Thursday, 10 January 2008

To Catch a Phrase

Today, I watched Little Miss Jocelyn. I would have reviewed it in a blog post, but it would have consisted of "A cavalcade of sketches featuring loud characters in similar situations without the decency to come up with a decent, memorable catchphrase". Instead of reviewing that, I will talk about the humble catchphrase.

Many people slander catchphrases in sketch shows. I do too. When a sketch show character has one, every story told about said character turns into a set-up to get aforementioned character to utter their catch phrase. This was where Little Britain had their major downfall. The episodes never differed: seeing Andy agree to something and then disagreeing to the decision moments later was funny the first time, but the average audience of that show only stays around to listen to "yeah, I know" or "want that one". It's so they can justify saying the phrases themselves in public places, like restaraunts, my local bar, the bus I go on and anywhere within three feet of me.

However, not all catch phrases are bad. Last Friday, Channel 4 (in a very Channel 4-esque thing to do) decided to count down the top fifty. Surprisingly, barely any of the catchphrases were from sketch shows. Hell, the top-rated one wasn't even from a scripted comedy- it was Bruce Forsyth's "Nice To See You To See You". It was an enjoyable countdown show to watch, mainly because it consisted of clips of classic comedy shows such as Fawlty Towers and And Now For Something Completely Different.

What I did find interesting to see was how many of the catchphrases listed never actually happened. Somewhere in the list was "Ooh, Betty" and "Super Smashin' Great", two phrases that had apparently, never been uttered in the shows they were famous for being uttered in. I find it amazing how people can attribute a popular and memorable catchphrase to a show where it has never been uttered.

It's a shame Little Miss Jocelyn doesn't have that power.

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