"Look at my glove, I think I'm in love with my medieval gauntlet. I'm happy to say that today all day I'll stride around the flat and flaunt it." sings (yes, SINGS) Vic Reeves as he comes down the stairs wearing, you guessed it, a medieval gauntlet.
He then throws it at Bob Mortimer's graduation picture, and of course gets it stuck there. Cue Bob's entrance, "Look at that prick, he makes me sick, he's filled my house with garbage. It's time that he went and left me in peace, and took his shitty gauntlet with him.", he sings. Then there's the bit where Vic Reeves forgets how to sit down on a sofa. No, really, that happens. It's a very brave opening for a new sitcom, and if this was any other sitcom I'd probably be slating it but the fact that it's Vic & Bob makes it work. If you were a fan of their madcap comedy on Shooting Stars, then you're going to love House of Fools.
So just how wacky and out there is House of Fools? Well, the answer is - very. Aside from the singing, which seems to be the only way a character can enter a scene in House of Fools, these aren't your normal sitcom characters.
Within the first opening couple of minutes Bob alerts us to Vic's "...constant confusion between toilet rolls and curtains." to which Vic responds by slapping his forehead. Behaviour you'd associate more with a child than a fully grown child. Then there's the story of Vic eating his dinner in the bath "...with wine and candles and a sausage swam away from the plate, drifted off. I reached out and grabbed it, knocked in the wine, knocked in the candles. KABOOM!" the place was on fire. And that's pretty much the tone for the rest of the series. Loud, ridiculous and a quitter reminiscent of the nineties sitcom Bottom, starring another madcap couple Ade Edmondson and Rik Mayall.
House of Fools is set in Bob's home. Bob, played by Bob Mortimer, is never alone in the house though as he has a constant stream of colourful characters including uninvited lodgers, visitors and guests.They regularly smash up his home, fill it with garbage, hold impromptu marries and basically ignore any rule Bob may have in place.
So from ruining his chances of winning the coveted award for 'Wig Wearer of the Year' to putting his life at risk by inviting a crazed-Norwegian-trawler-woman over for his birthday, people never leave him in peace.
So who are these crazy characters in Bob's life? Well let's start off with Vic, played by (you guessed it) Vic Reeves, is a long term and mostly unwanted guest in Bob’s house, always treating the place like his own, with little regard for Bob’s wishes. He is responsible for almost all the mishaps that happen.
Oh and there's one more thing you should know about Vic, and that's that he is seriously attracted to their nymphomaniac neighbour, Julie, who is obsessed with playing ‘sex’ with Vic and constantly snapping photos of his groin.
Julie is played by Morgana Robinson, best known for her excellent impressions. Julie lives in her own fantasy world, she is both overtly sexual and largely insane - so a handful. She does however bring Vic and Bob into her imaginary worlds, making them play ludicrous games. You can spot the fear in Vic and Bob's faces every time she pops over.
Unfortunately for Vic and Bob though, as their next door neighbour, there is no way the boys are getting away from her anytime soon. Her oddities don't stop there thought. She also has an imaginary friend called Martin, and us a successful erotic fiction writer.
Then there's Beef, played by the fantastic Matt Berry (Toast of London). The first time we meet Beef is of course in song - "My name is Beef. I'm a hot loving beast, and I live next door to these two. I travel this land, removing my pants, while making love to African ladies."
That song pretty much sums him up. He's a highly sexual, flamboyant and rather confident friend of Vic and Bob. To mask his stupidity (because believe me, he's very stupid) he has a self-assurance that makes him jump willingly into any action - except for when there's a female around, at which point his mind is only focussed on one thing.
Erik, played by Daniel Simonsen, is Bob's Norwegian (yes you read that right) wife. Not happy living at Bob's house, Erik takes it upon himself to make Bob's life a misery, by ignoring him, mocking him, berating him and much to Bob's annoyance, idolising Vic.
And finally, Dan Skinner (Angelos Epithemiou in Shooting Stars), plays Bosh, Vic's younger brother, in House of Fools. Living in Bob's house uninvited, Bosh fails to give in to Bob's many attempts to get him to leave. Deep down though he does love Vic, but definitely not Bob. I'm not even sure Bosh knows he exists.
In episode one, Bob has a hot date lined-up, but wants to be home alone so that they can watch Conan the Barbarian in peace and quiet. This of course means getting rid of all his unwanted guests, which you can probably imagine is not that easy to achieve.
Oh and there's another problem too, Vic's broken the telly so Bob sets him the task of finding another one in time for his date. The lengths he goes to to get a telly are absurd and totally unrealistic but in the world of House of Fools it's clear that anything goes, so as a viewer you just have to forget about what's realistic and what's not and enjoy half an hour filled with good ol' fashioned mad-cap comedy. As well as episode one, I've also seen the second episode which is brilliant and centres around Julie's prize pork pie.
I'm expecting the series to be well received as there's a lot of love out there for Vic & Bob, with many still petitioning for the BBC to bring back Shooting Stars, which if you're wondering I 100% think they should.
Despite being a brand new sitcom there's something quite nostalgic about seeing Vic & Bob working together again and the sitcom itself works well in 2014, but would not have been out of place in the nineties alongside other sitcoms like the aforementioned Bottom.