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Mitchell and Webb

As I was away last week, I only just got around to watching the last episode of That Mitchell and Webb Look. It’s a show I felt started strongly with the first series, then went through a big inconsistent patch in the middle. But the fourth series has been absolutely exceptional. And the way it ended – oh, my.

There have been a few sketches throughout Series 4 that have really touched upon some very dark humour to begin with, then become more poignant as they progressed. The Quiz Broadcast is one I immediately loved, and while I feared it would turn into another Numberwang, it actually managed to weave a very smart narrative into the recurrent sketches. Indeed, the whole series featured some fabulous narrative framing (and Mitchell and Webb’s ability to do that is what lifts their comedy above that of – say – Armstrong and Miller). The final Quiz Broadcast ended perfectly on a subdued note.

Yet the final sketch of the series wasn’t a regular one. Instead, it was this utterly remarkable, inventive, and enormously bold conclusion. It’s embedded below. You simply must watch right until the end.

EDIT: I forgot to mention – in the penultimate episode, the pair have a discussion about the ending of Blackadder, Mitchell playing the part of the guy who thought “the joke fell flat”, and Webb explaining why they took a risk on ending on a serious note. Just for some context, there.

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4 responses »

  1. It’s just remarkable. Somebody on the YouTube comments thread has put it far better than I ever could:

    “Mitchell and Webb are, I think, some of the best writers and actors of this generation.

    To turn around a sketch from comedy, to poignancy, to tragedy and let the viewer experience the whole gamut of emotions in the space of five minutes is frankly astonishing.”

    (From user ‘ILoveAnyoneButYou’.)

    Reply
  2. Reminds me of the Rowley Birkin QC sketch from The Fast Show, where stunning acting from Paul Whitehouse suddenly turns a one-dimensional running joke of a character into a moment of startling poignancy:

    Reply
  3. Good job Denby.

    Reply

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