The Elegant Gentleman’s Guide To Knife Fighting: Premiere Review

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For a fan of Jungleboys previous endeavour, the hilarious A MOODY CHRISTMAS, I have to say I was disappointed upon watching their foray into sketch comedy.

The excruciatingly long title THE ELEGANT GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO KNIFE FIGHTING  actually hints at what is fundamentally wrong with the series, all the sketches take far too long.

I was considering the best way to approach a review of a sketch series and I thought it easiest to grade each sketch a HIT or a MISS. Sadly there are too many misses in the premiere that I’m failing to see longevity in Jungleboys newest experiment.

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1. Amish IT Support – This sketch dragged on for a joke that made its impact as soon as you saw the costume. We were then forced to sit through an Amish dressed IT Support go through what seemed like every tool in his kit. He slaved away destroying a perfectly good computer while the man he was assisting freaked out for a whole minute. The joke never amped up or developed it just petered out. –MISS

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2. Insane Prius Driver – I have to admit, I laughed when we finally realised this intense and ominous figure that silenced the dinner party was in fact a Prius driver. I liked the idea of heightening the douchebaggery and entitlement the stereotypical Prius driver evokes. But once again I felt this scene dragged on a little too long, I felt it was almost a HIT until we revisited the same sketch twice throughout the episode which killed it for me. – MISS

3. Army Dad – A soldier brought his kids along to a battlefield…might have worked with a laugh track but the quick sketch fell flat and was easily forgotten. – MISS

4. Domestic House Hunting – One of the few sketches I truly enjoyed, the acting wasn’t perfect but the couples fiery chemistry and their domestic in front of the real estate agent was enough insanity in just the right amount of time – HIT

5. We’re Pregnant! – Another case of too drawn out to care, there is only so many times a Father-in-law can say ‘penis’ and ‘vagina’ before it becomes tiresome and this sketch easily surpassed its limit. – MISS

6. Name that Island – This sketch was very basic, another simple idea that might have worked with a laugh track. Reusing the same joke about lazily naming Australian islands a few centuries ago just didn’t land for me. –MISS

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7.  Fine Dining – This sketch was just a little too strange. The show is trying to offer many forms of comedy and this one was a very physical scene where a large man was brought out on a platter to be eaten off. The diner sucking the food off the large man’s hand was a little cringeworthy but nothing more. – MISS

8. Hat Intervention – This sketch was just cruel. A wife confronts her partner about wearing too many hats before he reveals that he is bald which causes her to divorce him. Are we supposed to laugh and say “Ha, what a bitch!” (?) – MISS

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9. Porn Safety Officer – At least the show finished with a solid sketch. I felt this scene was original and vulgar without going over the top. The desperation in the safety officer’s actions and the crew reacting to him mounting the bench was on point. Although the sketch went quite long the joke developed throughout the sketch to sustain the laughs. – HIT

With new and inventive sketch comedies out there like Kroll Show and Portlandia, this traditional format fails to hit the right notes.

I sense a major problem with the series is that it doesn’t feel Australian. Yes, the cast is Aussie and the accents are there but an aspect of A Moody Christmas that worked so well was that it reminded the viewers of home. The Elegant Gentleman’s Guide To Knife Fighting seems to be trying to appeal to a much broader market but failing to do so. Maybe Jungleboys want the content to translate internationally in order to sell the show, smart business ploy but sadly it’s doing a disservice to their current project.

I’ll give next episode a go but if it’s much of the same I don’t see myself returning for a third viewing.

New Episode Wednesday @ 9pm on ABC1

Words by Dan

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