the imitation later on in the recording.

The QI Quickie that accompanied the episode offered an extra discussion that didn't make it into the show: "Suggest a way to shock a couple of hundred monks," featuring French profanity and Rich Hall's punmanship. The panellists also discuss electric fences, the arrogance of pioneers in the history of electricity, and Alan's unfortunate experience with stripped wires.

There are several moments that I took note of during the recording that didn't make it into the final cut, but I hesitate before sharing with you in the hopes that they'll be featured in the 13th episode. Keep an eye out for Jo's story about why she had recent reason to call the emergency services, and Sean Lock's musing on his peculiar physics teacher.

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