The Sam Smith Effect.

He’s back. My nemesis. As if ‘The Graham Norton Show’ wasn’t already in a steep decline they had to go one worse and bring out Sam Smith again, to give us his version of what being eternally conflicted must sound like. I don’t have any problem with Norton himself, though his weekly starter of a few limp jokes at the expense of Donald Trump is getting rather tiresome; we all know Trump is a cock but unless anyone has some brilliant idea to get rid of him we may as well find a new target. Personally I find Sam Smith a much more annoying creature, he just seems to mope about and only really brightens up when people tell him how great he is. Be careful, Sam, if it was me saying that I’d be lying.

To be honest Smith (or they/them, as they/them is known to some) was just the final rusty nail in a very unfit for purpose entertainment coffin last night. Not only did Norton seem a bit off he was joined by very nice man Justin Timberlake, who sadly displayed all the charisma of a split lentil. At one point he was telling a story about being bombarded with piss at a concert and he couldn’t even make that sound interesting. I’m no Jackanory legend but even I could have made that more worth listening too. I actually thought at one point that my ears and eyes might stop working as some kind of biological protest. Anyway, it seemed a shame because I rather like Timberlake. Perhaps he was having an off night too.

One magnolia guest on that sofa is the absolute limit, another is just too much; but they went ahead and did it anyway. I have no issue with Anna Kendrick and in fairness she wasn’t too bad, but next to her was Oti Mabuse, the clearly very excitable ‘Strictly’ judge. She has a very considerable “look at me” thing going on and she clearly has far too much energy for my kind of liking. At times, in fact almost all the time, she threw out limp anecdotes about limp nothings at such a furious word rate and pitch (for instance – as if she were being simultaneously electrocuted) that I could barely understand a thing she was trying to say. I mean, I know I wasn’t missing much but I would have preferred to at least have heard it so I could be sure.

Some sweet relief was provided by Alan Carr, who can always be relied on for cheer and giggles but even the buoyancy he was able to offer could not withstand the gale force squall of misery, self-loathing and self-pity that is the Sam Smith social hand grenade. He was wearing what might be remembered soon as quite possibly the least flattering, or stylish, outfit ever on a guest show: clunky heeled shoes which leaned far more towards orthopaedic than glamorous; some tugged up, flared grandpa slacks; a tepid sequined blousy thing, which didn’t do any favours for his/her-they/them’s boobs (or thoobs?) and a half-hearted attempt at makeup, just to accentuate his confusion. Sam Smith didn’t get to choose his face but Sam Smith does get to choose what happens to it.

The song was the usual crap; barely intelligible whining (with his ubiquitous, impact free, go-to gospel back up) and the repeated envoi of “I just want somebody to die for”. I would never, ever wish Sam Smith dead but if he’s serious then I have no issues with letting me be that somebody. Just if it will help. He then clumbered over and sat, looking like a cut price Miranda with her hair cropped, and did a very good impression of being the most irrelevant person on a sofa with, at least that night, several other hot contenders. Pointless TV must improve, or it must be sent away for repair. We can then see if we miss it. I doubt I will, but I hope ‘The Graham Norton Show’ finds a way back from the afterlife, because it’s become not far short of a waste of time. At least it brought its own coffin.

G B Hewitt. 15.02.2020

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