Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Dutch QI Episode 1

Since QI is making its first foray abroad, we here at the QI Blog want to keep you up to date about the new series in The Netherlands. Hence we have some new reporters to introduce to you. This review of the first episode is written by Douchegordijn:


In general, Dutch remakes of British comedy programmes tend to be painful to watch. The Dutch Never Mind The Buzzcocks is quite horrible, and although our version of Have I Got News For You is very popular, I haven’t the faintest idea why. This is why I concluded a long time ago panel-quizzes were just not suited for Dutch humour. Last Saturday, I was proven wrong.

ARTHUR JAPIN: How do guide dogs navigate in a city?
RONALD GOEDEMONDT: Guide dogs usually wear out a couple of blind people before they know the city. They start with five blind people, which they leave at places across the city. These blind people are lost, and you can hear them scream, "Where am I? Where am I?" These lost people are the navigating points for the guide dogs. They think: "Oh, that’s Harry who’s lost at the cathedral. Here we go left." It’s not that difficult.

They decided against beginning with an A-series, opting for a theme per episode instead. The theme of the first episode was "senses". The participating comedians were Diederik van Vleuten, Ronald Goedemondt, Jetty Mathurin, and recurring panel member Thomas van Luyn. The Dutch version of QI is still very much a work in progress. Usually the comedians were able to come up with a couple of decent anecdotes or witty jokes. They were, however, still searching for the best way to deliver them. Sometimes the jokes or stories seemed a bit forced, but I still found myself laughing out loud a lot.

Host Arthur Japin is no Stephen Fry. At the moment, his prompter skills aren’t good enough. When he’s presenting, you can hear he’s reading the prompter aloud. He’ll probably get better at this, though. He is a lot more bitchy than Stephen and when the contestants are making fun of him, you often see a him looking very much "not amused" (JAPIN: "I had a dog who would do anything for me. He’d get the newspaper, carry my groceries…" GOEDEMONDT: "…write books…"). However, there were moments when Japin demonstrated some strong comedic skills. It proves that even without Fry, the format works.

The editing of the programme was sometimes a bit strange, and this will be one of the areas that needs to be targeted if the show is to become a lasting success. At times, they editing gave the impression that the contestants came up with the correct answer very quickly, which is a bit strange with impossible questions like these. This created the feeling that the show was scripted even though it isn’t.

The Dutch version of QI is not up there with the English version yet, but that’s not a really fair comparison, because the first episode of QI had the same feelings of being a little forced. I found the first episode quite enjoyable, and I think the show can grow to something very good, especially for those who don’t watch the English version.

The opening credits from the Dutch version.


relirel said...

surely, the Dutch version with Arthur Japin is quite interesting. haven't seen the English version yet, but with Fry it must be very funny. maybe i'll have the chance to see it soon, though i'm afraid it would be hard for me to understand since english is not my first language...

Luc said...

I think the first two episode's were decent. Like the reviewer said Japins presenting skills weren't up there with Stephens yet, the main weak point was that he didn't really interact with the guests a lot. But the largest let down for me was the high number of recycled questions, which isn't something first time viewers are going to be bothered about.

The growing pains are a bit larger than with the UK version, which I think came to it's own quite quickly, but it has a lot of potential. There actually was some inprovement in Japins presenting skills from the first to the second episode, so they will like continue to improve. There also seemed to be more new material in the second episode, which makes me hope they will try to continue to fase out the recycled questions.

Thomas sometimes came up with the answers very quickly and exactly as Fry gave them on the original version, so it's quite clear he knows some of the recycled questions (he also has in the past called QI a major influence for his own comedy show: the Mike and Thomas Show). Some of the other guests on the show made comments about this too. In the second episode he remained silent after most of the recycled questions. So far in the UK version things seem more real than in the Dutch one.