Wednesday, April 25, 2007
The Mighty Boosh is a British cult comedy about two friends who go on surreal and magical adventures. It has appeared as series of stage shows, a BBC radio series and a BBC Three TV series. The Mighty Boosh was created by Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding, who star as Howard Moon and Vince Noir respectively.
The title comes from a comment Noel heard about his brother's (Michael Fielding) hair by a Portuguese friend: "When he was young, he had really curly hair and his little friend when he was five used to say 'You've got a mighty bush!', [but his accent made "bush" sound like "boosh"]. I thought it was funny, I just overheard them say that once and thought "Mighty boosh, that's quite cool" We didn't want to be Barratt and Fielding, that sounds dreadful."
In The Mighty Boosh stage show there was no strict setting, but in the radio series and first television series the action was based around a zoo called Bob Fossil's Funworld ("Where fun, plus world, equals... Worldfun") and later The Zooniverse. Though the episodes would invariably begin and end in the zoo, the action would tend to leave the zoo for more bizarre realms, such as the arctic tundra and limbo. The second series had an even looser setting, based in a flat in Dalston. Fielding and Barratt are currently working on a third series which will be set in a shop.
Series one has now aired on SBS Australia, BBC America, and Danish DR 2. Series 2 has just finished airing in Australia on SBS.
The Mighty Boosh is a comic fantasy with many non-sequiturs and pop-culture references. Episodes often feature elaborate musical numbers in a variety of genres, including electro (or new romantic music), heavy metal, funk, and rap, as well as many shorter songs. Julian Barratt writes the music and sings the psychedelic theme song, and Noel Fielding often sings the series' music. Fielding also designs many of the show's graphics. The TV series has many animated sequences, puppets, and obviously cheap but impressive special effects. Fielding and Barratt play many of the supporting characters themselves, usually disguised on TV with elaborate makeup; Rich Fulcher takes on many of the other roles in the first TV series but fewer in the second.
The dialogue is scripted but features some improvisation. In series one the TV show opens and often closes with Vince and Howard addressing the audience in front of a curtain; the viewer is led to believe that Howard and Vince wrote the show themselves. The second series departs from this format, instead starting in front of the characters' flat. Unlike the radio series, which is played as though "real", the characters on the TV series all seem aware that they are in a TV show, and Vince especially will often break the fourth wall to address the audience and comment on the action.
Little attention is paid to continuity; for instance, in the first episode of the radio series, Bob Fossil is forced to give up being boss of the zoo and renamed it "Howard Moon's Fun World", yet by the second episode, Jungle, he is back in charge.
Though the various forms of The Mighty Boosh have many recurring characters, the "central cast" consists of five characters:
Howard Moon (Julian Barratt) is one of the two main characters of The Mighty Boosh. He is irritable and uptight; and claims to be a professional in music, acting, poetry, novel writing, and photography. Although confident in his ability, he is usually shown to be defective in these pursuits.
Vince Noir (Noel Fielding) is the other main character. Unlike Howard he is laid back, well-loved by the rest of the characters and takes a lot of time, effort and pride in his appearance. His favourite feature clearly being his hair, he is also very fashionable.
Bob Fossil (Rich Fulcher ) is the ill-tempered, eccentric owner of Bob Fossil's Funworld in the radio series and head-zookeeper of The Zooniverse in the television series (with Dixon Bainbridge as the owner). He gives the appearance of being in love with Bainbridge. He does not know any of the correct names of the animals and refers to them by obscure referential statements. For example, a bear (which Fossil regards as a latin term) is called the "Russian carpet guy" and a snake as a "windy man" or " long mover".
Bollo (Peter Elliott for television series 1, Dave Brown for television series 2 and the radio series) is a gorilla who leaves the zoo to become a DJ and live in a flat with Howard, Vince and Naboo. He is Naboo's incompetent familiar; although he predicts trouble, he rarely gets anything else right. In one episode bollo dies but comes back in the next one.
Naboo (Michael Fielding) is a shaman who works Zooniverse's kiosk. He lives with Howard, Vince and Bollo in a flat in London, though he is originally from the planet Xooberon. He was sent from his home planet to Earth to protect an amulet from theft; however, he was only sent because he was mistaken for the planet's greatest warrior, Bannoo. He is a shaman and throughout the first and second series uses his magic powers, often to get Howard and Vince out of trouble.
