The Could Be News (2018 YouTube series) review…

It Could Be Punny… After the Break…

The Could Be News (2018 YouTube series) review…

A puppet named Nigel Frost delivers a pun-filled news broadcast in “The Could Be News,” a 2018 Youtube series.

Long before the year 2016 gave us the term “fake news,” comedic news broadcasts had hit the airwaves. From Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” (best known as “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”) to HBO’s “Not Necessarily the News” & Saturday Night Live’s news segment “Weekend Update,” mocking the nightly news format and, for that matter, the entire news industry has been standard fare for comedy.

A new 2018 YouTube series called “The Could Be News” attempts to continue the tradition of mocking the news and the industry that surrounds it by adding puppetry to the humor. The series is produced by a company called “The Puppet Creation Lab” and, as of this writing, there are 6 episodes of the series.

In the series, a bespeckled, light-blue humanoid puppet named “Nigel Frost” delivers a news broadcast, complete with an authentic opening show scene and production-grade news visuals. The puppet speaks with an English accent but it’s not for show; The production appears to originate from England. There are a few hints of it’s origin; For instance, the use of the word “sport” instead of “sports.”

Nigel is not alone with delivering the news; Co-anchoring the news is, literally, an anchor-shaped puppet. In this comedy duo, Nigel plays the straight man but is more than capable of delivering humorous lines himself.

Each episode is 90 to 120 seconds long including the introduction which doesn’t give the episode a lot of time to deliver it’s humor. It’s humor is often in the form of quick, one-off puns that don’t necessarily compound upon each other as there’s no time to deliver any form of deeper humor. For instance, a

quick segment concerning an out-of-control automobile accidentally colliding with a sausage factory is said to have taken a “turn for the wurst” (get it? get it?). If witty puns like those make your cringe then turn the channel and don’t look back.

A lot of the humor is smirk-worthy but some of it may be lost in translation; For instance, a segment for “sport” is anything but (it’s a short clip of something completely unrelated to the world of sports) and while the effort is appreciated, the humor in that segment remains a mystery to me.

At around 2 minutes per episode, the episodes never outstay their welcome; They’re over before they’ve hardly even began. While a lot of humorous shows are often too long for their humor content to maintain them, “The Could Be News” might benefit from running a bit longer so that the jokes could be more then simply one-off puns.

The puppetry in the series is perfectly adequate along with the production values; The lighting, puppets & sound are all completely adequate and nothing seems substandard.

Yet, one of the weak links in this series is the anchor-shaped puppet. In puppetry (and all other forms of art), consistency promotes immersion; You want all of your props and puppets to have the same style and look to them. The anchor-shaped puppet doesn’t mesh well visually with Nigel Frost (an otherwise

normal humanoid puppet) and this breaks the immersion of the entire premise. A redesign of the puppet might be beneficial for the series.

At only 6 episodes and each episode being fairly short at that, “The Could Be News” is not a bad series. Each episode could be extended slightly (even up to five minutes) from their normal length of 1 to 2 minutes to allow for not only more humor but different types of humor that depend upon some build-up. The anchor-shaped puppet, despite being well-made and adequately performed, simply doesn’t mesh well with the rest of the series aesthetic.

In the end, it’s hard not to like “The Could Be News”; It’s well-made, the humor is at least smirk-worthy (puns are rarely “laugh out loud” or even “laugh”-caliber) and it attempts to inhabit the ‘forbidden zone’ of puppetry (between the realms of “cutesy adorable for the toddlers” and “grotesque and obscene for the college crowd”) that most puppet efforts attempt to avoid. A few tweaks (such as the anchor-shaped puppet and the length of each episode) might be enough for Nigel Frost to compete shoulder-to-shoulder with it’s more esteemed and well-known predecessors in the “mock news” department. Let’s hope this series doesn’t take a turn for the wurst.

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