Words: Paul Dean
'The Trip' Episode 2: 'L'Enclume'
SYNOPSIS: "Comedy series starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. Over the course of six meals at six different restaurants in and around the Lake District, Lancashire and the Yorkshire Dales, this ultimate odd couple find themselves debating the big questions of life over a series of culinary delights." (bbc.co.uk)
I am terrible for endlessly re-watching favourite sketches or scenes from old comedy shows that I love. Some of them probably aren't funny any more, or perhaps never even were, but I can't help myself. It likely annoys the hell out of other people and gives them the impression that I have the narrowest of tastes and a complete inability to move on.
Well, I can now refute those claims entirely by showing everyone how I've embraced 'The Trip' and how I ride the wave of contemporary comedy. Then I can go away and privately watch parts of it over and over, until I'm old and bent and wrinkly, endlessly babbling the dialogue to any relatives compassionate enough to still come and visit me. Won't that be nice?
This week, as Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan took their ongoing rivalry, quibbles and competitive impersonations to another corner of the British countryside in the name of some culinary column or other, we got to witness Ray Winstone bully himself into drinking snot and Stephen Hawking sling insults to and fro. I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like this before.
The problem I have writing about 'The Trip' echoes my above tendency to repetition, since I feel almost compelled to simply tell everyone about (or, worse, recite) all my favourite moments. I want to become a babbling quote machine that burps up scene after scene. Of course, that's ruinous.
It's far better that you discover the rest of this week's fantastic performance-nitpicking and petty quarrels and I don't want to find myself in a weekly habit of stating who impersonated who in the latest attempt at one-upmanship. You'll also be able to see Coogan's fictional self struggling to take his career in the direction he so wishes it would go, as his sympathetic and somewhat sagging personal life gradually leaks its way in around the edges of the story.
I do reserve the right to void the above rule if I witness a Brian Blessed-off, though. Let me say, right now, that if I come across a scene where Brydon and Coogan begin Blessedding, face to face, I will regress into the biggest child you have ever seen.
WATCH until 9:29pm, Monday 13 Dec 2010. UK users only.