Tonight’s episode of Moone Boy, Radio Times’s Comedy of the Week, is the show’s nuttiest – and therefore funniest – yet.
Young daydreamer Martin Moone (David Rawle) and his schoolfriend Padraic (Ian O’Reilly) have set sail in a home-made raft. Along for the ride are Martin’s imaginary friend Sean (Chris O’ Dowd) and Padraic’s imaginary friend Crunchie Haystacks (Johnny Vegas). Stay with me. And from very much out of left field comes the Moone Boy take on Enya’s Orinoco Flow.
By way of explanation, creator, co-writer and co-star O’Dowd says, “That big Enya bit wasn’t even in the script, but when we were shooting it out on the water on the day I realised it would be very funny to try and make a music video. The kids hadn’t heard of Enya. It was me with my iPhone out, showing them Enya and Nessun Dorma. They had to learn the words, it was so bizarre.”
It’s a typically surreal skit, but cut-and-paste visuals and hit-and-hope vocal harmonies elevate it to comedy-classic status.
Music is a key weapon in the sitcom’s comedy arsenal, and not just in its raucous theme by the Sultans of Ping FC (“Where’s me jumper? Where’s me jumper? Where’s…” etc) or cheese-tastic intro (Tico’s Tune by Manuel and the Music of the Mountains, since you’ve kindly asked). But the integration of contemporary hits is especially witty tonight.
The throwbacks to 80s and 90s culture are never predictable (the slow-motion entrance of incense-wafting altar boys, Mafia-style, to U Can’t Touch This by MC Hammer, was one genius highlight of series one).
For the uninitiated, Moone Boy is semi-autobiographical (very “semi”, I suspect), so Martin represents a 12-year-old version of Chris O’Dowd. But why are Martin and mentor-figure Sean in matching boiler suits with cereal packets on their backs? Trust me, it all makes complete sense. Sort of…