A comedy trivia quiz based around pop music, originally hosted by Mark Lamarr up to October 2006, then hosted by Simon Amstell until his departure in 2011. From that point forward the show ... See full summary »
A comedy panel game in which being Quite Interesting is more important than being right. Stephen Fry is joined each week by four comedians to share anecdotes and trivia, and maybe answer some questions as well.
Now, let me start by saying that during its first seven seasons, I absolutely loved this show. While never being a regular viewer of the show (I mainly watch its repeats on Dave, as outside of Top Gear, it's the only thing they show), whenever I saw those episodes, I found the show to be very enjoyable indeed. It was consistently funny, had enough various rounds to keep the show fresh and to stand out in the panel show genre and there was strong chemistry between the comedians on the show that kept it compelling. So, initially I loved the show like many others, and us fans couldn't get enough of it.
Sadly, however, it is a show that has seriously dropped in quality recently. Sure, most comedy shows eventually get tired for many reasons. Sitcoms for example can run out of steam if they stay on air for too long, as there's only so many ways to milk humour out of a certain situation, and because of this, they either become stale and repeat jokes (i.e. The Simpsons) or tries to become more daring and shocking, and backfires miserably (i.e. Family Guy). However, this is a completely different kettle of fish.
To me, this show stopped being funny when Frankie Boyle left during series 7, after the BBC told him to tone down his humour. Quite rightly, he didn't agree with them, and promptly walked out of the show, claiming the BBC were afraid of "frightening the horses". It may sound pathetic and whiny to say that a show went downhill just because your favourite comedian from said show left it, but I was still open to watching the show. The other panelists were at least quite funny (even though Hugh Dennis is quite disposable) and other comedy series can still work despite a vital member being absent.
However, in this case, it has seriously backfired. This is mainly due to how the panelists are no longer funny, due to how they play for the safe and easy jokes on a certain subject, as opposed to the more daring, edgier jokes they told previously. While I understand it opens up the show to a wider audience than it did before, to old fans like us, the lack of edge completely ruins the show as it seems we are watching a paler imitation of what came before, due to a lack of edge or (most importantly) humour. I assume that this lack of edge comes from one of two things: the BBC telling everyone to tone down their humour for a wider audience, or them doing it anyway out of fear of loss of support or firing after Frankie's exit.
It also doesn't help that other vital parts of the show have been completely stripped from it over the years. Firstly, due to multiple comedians leaving the show (Frankie Boyle and Russell Howard for example), the chemistry between the panelists is simply not there anymore, and the new panelists feel really out of place because of it. On top of this, many of the more recent panelists are not funny at all, with ones like Milton Jones & Chris Addison being some of the worst offenders in that category. Sure, occasional guests can be quite funny, like Jack Whitehall or Andi Osho, but those are in a minority. Most guests, even ones that have been quite funny in the past aren't funny and seem to have been sucked out of life when on Mock The Week.
Another more recent problem is the fact that the show doesn't cover enough major news stories. Sure, it perhaps didn't before, but at least they milked a lot of good jokes out of each subject that they mocked. However, now not only is the lack of humour making this problem more obvious, but the topics are boring as well. The constant celebrity & showbiz rounds aren't interesting or funny, & even when the show dips its toes into hot water with its topics, the show isn't funny then either. It also feels a lot longer than before because of it, with each 40-minute episode feeling like it could be on for 40 years. That is how boring and unfunny this once great show has become.
So due to all this, what are we left with? An unfunny panel show trying to reclaim past glories and failing miserably, with a lack of edge, a lack of major news stories being covered and a lack of humour, as previous panelists lose their balls and new unfunny hacks try to show off their stuff, but fail to even raise a smirk, and rather you'll moan, groan and feel depressed as to what this show has become. Sure, the original series are fantastic and I recommend that you watch those series instead (which is why my rating isn't lower). Don't watch any new series of Mock the Week, as they are unfunny, boring and quite frankly dead in the water. Please, BBC cancel the show before it possibly gets any worse.
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