NOW TV review: Yonderland (Season 1, Episode 7)
Andrew Jones | On 17, Dec 2013
How can it be almost the end of Yonderland’s first year? Well, it is, as next week we wave goodbye to this goofy show for a while, but not before much more fun, as shown in the really, really silly seventh episode. Tying in the real world of Debbie and Yonderland’s odd citizens, we get a gem of a half hour in which Debbie has to deal with a colony of idiots, the Ninnies.
The Ninnies happily mine all day and throw out precious gems thinking rocks are valuable, while using wheelbarrows with square wheels. The one smart person who may lead them must face the sun gods before becoming leader. It turns out, though, that “facing the sun gods” means firing the smart person out of a cannon. Into the sun. So Debbie feels bad when she witnesses the smart man she chose (out of a contest of two really under-qualified applicants) meet his maker and wants to sort this system out once and for all. This, however, will involve some real patronising and making a video with her husband – not the video he was hoping for, but a showreel for his acting talents, where he plays the sun god.
The mixing of both worlds in this storyline brings forth a lot of hilarity that hasn’t been found enough in the real world antics, yet doesn’t ignore the fun and look of Yonderland. Debbie’s husband’s acting was only a small bit from an earlier episode but thankfully wasn’t forgotten, and it all plays out with a gleefully playful tone – with some surprisingly naughty jokes for the adults.
Negatus, meanwhile, is put on the back-burner. Having conned the Ninnies out of a lot of precious stones, the henchpuppets have also found a man to turn these diamonds in the rough into diamonds in the diamond sense. It’s a small story line that has a suitable finish and isn’t really integral to the bulk of the episode, but there are some nice lines and moments.
In the background, the proposing couple joke returns again and it’s starting to feel a bit played out with the death or injury of one of them. Last week, it actually fitted into the plot whereas this week it adds nothing. Having seen the build-up to the dark punch-line for weeks now, the leap to deconstructing the joke really needs to have happened this episode. Maybe next week they’ll do a big finish, but this is a missed opportunity to play with conventions and do something subtly transgressive.
This week’s Yonderland isn’t a massive adventure, but it is, like the first few episodes, an incredibly daft series of skits that sometimes calls upon the continuity of the latter half of the series. Elf’s sudden want to get a drink keeps popping up nicely, while Debbie’s dealing with idiots, more so than usual, is a lot of fun. An ending narration to tie things up pops out of nowhere, but in some instances you can let these things go, especially when given a good public library joke.
Where the entire year heads to in Yonderland’s finale is still anyone’s guess. One hopes it’ll be big – maybe they’ll play with expectations and do the proposing puppets proud – or maybe it’ll be business as usual. Judging by this week, that’s no bad thing.
Yonderland is available to stream with a NOW Entertainment Membership, which costs an introductory price of £4.99 a month with no minimum subscription length. (From 29th May 2014, this renews at £6.99 per month.)