There is something about effeminate German-accented men that will remain eternally funny, and there’s not a lot anyone can do about that.
In this episode of Yonderland, Laurence Rickard plays a strange loving diamond cutter who is very attached to his equipment. It’s been done before (Herr Lipp in The League of Gentlemen, various characters in Allo Allo) but not with this specific streak of weirdness.
Similarly, in comedy situations stupidity is funny, rather than aggravating. A village of idiots is, therefore, familiar territory. While not reinventing the wheel, there are still diamonds to be mined here, and it does tie in well with Yonderland’s desire to bring silliness to all ages. Indeed, the entire setup of the Ninnies reminds me of a mish-mash of elements of Terry Gilliam’s debut Jabberwocky – people are being catapulted into things based entirely on stupidity, although this is tonally less grim, as Debbie manages to save the day with some help from Pete.
The episode is probably the most Pythonesque so far. If you wanted to go for comparisons, there is something of The League of Gentlemen crossed with Monty Python to Yonderland, only the resulting show is being targeted at a wider age range than either of those.
The wilful silliness and mocking of middle class life is reminiscent of Python but it has the consistent setting and loose arc that worked so well for the League. In keeping its tone bawdy it manages to be the best of the pre-watershed sitcoms that have cropped up recently (possibly in reaction to people like David Jason’s comments about all those popular but rude shows that mysteriously only occur after the watershed).
While the reasons for Yonderland‘s existence lie more in its CBBC roots, it’s a welcome addition to Sky’s expanding roster of quality shows; something different for this moment in time.
Next week sees the series’ finale. Will it be an arc heavy time-stream jumping epic? No. Still, I’m looking forward to it anyway.
Aired at 6.30pm on Sunday 15 December 2013 on Sky1.
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