I know what you’re thinking: muppets have been running game shows for years. Ahahaha *slaps you upside the head*. But now the Jim Henson Company brings you That Puppet Game Show, a gameshow where celebrities compete to win £10,000 for charity and that immediately is a little depressing. The words “it’s for charity” have the power to sap the life out of anything. Back when Bullseye was a thing the contestants were clearly people for whom a speedboat a car or a caravan was a big deal so when they would gamble a few hundred quid they had already won (also a big deal) it was a bigger deal. Now unless there’s some trembling orphan who’s not going to get adopted unless Tim Lovejoy knocks the right amount of coconuts out of an inflatable gorilla I can’t help thinking that they’ve missed a trick here.
Dougie Colon (pronounced ‘cologne’) is our host who sounds and acts quite a lot like that moron Vernon Kay only significantly more human (perhaps coincidentally Vernon Kay will be appearing as a guest in a later episode). Jonathan Ross takes on Katherine Jenkins in the first episode and the rounds are tests of mental agility, memory, physical dexterity and general knowledge. They are set by the puppet experts, among them Amber O’Neill – showbiz expert Jemima Taptackle – no nonsense sports guru and Dr Strabismus, the science guy. Small hot dog products do a lot of the menial work on the show and Clyde a grouchy crab is our scorekeeper. Scripted badinage between Dougie, the experts and the celeb contestants are much of the meat of the show, sandwiched between backstage sitcom segments with puppet producer Mancie O’Neill trying to hold her puppet crew together.
Dougie Colon (pronounced ‘cologne’) is our host who sounds and acts quite a lot like that moron Vernon Kay only significantly more human
The behind-the-scenes stuff has some potential and the puppets look fine but the characterisation is weak and the gags are pretty plop. There’s an “and that was just the teachers joke” as if Lazy Comedy Slags never happened. The games are fun enough but with the low stakes, low drama ethic of the show it’s hard to care.
The games are fun enough but with the low stakes, low drama ethic of the show it’s hard to care.
I guess the problem is it just feels like a huge amount of work for not much payoff. Puppet shows are nightmare productions – expensive and time-consuming. When they come off as with Mongrels it’s great. When they don’t you just think they could have got half a dozen tubs of shit from a casting call website to bang this out in an afternoon and you’d essentially have the same show just without the heartache, headache and the latex rash burrowing its way up your ass crack.
The verdict: *Removes sock puppet*.
Marks out of 10: 5