* Vince and Howard make little effort to hide that The Mighty Boosh is a production with budget constraints (though the budget itself is not negligible). For example, in Bollo, when Howard is supposedly haunting Vince from beyond the grave:
Vince: Are you really a ghost? That is genius... [pokes Howard roughly in the chest]
Howard: What are you doing?
Vince: Sorry, I thought I could put my hand through you.
Howard: No, we spent all the budget on your hair, remember?
Vince: Sorry about that. [leering at camera] It is looking good though.
* Much of the artwork created by Noel Fielding for the series features Polo mints in some form or another. For example, in the opening title sequence, the logo is displayed amidst a field of swirling polos in the background. Also, in Bollo, the Ape of Death and his minions appear to be wearing large polos as part of their outfits. The Hitcher, a comically evil large thumbed, dagger-wielding, Cockney antagonist to the main characters, is also portrayed with a polo for his left eye. In Electro Vince wears a pair of black underwear covered in polos over his trousers while performing in his new band.
* Both Vince and Howard are shown to have very distinct musical tastes. Howard takes pride in being a multi-instrumentalist with a passion for jazz since his youth. This is in contrast to Vince's taste for more contemporary, yet pre-1990's genres such as electronic or rock-based music, particularly Gary Numan. He is supposed to have converted many of the animals into fans of this artist. Youth subcultures associated with these styles of music are also touched upon, with the two leading characters often trying to cast themselves into certain stereotypes (goth, mod, rocker, et cetera), sometimes to attract members of the opposite sex.
* Mrs. Gideon (played by Victoria Wicks) is the centre of Howard's failing love life. However hard he tries, Vince always seems to get far more attention and recognition than him. This comes to a climax when, after returning Mrs. Gideon's prize python, Tony, she cannot remember Howard's name, despite his having worked there for "10 years". Vince has to hold up a giant placard with "HOWARD" scrawled on it to aid her memory. This theme is confined to the first series.
* The show has had a few particularly memorable moments when inanimate objects in a scene have been replaced by a person dressed as the object, personifying it. A character tells the others to "gather round" so he can inform them of something, and all characters will lean in, including a prop from the scene, now replaced by an actor dressed to resemble the prop. The 'prop' is then told to go away again. The line heard runs similar to "Gather round everyone... Not you, naan bread." Though used infrequently, trademark gags like these can increase the show's cult following.
* Vince has sometimes helped a supporting character in some way or another and as a show of their thanks they give him a horn to blow in case he is in danger. When he uses the horn, they are preoccupied in an odd manner. For example, "Sandstorm" in the series 2 episode The Fountain of Youth, is seen masturbating to pictures of DIY catalogues when Vince sounds his horn. In the series 1 episode The Hitcher, Bryan Ferry cannot hear the horn over his hoovering.
* Vince is often mistaken for a woman due to his somewhat androgynous appearance. Dixon refers to the pair as "Howard Moon and his ugly girlfriend" and Kodiak Jack refers to Vince as a "young, nubile princess", while the Ape of Death believes Vince is Howard's wife.
* Howard is often mistaken for Vince's father. In the live stage show, Vince opens a fan-letter that reads "Dear Vince, I think you are so amazing and brilliant, and your hair is so big and tall and nice and I really like you. The only thing is, is why do have to have your dad in the show?" Also, in the The Fountain of Youth, a clip shows Vince and Howard as children in school, but Vince appears to be 10 years old and Howard still looks around 40. Another boy asks Vince "Is that your dad?", to which Howard angrily replies "We're the same age!".
* Whenever faced with life-threatening danger, Howard often says "Don't kill me, I've got so much to give!". Face with similar danger, characters played by Rich Fulcher often say "A little to the left!"
* Vince's friend Leroy is often mentioned, but never actually seen. In Electro, he and Vince have a GlamFolk band, but both are in such thick makeup, Leroy can't be seen. In Mutants, he takes Howard's light blue trousers and Howard walks off to remonstrate, but again he is not seen by the audience.
With Thanks And Deep Pitty To Wikipedia