TV Review: Jono and Ben at Ten

I must say I am quite partial to a little bit of laughter on a Friday night. I am also one of those sad mid-thirties people who, come the end of the work week, wants nothing more than a comfortable couch and some dinner (preferably cooked by someone other than me, and often with the names Mr Hell or Mr Burger Fuel…). And it wouldn’t be a couch and dinner without something entertaining to watch, and Friday night TV – on the whole, and mostly thanks to TV3 (no family bias whatsoever) – can be quite entertaining indeed.

So, it was with a little bit of trepidation that I tuned into Jono and Ben at Ten a few weeks back. I hadn’t watched it initially – mainly as I didn’t enjoy the Jono Project AT ALL, and thought this would be more of the same. But I was pleasantly surprised when I overcame my trepidation and took the plunge into the organised chaos of this show.

For those who haven’t seen it, it is hard to describe. It is kind of Jimmy Kimmel meets Eat Media Lunch meets Jackass meets 7 Days. But, despite the hodgepodge of both influences and content, it works for me. A lot comes down to the hosts – not just Jono and Ben, but also a kiwi version of the grumpy old muppet in the balcony, Guy Williams. I have been a Ben Boyce fan for a while, and tuned in to WannaBen on a regular basis (especially when he was pranking my sister ;-)). Jono Pryor I have less time for, but the patter the two have going behind the desk – and in their out of the studio stunts – is both natural and incredibly amusing at times. And for me Guy Williams can do no wrong. From his stalking of Sonny Bill Williams to his desperation to see the brother/sister team from The Block kiss, he is awkward hilarity personified.

The show also sets a cracking pace. It doesn’t dwindle too long on the in-studio banter, having many regular segments to hand off to. Some of these are better than others (Action Men is my personal favourite), but they all add something different to the show. One of the things I love, and the show could probably do more of, is the media commentary – with passing comments on recent news stories or TV ‘events’. The Block provided fodder for many an excellent laugh, with the baton now being passed to what looks to be a reliable laugh factory – ‘New Zealand’s Got Talent’. (Why must we take every overseas ‘talent show’ and make our own version??? Why I ask you, why????).

Big ups to Jono and Ben for nailing arguably the most difficult aspect of any locally produced and commercially sponsored show – the tie in of the sponsor. Sponsored by Arnott’s Shapes ‘Roadies’ – whose slogan is ‘release your inner man-child’, the pair have recruited a pair of confident kids –mini-Jono and mini-Ben – to do their celebrity interviews for them – and be their ‘Man Childs’. Brilliant. The questions these kids are asked to put to the celebs (like a pair of our gold medal rowers or last week’s Hamish Blake and Bret McKenzie) are continually amusing, and they deal well with some left field answers from some of their interviewees. And it is cute, but without being cheesy. Love it.

So all in all, I think Jono and Ben are a worthy addition to my Friday night fix, and they get a solid (as opposed to partially crumbled as they have been at the bottom of the container too long) three and a half M&Ms from me.

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