18 September 2016 | GertrudeStern
Noises are Difficult to Describe & Other Truths
I don't generally like sketch comedy, but I consider myself a pretty big fan of this duo. I've even seen the one where they're magicians. When I finished this series, I had that feeling you get when you finish a good book: "if only i could see it again, in the way it once was, unknown to me..." I'd rank this above That Mitchell and Webb Look and slightly, very slightly below Peep Show.
I mean this in all seriousness: as great as laugh tracks can be, and as satisfyingly silly as they are on That Mitchell and Webb Look, The Mitchell and Webb Situation is made so perfect without the addition of laughter. The absence of laugh track means the show doesn't tell you when to laugh, justly serving its awkward scenes, which cycle through half of the logical fallacies into the depths of absurdity. Its absence leads the viewer, sans instruction manual, into the more jarring tiers of comedy in which Mitchell and Webb occasionally find themselves splashing or wallowing around.
As opposed to Look, which has multiple recurrent jokes and sketches, Situation has only one (that I observed) running across the full season, and it's totally funny. Mitchell and Webb, in a regular apartment sporting plain clothes, throw around ideas for things that already exist in the world, as if they were gods or billionaires or both. In one episode, they bicker as makers of the human race -- arguing for or against the merits of creating inversely shaped sexual genitalia for the purpose of "stacking people" when needed. In another, Webb articulates just what makes a hanging garden more splendid than other gardens, and pushes for the construction of one. A tiff about the value of building a pyramid vs. a colossus, based solely on the practical architectural pluses of each, ensues.
This is great for bedtime. It's funny and reflective and will make you only a little bit grouchy about the state of things. Then you'll just return to softly smiling, chuckling or flat out laughing.