Author Topic: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody  (Read 3355 times)

famethrowa

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Chriddof

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Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #31 on: January 06, 2019, 08:21:23 AM »
Yes, I noticed that too. Like someone going "Oh, God".

There is definitely someone saying that right after "Wallace" drinks the tea.

Why did they not just dress up Lenny Henry as Wallace and Gromit without the prosthetic masks? Like, have the costumes but just his own face? And maybe avoid the problem of having to carefully shoot everything with one actor by getting someone else to be Gromit - you could have got someone like, I dunno, Neil Mullarkey for that, but you could see his full face and everything and he just remains mute. And Lenny Henry could just be wearing Wallace's clothes, but not made out of some sort of shiny plastic, and he's not got any make up or anything on his face or head - just imitating the character's general movements.

It wouldn't have been funny, but it would have been an easier watch. But instead they go to all the trouble of producing a mask with a frozen un-moving mouth, and then you get audience members who are audibly horrified on the final programme.

Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #32 on: January 06, 2019, 11:14:15 AM »
Full show here. In the context of other family-friendly sketches based on puns or very broad parodies (ie. Jeremy Clarkson reviewing toy cars on Top Gear), it makes a tiny bit more sense.

Being a 1995 Christmas show, it was probably an attempt to tie into that Xmas's premiere of A Close Shave. (In that slightly cloying BBC cross-promotional way.) The 'Wallace gets a girlfriend' plot would've been publicised before then, which might explain some of what goes on in this sketch.

It is utterly bizarre though, that the ridiculously thin and nonsensical premise of the written sketch was deemed enough to then go through all the set and costume design, prosthetic mouldings and application etc etc.

I don't even understand the opening joke. Wallace says "I'd love a cheese toastie". Gromit carves a block of cheese into a bone shape, and this is deposited onto a plate on top of a piece of toast. Wallace says "you are a man's best friend". ?

Phil_A

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Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #33 on: January 06, 2019, 11:21:43 AM »
For some reason this sketch was a big part of the hype for this special, I distinctly remember it featuring prominently in the trailers. Did they think they had a classic on their hands that people would talk about for years?

Definitely seems to be a case where the production design got completely out of hand and killed any humour stone dead.

Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #34 on: January 06, 2019, 03:07:30 PM »
Definitely seems to be a case where the production design got completely out of hand and killed any humour stone dead.

Isn't it more the case that the written sketch is so weak, but the reference point and production effort tries to justify it?

They were always onto a loser - trying to do a benign parody of a decent comedy never works, because as a parody it's functionless. You just get a laugh of recognition and a thin imitation of the original's humour.

Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #35 on: January 06, 2019, 03:23:28 PM »
They were always onto a loser - trying to do a benign parody of a decent comedy never works, because as a parody it's functionless. You just get a laugh of recognition and a thin imitation of the original's humour.

This is a good observation and might explain why I've always loathed things like Family Guy's depiction of, say, Bert and Ernie as alcoholics or whatever they do. Bert and Ernie is already a lovely thing, so what does "parodying" it - or in this case reframing it as nasty - it expose?

Brundle-Fly

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Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #36 on: January 06, 2019, 03:44:39 PM »
This is a good observation and might explain why I've always loathed things like Family Guy's depiction of, say, Bert and Ernie as alcoholics or whatever they do. Bert and Ernie is already a lovely thing, so what does "parodying" it - or in this case reframing it as nasty - it expose?

Because the joke is the incongruity of the lovable duo from Sesame Street being alcoholics. Family Guy is not trying to expose anything (unless the puppeteers themselves were known to be notorious drunks).

Brundle-Fly

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Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #37 on: January 06, 2019, 03:51:12 PM »
Isn't it more the case that the written sketch is so weak, but the reference point and production effort tries to justify it?

They were always onto a loser - trying to do a benign parody of a decent comedy never works, because as a parody it's functionless. You just get a laugh of recognition and a thin imitation of the original's humour.

Parodying decent comedy can work but it often has to put in a jab to the kidneys to be fully effective. Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse (and the writers) are the masters of this.

Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #38 on: January 06, 2019, 03:57:44 PM »
This is a good observation and might explain why I've always loathed things like Family Guy's depiction of, say, Bert and Ernie as alcoholics or whatever they do. Bert and Ernie is already a lovely thing, so what does "parodying" it - or in this case reframing it as nasty - it expose?

