STUDIO: BBC Warner
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 1475 minutes
• Episode Commentaries
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The worst talk show host in England ruins Christmas and gets fired.
Steve Coogan and others
The Alan Partridge trilogy is pretty genius in hindsight. When you’re first introduced to Partridge, it’s easy to write him off as the start of another Coogan loser character. Then, you get to see the mental underpinnings of this failing television star. He’s an attention whore that’s one bad day away from killing someone one live on the air. When he eventually does that and other acts of violence, he’s thrust into what should be the lowest point of his life. Where does a loser go when they’re in the gutter? They sink further and Coogan invites us all to watch.
Knowing Me, Knowing Yule with Alan Partridge was a one-off special that serves as the critical second leg of the Alan Partridge Trilogy. Essentially, it’s all setup for the later Partridge series. As long as we see Partridge getting fired from the BBC and making a bigger ass of himself, that’s all it needs to do. What’s more amazing is how Coogan and Iannucci walk us through Partridge’s collapse. American Television has rarely if ever offered up a comedic figure this depressing. So, I hope that my British compatriots can forgive me for wallowing in it.
I’m Alan Partridge sets up the hopefully final days of Alan Partridge. He’s been kicked out of the BBC high-life in London and back to his old hometown. Partridge works on a rather crappy talk radio show. He lives out of a hotel, where he seems to have a habit of ordering ladyboy porn. If that wasn’t enough, he keeps having these awkward dreams of giving his former boss a lapdance.
When the second series starts, Partridge has dishonored the dead and committed a few minor crimes. He’s getting his celebrity status back and the world is starting to make sense. Well, that is until Partridge gets a reality check that he promptly ignores. What I don’t get is why Coogan and Iannucci view it as the lesser Partridge offering. Watching Partridge take his early advances to build a mansion leads to so many funny moments. He’s a nouveau-riche prick that’s living on borrowed time and money.
Steve Coogan has perfected the role of his lifetime with Partridge. From the Ukranian girlfriend, from the sad life at the hotel, to the daydreams and to the ego of this pompous ass…we have seen the fully realized asshole. It’s hard to explain why this is so entertaining, but there’s an entertainment factor to this creation. Alan Partridge exists as this mirror to a kind of personality that only seems to thrive in the Western World. The self-important asshole that latches onto power to anchor a piss-poor personality to a world that really wants nothing to do with it.
The final montage of Partridge’s book getting pulped says so much about the man. If the Alan Partridge film never happens, I’ll be thrilled. That image of Partridge’s last hope getting dashed against the rocks says so much. No matter what he can still or cheat his way to obtaining, Partridge’s best efforts will always be rejected. While watching the pulping, I kept having flashbacks to the shooting in the first Partridge series. The break from protocol, as Partridge freaks out is how I want to remember this character and ultimately Coogan himself. It takes major stones to be an asshole.
package comes with commentaries, outtakes and related material. Again, the commentaries don’t really paint that broad of a picture. When the creators actually talk about the show, it’s more in personal relations. No one tries to show how Partridge developed or help to explain the importance of the Christmas Special. Also, the A/V Quality seems to be really off on a lot of the early I’m Alan Partridge episodes. I’m not sure if it’s a PAL to NTSC issue, but it sticks out like a sore thumb.