Philomena Cunk is not exactly a smart reporter or presenter. She is also not informed at all. She confuses names, believes what her friend Paul, who doesn’t believe in the existence of the moon, tells her, misunderstands many things. She is therefore the perfect person to present a five-episode documentary series on world history in which she roams the four corners of the earth asking deep questions to experts on the subject.
This is the premise of Cunk on Earthor The World by Philomena Cunkin Portuguese, the comic series in the form of a fake documentary headed by Cunk, a character who has been played since the times of Weekly Wipe by Charlie Brooker, 2013, by Diane Morgan – Brooker, who is best known worldwide for Black Mirrorbut it was also partially responsible for pearls like Nathan Barleyis here creator, executive producer and screenwriter.
The series, a sort of sequel to Cunk on Britain2018, which was preceded by a special called Cunk on Shakespeare, which was going to be made in 2020 and was postponed because of the pandemic, arrived on Netflix at the end of January, this after originally airing in September on British BBC Two. The pandemic also cut some of the ambition: originally, the shoot was supposed to be in several countries, but the trips outside England ended up being limited to Wales and Italy.
The joke is always in Cunk, the idea, unlike other characters of the genre, is not to make fun of the interviewees. Some of the experts even know who Cunk is, as he is a popular and famous character in England, others even laugh halfway through – something that is always cut. Anyway, they are always warned to treat her like a child, they are not being deceived by the production.
There’s no end of silliness coming out of Cunk’s mouth and there’s an impressively huge density of jokes per minute here. the protagonist asks questions like whether ancient weapons could kill contemporary people or whether pyramids are shaped like that to prevent homeless people from sleeping on top of them. He insists with an expert that Aristotle was the author of the expression “dance as if no one was watching”. It also convinces, for example, historian Kate Cooper to tell the camera that Jesus Christ was the first famous victim of the so-called “cancel culture”.
A the way the people she talks to react, correcting her, adding factual and serious information to the journalist’s misunderstandings, is part of the delight. But it is not the only interesting component. Cunk’s intros are also funny, as well as segments like the presenter going into a cave because the production told her to, or the recurring appearance of the “Belgian techno anthem Pump Up The Jam“, by Technotronic. After Great Britain, Philomena Cunk has now conquered the world.