I’m watching season one of The Mighty Boosh. Our two heroes are Harold Moon and Vince Noir. They work in a Zoo. The show doesn’t really make sense, but it makes more sense if you know that the original idea of the two comedians who made it was to become the new Goodies, and that they “both had fathers who loved Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart, and who encouraged their sons to avoid getting proper jobs.”
But what appeals to me about the show so far doesn’t have much to do with this. I never really liked The Goodies (well, I did a bit, but thought other shows were funnier), and I have always sort of detested Zappa and Beefheart. What I love about the two main characters are that they are really little boys who haven’t had their sense of wonder and imagination pummelled out of them. Quite often when Harold and Vince are about to die they reflect on the good times they have had together:
Vince Noir: Howard? You think it’s going to be alright?
Howard Moon: No. We’re gonna die in the most horrific way known to man.
Vince Noir: [smiling] Had some good times, though, didn’t we?
Howard Moon: Yeah…
Vince Noir: Huh… yeah…
Howard Moon: [wistfully] Remember the time we had that soup?
Vince Noir: That was brilliant.
[they start singing]
Howard Moon, Vince Noir: Soup! Soup! A tasty… Soup! Soup! A spicy, carrot and coriander…
Vince Noir: …chilli chowder!
Howard Moon, Vince Noir: Crouton! Crouton! Crunchy friends in a liquid broth.
I am gazpachio… OH! I am a summer soup… Mm! Miso! Miso! Fighting in the dojo. Miso! Miso! Oriental prince in the land of soup!
[they stop singing]
Vince Noir: Classic times.
Howard Moon: [shaking his head] Crazy days…
Most of these songs are accompanied by an elaborate sequence of hand gestures and dance moves. It’s absurd, but it’s also rather sweet, and suggests a long friendship and many adventures together. Or should that be japes. Jolly japes. In The Mighty Boosh it feels more like we are escaping into a world of absurd B-grade boys own adventures (with rubbish special effects) than into the surreal adult world of Dali, and I was quite chuffed when I found an article where Vince more or less says the same thing:
[Vince] insists it’s more fitting to refer to the influence of children’s books: particularly Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are and Raggety, the spiky, scary forest creature made out of sticks who encounters Rupert Bear.
I read Rupert Bear books when I was a kid and loved them. For awhile I think they were locked in the “WE ARE ASHAMED” cupboard of libraries along with the Noddy books. Noddy was put there because of his unhealthy relationship with Big Ears, Rupert for fighting with Golliwogs.
I think we might need to go and look at Sendak next.
Howard Moon: Just imagine the headlines ‘Howard Moon, Colon, Explorer’. Got a ring to that don’t it?
Vince Noir: Colon Explorer?
Howard Moon: You know what I saying.
Vince Noir: I think that’s got the wrong ring to it.