Ewan Gleadow

TV Review: Spitting Image – Episode 10

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Copyright: BritBox

I don’t have time to watch the news anymore, so now I just rely on the twenty minutes of drivel Spitting Image pours into my ear. Its thick, grey, gravy-like paste oozes with such tepid fascination, and over two months into the reboots running, they’ve yet to find their footing. When watching this, it often takes only a few short moments to know we’re in for a dismal affair. Spitting Image may not be breaking ratings records, but it surely becomes a contender for quickest shoddy joke of all time. A harsh thirteen seconds into the show and we’ve already had our first blunder, a clear mock-up of Baby Yoda from The Mandalorian begins the episode, but painted yellow to avoid copyright issues with Disney. 

The rest of the episode, as you’ve surely predicted, fares no better. Most surprising of all, honestly, is that the best sketch is the first one to be shown. A quickfire moment of jabbing at the Priti Patel bullying scandal, one that doesn’t quite manage to capture the controversy and quick-wittedness that the classic series of the show would have brought, but it shows a few shades of passion. Spiralling from there with Donald Trump being attacked by a turkey and then some bland interaction between Harry Styles and Brad Pitt.  

Joe Biden’s puppet is looking good, and it was during this sketch that I realised one of the many key problems with the show so far. The puppets look too sleek and styled. One of the charms the original Spitting Image had was that they blurred the line between recognisable figures of politics and entertainment with ghastly, haunted looks. Just look up the war-mongering fear of Michael Heseltine’s puppet, with manic and bloodshot eyes. Compared with the modern invention, it feels stripped back to its basics. Understandably, it’ll take time to develop such unique charms for the characters, but to put it bluntly, the writing isn’t strong to do anything close to that. Keir Starmer as Foxman still doesn’t make a lick of sense, which would be forgivable if it were funny. 

The tenth episode marks their move into double digits, yet their articulate and humorous sketches still toil in the singles. Another disaster, another week ruined. At least there’s a Christmas link to this episode, so I can check a mundane box that brings festive cheer in timely holiday fashion. But there is light at the end of the tunnel, a Christmas miracle if you will. We’ve come to the end of Spitting Image, at least, for now. I suppose we’ll see another season soon; those puppets don’t pay for themselves.