The Goes Wrong Show: Episodes 1-6
September 27, 2022 4:43 AM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

The Goes Wrong Show, a British farce TV show (JustWatch to advise on streaming options; watch the first season free in the US on Tubi), is a spinoff of the live theater production The Play That Goes Wrong. Both the live show and the TV show depict an ambitious theatrical troupe trying valiantly to get through live performances of plays-within-a-play, despite all manner of mishap -- props and sets that fall apart, musical cues gone wrong, pratfalls, and whatnot.

The Season 1 episodes as shown on Tubi, and the genres attempted:

The Lodge (horror)
The Pilot Not The Pilot (WWII)
A Trial To Watch (legal)
90 Degrees (US Southern)
Harper's Locket (romance)
The Spirit of Christmas (eponymous)
posted by brainwane (6 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
[copying and expanding on what I said on my blog]

A good farce is such a delight, like a magic trick or an elegant piece of music (or an arbitrage that doesn't hurt anyone). I absolutely love it when artists surprise me by combining pieces that were already right in front of me, such that immediately after the surprise I think "well of course that's what had to happen." And farces with physical elements require so much precise preparation so that slips, cracks, falls, etc. will all "go wrong" in precisely the right ways, on cue. I love laughing with admiration.

The Goes Wrong Show and The Play That Goes Wrong explore so many ways to go wrong, as though systematically cleaning out the problem space. I particularly appreciate when an explosive effect accidentally goes off many minutes before it's meant to, a neat inversion of the axiom of Chekhov's gun on the mantelpiece.

And there's no villain. The Show Must Go On and every character is trying to keep it going. The conflict is "us vs. nature/fate" like in a disaster movie. This is particularly pronounced when actors have to make up for a missing prop by miming. As my spouse said: it's all make-believe anyway, so why not one more? These actors are planning on doing a scripted play and yet frequently have to resort to improv, as in the moment in the Christmas special where Max picks up a turkey, and to the question "Is that the [tree-topping] Christmas star?" looks into his peer's eyes and, with great sincerity, says, "Yes." There is a nearly indomitable spirit of perseverance in these characters, and it's really neat that the show both encourages me to root for them yet also feel fine about laughing at their disasters.

My favorite of these episodes is probably "A Trial to Watch," partly because of the genius of the sets, and because Chris repeating "living room" over and over was inexpressibly funny to me. My spouse's favorite was "90 Degrees" for the struggle with the set, and the dog.
posted by brainwane at 4:50 AM on September 27, 2022 [2 favorites]

I love all of these! Each is absurd in its own way; I'm so impressed that they manage not to repeat styles or jokes, while still maintaining running gags in their personae as the Cornley Drama Society (e.g. Max is a benign idiot/Bertie Wooster type, Chris Bean the DIRECTOR, Dennis' complete inability to remember a line)

I recently saw The Play that Goes Wrong at my local rep theatre; haven't laughed that hard since ... well, pre-covid, probably.

It looks like Season 2 is on YouTube/Tubi as well -- I know what I'm going to be doing this weekend!
posted by basalganglia at 8:00 AM on September 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

Glad to talk with another fan!! YES re: the consistent personas and the fresh jokes/styles.

While watching the nativity Christmas special I realized that, when he's smiling through gritted teeth, Chris Bean is like the Kermit of this particular Muppet Show.
posted by brainwane at 8:38 AM on September 27, 2022

What a great find. I just finished A Trial To Watch, my favorite so far. I loved the flashback scenes--always the same dialog and action with a slightly, ok, completely different set.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:40 PM on September 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

We watch Peter Pan goes Wrong regularly. I believe it's on IMDB tv and is amazing. Both seasons of this are great too.

I would love to find a filmed version of the Play that goes wrong, or at least buy tickets to a Seattle show. My son thinks they are hilarious.
posted by Lord_Pall at 12:01 PM on September 28, 2022

The clips on the BBC website include 74 seconds from "90 Degrees" and it's great.

Lord_Pall, here's a 10-minute clip from the beginning of The Play That Goes Wrong as performed at The Royal Variety Performance 2015.

I just posted season 2.
posted by brainwane at 9:16 AM on October 13, 2022

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