Well that example's slightly different as it's not benign, it's a corruption of the original's setup. The reason to loathe it is because it's a cheap laugh - the adult-ification of children's TV. 'Hey, what if Barney was a prostitute?' etc.

In a parody, it seems you can either agree with the sentiment of the original, you attack it. (Then there's the middle ground - because any parody involves adjusting elements of the original to create an alternate version of it, it is possible within this to not declare whether you're agreeing with or attacking it.)

So if you're agreeing with sentiment of the original and the original thing is a funny popular comedy, then the parody has no function.*

The premise of this W&G parody, the literal reason for its existence, is asking 'what if Wallace and Gromit were played by Lenny Henry?'. That's it, there's nowhere for it to go.

* Other egregious examples of this that spring to mind are Rory Bremner's Blackadder II parody, with various cabinet minsters playing the roles, and the TV Squash parody of Bottom.

Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #39 on: January 06, 2019, 03:57:49 PM »
Because the joke is the incongruity of the lovable duo from Sesame Street being alcoholics.

Oh yeh. Horrid though.

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Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #40 on: January 06, 2019, 04:04:06 PM »
They were always onto a loser - trying to do a benign parody of a decent comedy never works, because as a parody it's functionless. You just get a laugh of recognition and a thin imitation of the original's humour.

That's reminded me of the Wallace and Gromit parody that The Simpsons did back in 2011:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQABj6zG2SQ

The animation is decent enough, but like the Lenny Henry sketch it doesn't really have any point other than weakly going through the stopmotions of the original with a mildly snarky tone but no real attempt at subversion.

Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #41 on: January 06, 2019, 04:06:17 PM »
Parodying decent comedy can work but it often has to put in a jab to the kidneys to be fully effective. Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse (and the writers) are the masters of this.

Oftentimes - although I still think too many of the parodies in The Story Of The Twos were childish cursory gurning, with comedy fans just getting moist at the thought of 'someone putting the boot in', as they do.

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Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #42 on: January 06, 2019, 04:46:42 PM »
Because the joke is the incongruity of the lovable duo from Sesame Street being alcoholics. Family Guy is not trying to expose anything (unless the puppeteers themselves were known to be notorious drunks).

Shit kind of humour though, isn’t it.

“Do you see:  characters from Sesame Street are recognisable!”  - chortle, good one!!

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Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #43 on: January 06, 2019, 04:58:17 PM »
Oftentimes - although I still think too many of the parodies in The Story Of The Twos were childish cursory gurning, with comedy fans just getting moist at the thought of 'someone putting the boot in', as they do.
I disagree, I think they distill the core thing that makes the figures they're mocking ridiculous people.

As RFV points out, the Family Guy parody of Sesame Street is terrible because it's just the crap thing of "imagine a pop culture thing you recognise in an adult context! Aaaah! Can you imagine that?". I downloaded enough of that shit from Napster to last me a lifetime.

Brundle-Fly

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Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #44 on: January 06, 2019, 05:05:49 PM »
Oftentimes - although I still think too many of the parodies in The Story Of The Twos were childish cursory gurning, with comedy fans just getting moist at the thought of 'someone putting the boot in', as they do.

I agree there. They do sometimes boll down comedians/ shows to just grotesqueness, gurns and repeating the hooks over and over again. eg :their Curb Your Enthusiasm parody, for example, and their impressions in An Evening With Harry & Paul. It's a shorthand, I suppose?

Where they really excel is the Will Hay parody in Norbert Smith: A Life

or this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2FToyZil3I

Twed

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Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #45 on: January 06, 2019, 05:07:59 PM »

or this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2FToyZil3I
The irony here is that Whitehouse is accidentally doing a great Wallace impression.

Brundle-Fly

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Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #46 on: January 06, 2019, 05:12:28 PM »
I disagree, I think they distill the core thing that makes the figures they're mocking ridiculous people.

As RFV points out, the Family Guy parody of Sesame Street is terrible because it's just the crap thing of "imagine a pop culture thing you recognise in an adult context! Aaaah! Can you imagine that?". I downloaded enough of that shit from Napster to last me a lifetime.

