“He’s Only There To Stop His Skeleton Falling Over” is one of the best burns ever in an episode full of contenders as the Avenue 5 erupts into carnage.
This recap of Avenue 5 Season 1, Episode 5, “He’s Only There To Stop His Skeleton Falling Over”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
“He’s Only There To Stop His Skeleton Falling Over” is how Captain Clark (Hugh Laurie) describes Frank (Andy Buckley) in Avenue 5 Episode 5, and it’s probably the kindest thing anyone says to him. Poor, long-suffering Frank, otherwise known as Mr. Karen Kelly (Rebecca Front), has been made the scapegoat after his performative button-pushing resulted in the ship’s supply of excrement being dangerously jettisoned into space. Luckily, Clark and Billie (Lenora Crichlow) were able to save the day, resulting in adoration for the former, no attention at all for the latter and endless insults for Frank.
But the day is indeed saved, thanks to instructional videos from Clark himself and Billie’s unnoticed expertise. As a consequence a ring of s*** forms around the Avenue 5 and continues to orbit it for the entire episode, visible to both the passengers inside and those on Earth who continue to watch live footage of the various mishaps. Occasionally you can still see a golden luxury coffin winking in the detritus. And that means party time since this would have marked the halfway home point of the journey had it not been delayed by several months or years, depending on who you ask.
Preparations for the party are rigorously vetted by Iris (Suzy Nakamura), who interrogates the ship’s resident comedian Jordan Hatwal (Himesh Patel) to such an extent that by the time he gets on-stage, anticlimactically introduced by Matt (Zach Woods), who might low-key be the funniest character on television right now, he has virtually no material – and still has to promote JuddLight, available all throughout the ship, as part of his set. Since Avenue 5 Episode 5 opens with Jordan’s rehearsal, and his performance takes up much of the episode even after the party descends into chaos, the feeling being evoked by “He’s Only There To Stop His Skeleton Falling Over” is pretty clear: We’re bombing on stage in a never-ending routine for the displeasure of people who hate us. That’s the show’s sensibility in a nutshell, really.
But blimey it’s funny. Once the mob mentality takes over it’s difficult to keep track of which funny bits are the funniest in all the carnage, but here’s a collection of highlights anyway. Clark tries to batten down his existential crisis – and his American accent – for the good of the adoring crew while also dealing with the pressures of his fake leadership and real drinking problem, a surprising trivorce, and the unwanted romantic attentions of Karen, who seems either genuinely interested in him and his turtleneck or psychologically tortures Frank so habitually that she doesn’t even realize she’s doing it. Mia (Jessica St. Clair) and Doug (Kyle Bornheimer) both try and fail to get laid independently but succeed in making each other even more miserable, with cameos from handsome Colin and the apparently sexually unfussy Spike Martin (Ethan Phillips). Sarah aka Sarah (Daisy May Cooper) spins another made-up anecdote about how Clark “put a baby up her” before leading a conga line demeaning Frank with Frank himself at its head; and Frank gets carted away by security to be launched into space at the behest of the baying crowd, only to be saved by Clark, who he then assaults for flirting with Karen.
There’s blowing off steam, and then there’s Avenue 5 Season 1, Episode 5, which blows off steam with $200,000 worth of streamers cascading over a drunken brawl in outer space. Rav (Nikki Amuka-Bird), visiting the White House, which has been relocated to Buffalo, New York, can only watch on in horror. I wonder how she’ll try and explain this.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.