The first series of The Angelos Epithemiou Show concluded on Friday. If you’ve read any of my reviews about the previous episodes of this show, you’ll have gauged that – bar a few imperfections – I love it and actually find very few things to criticise. This week, however, I found quite a few. Before we get to that, though, let me tell you what I thought was great about this week’s show, because there were quite a few highlights.
Firstly, I thought the opening dance sequence was brilliant this week – call me naive but I didn’t see Angelos’s fall through the stage coming, therefore when it happened I found it all the more funny.
He then went on to explain how EastEnders works with the aid of a few pictures of characters from the soap and the Queen Vic on a stick (I’m a poet and I didn’t know it!). Once again, this was really funny and actually even better than the Dragons’ Den explanation last week. You’ll understand what I’m talking about if you watch it.
Angelos’s guest this week was model-turned-body builder Jodie Marsh, whom he introduced as having an arm which “looks like the Sixteen Chapel”. Hilarious on more than one level. He then kicked off the interview by asking Jodie about her marriage to Matt Peacock with the marvellous question: “To find this husband, you lived with a load of blokes in a house on the telly, you picked one, you married him but you divorced him. Why do you think that didn’t work out for you, Jodie?” What a question! It was so reminiscent of Mrs. Merton (Caroline Aherne’s 90s chat show host character) asking Debbie McGee the infamous question, “What first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?” – very rude and ill-mannered but taken in the best way possible, because it’s a comedy show!
…NOT THE HIGHLIGHTS
However, like I said, it wasn’t all good in this episode. Earlier today, I read a review online of Verry Terry – the Channel 4 comedy chat show pilot hosted by Kayvan Novak’s Face and Fonejacker character Terry Tibbs – to see whether others agreed with my negative review. The writer of the review I read earlier basically said that Verry Terry trumped The Angelos Epithemiou Show but I couldn’t have disagreed more. I certainly wouldn’t have gone as far as to say Verry Terry is better but this week I definitely did spot some more flaws in The Angelos Epithemiou Show. I don’t think it was necessarily because anything in this episode was weak in itself but maybe because it was the last show in the series, more things became apparent. For example, there are moments in the show (and particularly from the latter half of the series) when ‘Angelos’ laughs, even the remotest titter, the character slips somewhat and the man behind him – Dan Renton Skinner – shines through. This happened this week when Angelos bravely challenged Jodie to an arm wrestle – there was a laugh and it was obviously that of Dan, not Angelos. Usually I find this endearing in shows: I love going to see a play or watching something on TV during which something clearly goes slightly wrong and the actors very briefly acknowledge it as themselves, not as their characters. To me, it’s like they’re saying ‘Oh dear, that wasn’t meant to happen! Oh what the hell!’, it’s a cheeky reminder that they’re just people on a stage or in a studio trying to convince us in the auditorium or our living rooms that what we’re seeing is real. It can work, and it did the first time I noticed Angelos do it (when he interviewed Sir Ranulp Fiennes) but when it happened the third time I just thought, ‘Oh this is getting silly now.’ Where comedy is concerned, I find that there needs to be an element of not taking it too seriously but an assurance from the performer that they know we’re investing time – and often money – in their production so they will do their best to remain in character, the way we wanted them to when we decided to buy a ticket or switch on the TV. Unfortunately, Skinner has slipped out of character – however briefly – a bit too often to leave me with that assurance that he knows what he’s doing.
In addition, Gupta’s sketches (which I’ve previously taken umbrage with) got very tiresome towards the end. We knew exactly what was coming – brief interview, Gupta gets bored or annoyed, which then gets his interviewee bored or annoyed and then a slapstick fight begins, lasting for far too long to keep my interest. To the end, it felt like we’d seen them all before. What with this and Gupta’s constant claim that he and Angelos do a specified activity “for kicks” or “for shits and giggles” (which was funny for the first few episodes), it suddenly became apparent to me during this episode that the series was full of running jokes which were funny for the first couple of episodes but soon became predictable and which we could see coming a mile off.
In summary, it simply became obvious in the final episode that there are more recurring jokes in The Angelos Epithemiou Show than new, original ones. Shooting Stars had recurring jokes and themes but even Vic and Bob bothered to think up some new material for every episode! If there’s to be a second series, I suggest these jokes are either reduced or removed altogether and replaced with new, fewer ones.
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