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Hello, I'm John Sergeant, and welcome to Argumental, the show where the hottest names in comedy debate the biggest issues facing mankind. Is air travel viable? Do we need a DNA database? And can I claim for "Busty Babes 12" on my expenses?"—John Sergeant
Argumental (2008-) is a British Panel Show in its fourth series (as of 2012). The show features two teams each of a permanent captain and a guest arguing about current events, celebrities, culture, and anything else the host throws at them.
The show was hosted for three series by noted journalist and dance legend John Sergeant, with Marcus Brigstocke as the red team captain and Rufus Hound as the blue team captain. From the fourth series on, Sean Lock is the host, with captains Seann Walsh and Robert Webb.
This show contains examples of:
- Audience Participation: They vote on the winners of each round, and are occasionally dragged individually or en masse into the argument by the panelists.
- Berserk Button: Rufus is not a fan of themed rounds of Slideshow. He once got several pictures of boats in a row, swore at the producers, and ran into the audience to continue his argument by flirting with an audience member.
- Brief Accent Imitation: Mostly Marcus in his arguments: everything from French to American to Upperclass Twit.
- Butt Monkey: All of them, for each other.
- Cloudcuckoolander: In his guest days, Sean Lock embodied this trope.
- He stated that the energy crisis can be solved with zoo animals running in giant hamster wheels.
- Part of his argument that December is better than July hinged on the fact that he can keep beer cold in his garden in December, whereas it would be hot in July. This led to him informing everyone that he keeps his beer in his garden because his fridge is full of blood plasma for children's operations.
- Cool Old Guy / Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: John Sergeant, whose autocue remarks are often laced with double entendres and written to make him sound like a sexagenarian party animal with loose morals.
- Corpsing: Occasionally the opposing team will have a sincere laugh during an argument, either by the arguer's design or by accident.
- Or during their own teammate's argument. Don't say "gunt" in front of Phill Jupitus.
- During the Slideshow round, Sean Lock had a difficult time seeing the images on the screen, and mistook one picture of scrub sponges for three Filofaxes until Rufus corrected him. Marcus and Phill nearly fell off their chairs in helpless laughter.
- Johnny Vegas's argument against binge drinking is another memorable example.
"I have shat thunder!"
- Deadpan Snarker: How John Sergeant says half his autocue lines with a straight face is truly a miracle.
- Depth Deception: Rufus asserted that Tom Cruise is actually eleven feet tall and only appears short because he's such a good actor. He then used the Cruise cardboard cutout to demonstrate.
- Derailed for Details: In an argument about tattoos and piercings, Marcus tried to tell a story about a tattooed man he once knew and made the mistake of saying he met the guy when he worked on an oil rig. Rufus, naturally, latched onto the unlikely detail about Marcus's former job.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: Occasionally the panelists end up losing the support of the audience mid-argument, usually with a bad joke, and just keep making it worse, usually by calling the audience twats.
- Hurricane of Puns: Often a panelist's only way out during the Slideshow round.
[shown a photo of a lion]
Marcus Brigstocke: Now, I'd be lion if I said that hell was better than heaven. But let me tell you, folks, it's a sense of pride that I stand here, with my mane argument...
- Male Frontal Nudity: Rufus showed everything to the crowd in one second-series argument about naturism.
Frankie Boyle: Take hold of your dignity!
Rufus Hound: How dare you, I'm sat here in a tie!
- Partial Nudity:
- To prove that women are more vain than men, Marcus tried to make his case by pulling his trousers down and sticking his finger up his nose. It worked.
- Marcus also once unbuttoned most of his shirt to demonstrate to Andy Parsons that, in fact, he does not lack the ability to grow body hair.
- And there was Kieran the stripper in a fourth-series episode. Not only that, but he motivated Jack Whitehall to drop trou as well.
- Rufus removed his shirt on one occasion to show his tattoos to everyone.
- Right for the Wrong Reasons: The basis of some arguments, particularly ones the panelists are loath to support literally, such as the idea that bankers are doing a great job. Marcus argued that the actual day-to-day job of going to work, losing millions of pounds of other people's money, and then getting massive raises funded by other people's money, is in fact a great job, and bankers are doing that job.
- Also sometimes the basis for the audience's votes.
- Show Stopper: Marcus and Rufus performed a spontaneous musical version of Argumental during an argument about whether or not musicals are rubbish.
- Take That: Almost more the show's premise than arguing is. Politicians and celebrities tend to bear most of the load, with the other panelists and various cultural groups picking up the slack.
- Token Evil Teammate: Frankie Boyle, no matter what team he's on.
- A Touch of Class Ethnicity and Religion: Often what the first round is based on, but also makes up 90% of Rufus's jokes about Marcus.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Marcus and Rufus, in spades.