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Old Favourites: The Mighty Boosh (Season 1)

In these strange times that we find ourselves in, with free time aplenty, I am often scrawling the endless catalogue of Netflix in search of something new to make the days pass. Ultimately, I end up settling to re-watch favourite classics, rather than committing to sixteen seasons of Grey’s Anatomy (no matter how much my girlfriend insists I have the time and that I’d enjoy it). Instead, I look to a favourite of mine, one that sparked my young brains interest in comedy, The Mighty Boosh.

The Mighty Boosh (created by Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt) season one aired in 2004 and became an instant cult classic, which only grew in popularity throughout time, garnering two more seasons. Upon rewatching, 16 years later, does the iconic Boosh remain a staple in the surreal comedy genre or has it been doomed to the forgotten archives of BBC iPlayer? 

The show offers a smorgasbord of surreal, as the revered duo of Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt are at their best in this bizarre episodic comedy. Episodes are host to a variety of creative and imaginative storylines which take us to distant lands through time and space. 

The season is centred around the adventures of zookeepers Howard (Barratt) and Vince (Fielding). Episodes start with the pair directly addressing the audience often encapsulating the events which are about to ensue with a short comedic skit. From there, anything goes as the duo engage in weird, wonderful and wacky escapades of differing variety. From the episode ‘Bollo’ in which Howard is mistakenly sent to monkey hell, to ‘Hitcher’ where the duo is set upon by a green cockney hitcher with one giant thumb and an obsessive need to play slap bass. The music too plays a huge part of this iconic show with each set piece written by Barratt. Each episode is accompanied by a catchy and original musical number which draws from the likes of electro, heavy metal, funk and rap. Songs become a mainstay and a welcomed addition, wonderfully slotting into the plot where necessary, adding a unique quality to an already fantastic season. The show never misses a beat from episode to episode, each being distinctly different and fantastically refreshing. 

Despite my continual praise it's not without its slight critiques. The first 2 episodes sit by the wayside as they fail to reach the magnitude of the later episodes the series has to offer. They work well to establish the characters and style but serve more as an introduction rather than part of the grand act. These episodes are by no means bad, but do pale a little in comparison to the rest of the season.

Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt spearhead the season with well written and witty dialogue. The pair perfectly complement one another, with Vince being the eccentric style icon and Howard the mundane egotistic fool. Having a constant string of humorous barbs, jabs and crimps the duo contrast at points but show an endearing and genuine side to their friendship, which is a gratifying inclusion to the surreal landscape of the show and helps to ground it at points. The supporting cast work as equally surreal additions to the show, from the zoo’s resident shaman to the dashing Dixon Bainbridge, who always keeps a spare gun in his moustache. The supporting characters rival the shows innate weirdness, perfectly complimenting the leading duo. 

The Mighty Boosh, in my eyes, will and always will be nothing shy of a surreal comic masterpiece. It was undoubtedly ahead of its time and, although a few weaker episodes do pop up from time to time, it remains a must-watch. With the popularity of the show only increasing on streaming services like Netflix and iPlayer, it's possible the Duo could be back. 

For now, you can watch the first two seasons on BBC iPlayer.


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