HuTubeFlix: Would I Lie to You?
I’ve been known to occasionally gripe about the quality of American TV when compared to what our cousins across the pond get to watch. For example, BBC’s Sherlock, a modern reimagining of Sherlock Holmes, towers so far above CBS’s Elementary that it’s almost embarrassing. But what is perhaps the most jealousy-inducing aspect of British TV is the concept of a panel show. Those who listen to Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me and Says You on NPR should find the format familiar, but for some reason, it has yet to make the leap from radio to television here in the states. Operating like a quiz show without any prizes, British comedians and actors compete against each other on various subjects. While each show like this ends with one team or contestant “winning,” these shows are in reality just an excuse to watch extremely funny people banter and argue over seemingly ridiculous subject matter.
Which leads me to Would I Lie to You?, a panel game that is one of the most consistently hilarious shows I’ve ever seen . Hosted by comedian Rob Brydon of The Trip and with David Mitchell of Peep Show and Lee Mack of Not Going Out, the series revolves around a simple concept: guessing when someone is lying.
Each week, four comedians and actors join Brydon, Michell, and Mack and are then forced to read unusual stories about themselves from cards they’ve never seen before. The story will either be true, or a fiction for which the contestant must improvise details as the opposing team grills them to determine whether its a truth or a lie. Past stories have included whether David Mitchell’s best childhood friend was a bucket with a face painted on it, and whether Lee Mack can guess the day of the week for any date before the year 2000.
To make it better, Michell and Mack contrast each other perfectly, with Mitchell acting the part of a sophisticated and sardonic upper-class Englishman while Mack behaves irreverently and possesses more of an “everyman” appeal. The two often take the competitive aspect of the show quite seriously and face-off in verbal fisticuffs and hilarious rants.
If you’ve never seen a panel show before, this is required viewing. Sitcoms are well and good, but what could be better than gathering a group of genuinely hillarious people together, and then turning them against each other? Its the perfect marriage of competition and comedy, and few shows get the balance right.
The last three series of Would I Lie to You can be found on this channel, but all six series may be found on YouTube with a little digging. Here’s one of my favorite episodes to start:
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