If you are aware of mockumentaries, they are a parody of documentaries where the narrator mimics the person who narrates the actual documentary; in this case, they include all forms of humor which is, sarcasm, self-awareness, black comedy, dark comedy, physical comedy, and many more. Some of the finest examples of mockumentaries are the “Borat” films directed by Larry Charles and starring Sacha Baron Cohen and “This is Spinal Tap” by Rob Reiner; and closer home, “Modern Family,” the sitcom, is also made in a mockumentary style. “Cunk on Earth” goes notch above and gives us information about everything mankind had done since the beginning of the evolution that happened when homo sapiens took over the planet and became the only dominating living species who sustained and went through massive change over centuries. Presented to us by Diane Morgan as Philomena Cunk, this mockumentary is a delight from start to end. Want to know why?
Philomena Cunk’s Quest To Know The Truth
Philomena Cunk (Diane Morgan) is all set to begin her sort of world tour, where she will explore those places where proof of humankind’s evolution were found. She goes from all over Europe and parts of the Middle East to Mexico to understand what are the elements that led to human beings becoming the most evolved creatures on earth, and how they have surpassed many other living beings but have also lost consideration for other living beings. Directed by Christian Watt, who gave us “Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father,” now through the same streaming giant leads through plenty of hilarious scenarios where Philomena ends up interviewing intellectuals from all walks of life, who happen to know more than Philomena does. Philomena goes from place to place to understand different eras and what led to the forming of humankind, learning to farm, hunt, gather, etc.
What makes this mockumentary series something that needs to be viewed? It is the deadpan humor with which Philomena Cunk talks during the show and hilariously tells us about why this place is important when it comes to historical reference. Philomena takes us from the Great Wall of China to places where early man’s settlements were discovered. The show does not shy away from talking about the religion of Europe, which is Christianity, and how it spread across the continent and outside the continent, and its competition with Islam, which led to a religious war, “The Crusades.” Philomena takes potshots at both religions and talks about their good and bad, which led to both becoming the faiths with the most followers in the modern era. Philomena takes us from the ages of the first humans to how they became village makers, and slowly and steadily, humans built boundaries and started calling themselves part of a Kingdom which had a king or a Queen.
Philomena walks us through the dark ages, a time when Christianity was at its low, and the Roman empire had fallen, which left a void by the same disintegrated empire of the past. The writers do not shy away from talking about the steps taken by the Christian followers to make sure people follow only Christianity, and they went as far as Jerusalem to make sure even followers of Islam should be brought under Christian rule. Philomena also humors about Islam and the route that the English take to make sure Muslims do not feel excluded. That humor must be taken in stride, and one should not feel offended because Philomena here is making sure all religions and their motives need to be questioned. This is not wrong for the United Kingdom, which claims secularity is the fabric of the country. Even though, in some parts, many of the lecturers, professors, fellows, doctorate holders, and many other experts seem clueless about Philomena’s questions, all of them take it in stride, and not one of them walks out of the interview, which is a good sign. The humor works because the writers are not trying to pander to anyone from history or any current personality, or any other ideology. They make sure, using comedy as a tool, that they question things that have been passed down to us as historical facts. This also includes talking in depth about Britain and other European countries’ expeditions around the world, conquering the “new world” and destroying their cultures.
“Cunk on Earth” walks into talking about post-1945, when the cold war happened, and humankind took a giant leap forward after discovering revolutionary technologies like nuclear power, the telephone, television, and smartphones—everything that just made lives easy but at a cost. Diane Morgan, along with seven other writers—Jason Hazeley, Tom Baker, Charlie Brooker, Ben Caudell, Eli Goldstone, Joel Morris, Michael Odewale, and Sam Ward—brings to the table the plethora of events, entities, and detailed talks about their origins and how it beautifully or not so beautifully became a part of our lives. Diane Morgan is in fantastic form in this mockumentary, for she delivers all her lines with such a poker face it is hard not to laugh over it. This is one show you cannot miss, for you get to know a lot about history from a cheeky and straight-faced comedian/ actress.
‘Cunk On Earth’ Recap: What Happens In The Series?
Philomena Cunk, in the first episode, “In the Beginnings,” explores the discovery of early man and how they evolved from hunters to living beings who now depend on livestock for a living. Living beings went from making boundaries for themselves to creating villages and borders, which slowly became large land masses that eventually became kingdoms. This episode threw light on the emergence of Greek philosophy and how they came up with life concepts that are still part and parcel of everyone’s life.
As a continuation of the first episode, the second episode, “Faith/Off,” stresses more the fact of why religion was acknowledged by human beings and how it became a routine part of their lives. The show also talked about how Islam and Christianity came up in Asia and Central Asia, while only Islam stayed in the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa; Christianity spread across Europe, and the Christian preachers went from country to country spreading the message of Jesus and destroying the local culture. It’s interesting to watch how it took centuries for religion to become an important part of our lives, and ever since, nothing but religion has been the talk of the town.
“The Renaissance will not be televised” was all about how the entirety of Europe came out of the dark ages, emerging into what was called the Renaissance, a time when great painters, namely Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo Da Vinci, prospered not just as painters but as thinkers, and philosophers. It’s interesting to see how Philomena tells us about the golden years when there was prosperity and only prosperity in the field of arts, science, and philosophy.
This was followed by episode four, which was all about the industrial revolution, or as the name of the episode dubs it, “Rise of the Machines.” The use of steam, water, and other sources to make sure heavy industries such as metal, wood, and everything that is to be used by people daily is covered under this episode, for it throws light on how we became machine dependent and till date remain one, albeit upgraded ones. The emergence of machines, which led to the manufacture of cars by none other than Henry Ford, the conquest of the sky by the Wright Brothers, and the invention of the light bulb and phonograph, popularly known as the gramophone, by Thomas Alva Edison. Machines are very much part of the new world right now, which also led to manufacturing of weapons to wage wars— the First World War and the Second World War.
“Wars of the world” in just 28 minutes gives shocking details of how the cold war divided the world into two parts, until the USSR broke up in 1991. From 1945 up until 1991, a lot of incidents and wars happened that shaped the world right now. With Russia spearheading the space race, the United States of America one-upped them by sending a man to the Moon. It is the Moon landing that is still considered an iconic moment in the history of mankind, after which America established itself as the dominant superpower. And not to forget the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant disaster, which brought the world to a stand still and made sure the USSR was done for good. The emergence of computers led to a cutthroat fight between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. With this technological war peaking, Apple finally aced the smartphone market, which proved that the war for being number one is far from over.
“Cunk on Earth” relies only on the comedy because the rest of the elements which Philomena Cunk talks about are known to all the viewers from various documentaries we have watched for years now on television and on the OTT space. Diane Morgan as Philomena Cunk is impersonating David Attenborough, who is known for his passion for documentary filmmaking and for talking in depth about his love for nature. Here, the makers and Diane Morgan make use of human history and its evolving nature, and how we as humans have adapted to our surroundings, but not to forget, we humans have also forgotten animals in the race to be the most accommodative species. Diane Morgan did not shy away from talking about any controversial topic, and this is why “Cunk on Earth” marks as one of the best mockumentaries now streaming on Netflix.
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