It's a comedy staple that has been around forever and will continue. Some examples are good, some are cak. Even "Aaaah! Can you imagine that" Lee & Herring used this device frequently on their various shows: The Fables, Histor & Pliney, The Organ Gang,  Although, given, they are a pastiche of children's entertainment (with adult themes) rather than a parody of a specific show.

Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #47 on: January 06, 2019, 05:16:12 PM »
Can't unsee his nose as a screaming mouth now

You've turned this into one of them 'is it two heads or a vase?' type illusions for me, my eyes started twitching.

non capisco

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Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #48 on: January 06, 2019, 05:18:02 PM »
or this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2FToyZil3I

Great apart from the end. Why the fuck did they choose to have Farage in it? What am I missing?

Twed

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Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #49 on: January 06, 2019, 05:18:28 PM »
It's a comedy staple that has been around forever and will continue. Some examples are good, some are cak. Even "Aaaah! Can you imagine that" Lee & Herring used this device frequently on their various shows: The Fables, Histor & Pliney, The Organ Gang,  Although, given, they are a pastiche of children's entertainment (with adult themes) rather than a parody of a specific show.
I don't think those are the same thing as "imagine if Elmo took some drugs" at all.

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Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #50 on: January 06, 2019, 05:36:53 PM »
Great apart from the end. Why the fuck did they choose to have Farage in it? What am I missing?

Isn't the joke that it's a superfluous celebrity cameo like on Extras but because of Harry and Paul's low status Farage is the best guest they can get? That they gave the real man a platform still leaves a bad taste in the mouth though.

Brundle-Fly

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Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #51 on: January 06, 2019, 05:41:53 PM »
I don't think those are the same thing as "imagine if Elmo took some drugs" at all.

Because the principle of putting adult themes into children's popular culture is the same conceit. 'Elmo taking some drugs' is the worst example of that comic notion because it is so obvious but 'Cookie Monster being secretary general of the TUC' might throw up something funny, if it was written well.

Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #52 on: January 06, 2019, 05:43:06 PM »
The defensive 'Greeks loved it' always tickles me more than it should.

Brundle-Fly

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Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #53 on: January 06, 2019, 05:46:26 PM »
That they gave the real man a platform still leaves a bad taste in the mouth though.

Wasn't that part of the joke? Cringe comedy that makes you uncomfortable and all that? I suspect, they ran down a long list of naff LE cameos they could have gone for but they'd all been used up by Gervais, French & Saunders, Harry Hill, Shooting Stars, reality shows. Syd Little was unavailable that day.

Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #54 on: January 06, 2019, 05:49:48 PM »
The Family Guy parody of Sesame Street is funny

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Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #55 on: January 06, 2019, 10:02:14 PM »
I'm a firm believer in being critical of art.  For example, I love many a film but that doesn't mean that I can't critique and see the flaws within said films.  Sometimes though, sometimes... well, sometimes one has to simply bow down and say 'that was fucking brilliant'.  This is such an occasion.

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Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #56 on: January 07, 2019, 08:22:03 AM »
Wasn't that part of the joke? Cringe comedy that makes you uncomfortable and all that? I suspect, they ran down a long list of naff LE cameos they could have gone for but they'd all been used up by Gervais, French & Saunders, Harry Hill, Shooting Stars, reality shows. Syd Little was unavailable that day.

Was this the same show that had Parking Patewayo in? And the pretty polish lady working at the cafe etc. I can't help but think that a proportion of Enfield/Whitehouse's audience would lap up legend Farage being such a good sport. They didn't even make him look daft.

Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #57 on: January 07, 2019, 08:59:01 AM »
Why is Wallace protesting when the woman tries to get his trousers off? Wasn't that the whole point of his operation?

I guess it fits in with the British male comedy trope of 'pathetic bloke concocts convoluted way to get off with a lady, but when it comes to crunch time he panics and is reduced to a shrinking violet'. Richie in the 'Digger' episode of Bottom being an archetypal example.

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Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #58 on: January 07, 2019, 11:15:02 AM »
Think it was a bit out of character for Wallace to say 'Fuck my life' after the woman skedaddles.

Re: Lenny Henry's 1997 Wallace and Gromit parody
« Reply #59 on: January 07, 2019, 11:30:17 AM »
I think Wallace should have said "Cracking tits, Gromit".