Words: Paul Dean
'The Trip' Episode 5: 'The Yorke Arms'
SYNOPSIS: "Comedy series starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. Steve and Rob visit the world-famous Malham limestone pavement before eating at the Yorke Arms." (bbc.co.uk)
Perhaps the feature length version of 'The Trip' will be better. The big screen edit that's set to be released in some territories next year will no doubt feature the very best moments of this series, while chopping out the faff and the repetition. I really think that needs to be done, too. Much as I hate to say so, I think this series has stalled and, at times, even come close to outright nose-diving. Its funniest moments came too soon and there are few surprises left for us now.
Not only has the spontaneity gone, but the dialogue is dying too. Though the humour was supposed to come from how mundane and petty the leading duo's quips and quibbles were, they really are verging on the dull now. They crack few new jokes and have little more to say to each other than they did in previous episodes.
We well understand by now that Rob Brydon is very pleased with his career, while Steve Coogan feels his ambitions are frustrated. We also know that Brydon's impersonations often drive Coogan to distraction, but that doesn't mean we need to see the same ones each week. We know Coogan's love life is imperfect, so how come that's also the same story each time? This has become a series in stasis, a sort of North-of-England restaurant purgatory in which we have all been included.
All right, perhaps that's a little too mean. I've never before laughed at a never-ending monologue on midlands geology. I also appreciate that Brydon and Coogan showcase some of the best naturalistic acting I've seen in ages. Still, I hope next week's finale offers up something a little special. I was almost roaring at the first episodes of 'The Trip'. Now I can perhaps manage the occasional snort.
WATCH 'The Yorke Arms' until 10.29pm, Monday December 13th.