Come With Me Now
The past month or so I’ve been spending lunches, dinners, and sleepless nights re-watching The Mighty Boosh. I was a huge fan when the show was happening in 2008. Then they stopped after season 3. They moved on. I moved on. It was amicable. I’ve been drawn back in, needing an injection of absurdity. I also decided that for scientific purposes I would form a best to worst list - So good luck.
The only thing you need to know about the show is that Howard Moon (Julian Barratt) and Vince Noir (Noel Fielding) are unlikely friends, but what each lack the other makes up for and therefore the relationship works. There are a random assortment of characters: Naboo, a shaman; Bollo, a gorilla and Naboo’s familiar; Bob Fossil, a creepo and inept zookeeper; The Hitcher, a green cockney monster; a crack fox…you get the idea … it’s fucking weird. It’s wonderful. Even with older eyes it worked and it’s sense of play made me genuinely feel good for those 30 minutes.
All the episodes are pretty good…but this is my list from favorite to least favorite - there will probably be disagreement, but
1. “The Nightmare of Milky Joe”
By far, hands down, no doubt, my favorite. They make something as boring and hackneyed as getting stranded on a deserted island make it completely different and exciting. The lines between reality and fantasy are phenomenally blurred, as it’s one of the few episodes that slowly unpacks itself - usually characters appear and swallow the narrative. This plot slowly unfurls. They force savoring onto you. And I like it very much.
Oh, if I were that coconut…
Everything works - the plot about summoning a demon Nana, the punk jam, their nana disguises. Rich Fulcher as the bingo caller is especially clutch…some of my favorite calls:
"62. Avian Flu. 62"
"Two bloody stumps. Number 11"
"The age I lost my virginity. Number 43."
"Good people are dicks. Number 46"
"mmmmmmmmmmmmhm. Number 84"
It’s also an interesting foray into representing gender performance as Howard and Vince both try to impress goth girls with their brooding, dark masculinity. They also perform old lady realness while trying to hunt down Nana.
I don’t know if this is fact, but I’m going to bet I’m one of the few people who love this episode. There are few shenanigans and little wackiness. It’s a pretty straightforward episode. I do like that it’s an episode about Vince and Howard’s friendship - and coming to terms with the fact that they are in love with each other. They go back and forth on it, but we in the audience know it’s true. Plus, one of my favorite bits from the series occurs during this episode - one of the many Fleetwood Mac references:
When the list was initially sorted, this was #7. On the second run, I realized I was being harsh. This episode is incredibly solid, probably because it was taken from their stage show and was the basis of the pilot. It rolls so easily. I’m not going to bullshit you, I have a mondo crush on Matt Berry so the amount of Bainbridge in this episode helps. It’s a perfect balance of gags, tricks, and adventure.
5. "The (Power of the) Crimp
I’m a sucker for friendship and this episode is saturated with it. Crimps are a type of stream of consciousness poetry that Howard and Vince do in private - when it becomes co-opted by copycats, they throwdown in a crimp off. There’s something incredibly sweet about crimping being something they do at night in their bedrooms before they go to sleep and their desperation to maintain crimping as their thing.
There’s also a really great Lynchian vibe to this episode
They sing about eels in your butt. I don’t know what more you want from me. Also, Eleanor…one of the best additions to the series. Quite frankly, there was not enough of her.
7. "The Strange Tale of the Crack Fox"
The boys come up with weird characters, but I think the Crack Fox is one of their weirdest and best. He refers to condoms as his squishy boots and under his breath says the most frightening threats. The ending seems rushed, but I don’t know what else you could do with this guy.
8. "The Legend of Old Greg"
I’m sure somebody will be like “BITCH, this should be higher. He’s Old GREGG!” Fuck that and quite honestly for shame on you. I love a quotable, but this got to be much. A dude trying to sell me satellite tv even brought it up. Thanks, but no thanks. Don’t get me wrong, I am delighted by it’s weirdness, “Love Games” is probably one of their best songs, and the story about Bootsy Collins is B.A. I just don’t think it holds up as well as the others.
As I said…thanks, but no thanks. Put it away.
Two things: I’m partial to the idea that Vince dresses up as a panda to try spice things up between a panda couple, but gets into it a little too hard. The second is Bainbridge. Sorry. It’s just that damn potent.
I think it’s full of really solid and silly jokes, but at the same time acts on the premise that the show is not completely absurd and there is some grounding in reality. PLUS - this episode has one of my favorite jokes. PERIOD.
The older I get, the more I appreciate and flat-out LOVE Bob Fossil.
I’ve debated putting this higher. I love this episode, because it’s a showcase of weird, but it still makes sense within its context. For example, they have singer who left his job as a tennis judge to perform folk songs, but he sings in a high chair - it’s a simple joke. Stupid, even? But it just hits you in this spot. There’s also a great bit about avant garde cinema that reminds you of A) how good they are in that they can hone their weirdness for a different movement B) how fucking weird they can be - I would watch a Mighty Boosh film - pants shitting and all.
I’ve had “cheese is a kind of meat” in my head all day. It’s just a really strange episode - there’s a man with a cheese head, Oedipal riddles, and Mod Wolves. Not much else is necessary.
Spirit of jazz is not one of my favorites, but I do like Howard’s love of jazz fusion in spite of everybody’s hatred. There’s also something always special about Howard going against type, which always fails, but is also always fun. Also, “Electro Boy” is probably one of their better songs.
We’ve officially gotten to a point in the list where the episodes are just those I’m relatively indifferent about. This one is fine. I enjoy watching it, but I never remember it exists.
I like the Hitcher in “Eels” and his rap is pretty good here. Bryan Ferry is awful, which is good. I wonder if it’s a matter of stage to screen translation or just doesn’t hit me in the way it should. I also always confuse it with “Jungle” - they’re narratively and visually similar.
I like the bureaucracy of death, there are some solid jokes about Howard not having friends and there’s this great bit:
But it just seems overly familiar.
This episode is WEIRD, a little scary, but one that rarely sticks out. Even with Bainbridge. That’s borderline criminal.
18. "Journey to the Centre of the Punk"
All forms of Vince are great and the idea of the body resembles the person is pretty pretty pretty good. Noel Fielding’s various incantations of himself are perfection and fun - but it’s also like a weird Magic Schoolbus episode.
This song is pretty boss though. Probably the best punk song in 10+ years.
19. "The Priest and the Beast"
This is the only episode I actively considered skipping this time around. It could be because I’m not interested in finding a new sound, not interested in Carlos Santana like desert guitar, or octopussy dicks. Actually…I take that last one back -
Granted, despite it not being my favorite episode, it’s still better than most things.
And there it is. You’re welcome or I’m sorry. Insert whichever best applies to how you feel about this rundown