Friday, 16 January 2009

Dutch QI episode 3 "Lust and Love"

Not content with just two people's opinions of the new Dutch QI, we decided to go a find a third one. This week The Great Prickly of Pear provides us with her opinions of the third show in the new series.

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This episode was all about "Love and Lust", with guests Claudia de Breij, Ronald Goedemond, Silvester Zwaneveld, and of course Thomas van Luyn. I think that this show was the first in the run to really shine in terms of the comedy. It hasn't only been Arthur Japin (much improved this time) that needed to get used to his role, but the guests as well. The programme has placed too much emphasis on being funny in the early shows. As a result the guests try to answer the questions by leading off with a joke. That created plenty of forfeits, but it didn't lead into much banter. This time however, the panellists tried to answer the questions directly, and the resulting klaxons led into discussions that created a much funnier show.

So this episode was funnier that the previous ones. But was it more interesting? The answer to this question is, sadly, no. Once more, about half of the questions had come from the "real" QI. That makes it less interesting for the fans who've also watched the original. Also, the panellists are not encouraged to be interesting, even if an interesting anecdote is loosely connected with the question. It is quite clear that the panelists are only expected to contribute to the laughter and not the interestingness.

There is also a problem with the way the questions are posed. The question about fans that was asked in the Christmas special was also asked during this episode of the Dutch version. The panelists were asked to show how they thought "I'm already married", for example, would look. Obviously this lead to some funny answers, but how and where and why this fan-language was invented was omitted. This difference in style really demonstrates the lack of interest that the producers pay towards the subject matter's interestingness.

However, perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that this has transpired. The original QI was born out of the rather noble ideologies of John Lloyd, whose primary concern was creating an interesting show (which was supposed to be targeted at Radio 4 before he was persuaded to put it on TV). The Dutch QI has been bought from the BBC as a comedy show; maybe we shouldn't expect the producers to aspire to anything other than that?

One final niggle is that the questions lack linguistic elegance. The writers of the original seem always to do their utmost to write beautifully, making full use of Stephen's oratory skills. However in the Dutch version the question are simple. Maybe this has something to do with the different cultures. There's no eloquence in Dutch.

But why am I complaining that the Dutch version differs from the original? Does it matter that the intro isn't the same; that it isn't as interesting; that the cards Arthur Japin has in front of him don't look as good? QI is broadcast on Nederland 1, which produces cheap viewer-ratings-conscious entertainment, although all the public channels in the Netherlands work like that. Given that environment, QI is a beacon of light in the dark ocean that we call General Ignorance.

1 comment:

traaymakers said...

It still doesn't compare to the original version. episode 4 was very good though, mostly because of wim helsen