You may have seen the trailers for this new show across the other BBC channels over the past week. If not, I’m sure you’ll have heard it, as it has Brian Blessed doing the voiceover. BBC Three is of course a testing ground for new comedy, with the likes of the Mighty Boosh appearing on this channel before appearing on the more ‘mainstream’ Beeb channel. And The Wrong Door is the latest to appear off the production line.
And on early evidence, it’s good stuff, and has the potential to grow into something fantastic. From a comedy point of view, the show is a standard half hour sketch show, but rather than having people men dressed as women and vomiting WI ladies, there is an abundance of weird and wonderful CG characters to choose from.
Opening the show with a panoramic view of London’s skyline, the first sketch sets the tone for the entire show as a huge atomic powered looking robot smashes his way onto the screen, kicking over skyscrapers and throwing around landmarks. After a few minutes of carnage the robot just stops, looks up and says “where did I leave my fucking car keys?” This surreal, sci-fi element is right up any geek’s street, and with the affordability of good quality CG graphics these days and a bit of imagination, it fully embraces the weird and wonderful, and generates some very memorable sketches.
As seen in the trailers, one of the funniest sketches is the girl who has a T-Rex for a boyfriend, and with this first episode we have the parents meeting said dino. This involves smashing up a house, eating the family pet, piddling in the corner and covering a grandma in dino-spit. Admittedly the show does have a reliance on wee, poo and bogey gags, but hey, bodily functions are funny, and the writers obviously know it as we also get a fair few other sketches that rely on these elements. From a genetically created weapon ultimate warrior that instead becomes the most annoying thing in the world that has a fantastic ‘wee-o-clock’ joke, to a sketch involving fairies, too much beer, hotel rooms, porno channels and a fire alarm there might seem like an over abundance of this type of comedy. But while farts and such like are the basic concepts, the use of fantasy and some pretty cool CG make these sets of sketches really shine.
While a lot of the show’s graphics really stand out, having the look of something between a Tex Avery short and a Terry Gillian cartoon, some of the effects are a little more subtle, Example? The over-active dance-mat addicted disco diva who in a state of euphoric dance-mat trance doesn’t notice that slowly-but-surely the pretty lights of her game have moved off the screen and are slowly leading her down the street and to an eventual trap set by a big Tron-like robot who is using all the addicted dance-mat addicts to power a factory. As I said, slightly mad.
Added to this we have sketches about sexually excited Vikings hiding in wardrobes, Spider-man-like superheroes with ‘real’ spider-powers, and a snooker ace that defies all laws of physics all jumbled up with a great musical score that takes a dash of punk, prog and Danny Elfman stuck together, and blends to create a thirty minute sci-fi comic come to life.
Fun, entertaining and very unique, hopefully the show will catch on. Thankfully there doesn’t seem to be a set of repeated jokes, catchphrases or sketches designed to sell toys or T-shirts in sight, too.