PENG LIFE REVIEW

Unless the Venn diagram of your interests includes both YouTube and fried chicken, my guess is that you have no idea who Elijah Quashie is (host of PENG LIFE).

The answer is a Masterchef-inspired gastronaut known as The Chicken Connoisseur, cruising the city’s fried chicken shops in search of “The Pengest Munch”.

PENG LIFE C4

Despite his adolescent features, Tottenham-born Quashie is an (allegedly) 24-year-old -who has just converted his newfangled online fame into the old school broadcast TV kind, courtesy of his new Channel 4 show, Peng Life. Hot on the heels of The Big Narstie Show, Peng Life arrives in the 11:05pm slot on Channel 4’s Friday night schedule. It seems that C4 Friday's are now an evening showing slangtastic, inner-city inspired programming.

Sponsored by KFC (of course), Peng Life is a quest for the most peng (adjective, used to describe anything of exceptional quality) things in life, from doughnuts to private jets. Teaming up with twins Nelson and Wilson Quaresma to compare and contrast the expensive and cheap versions of anything money can buy,

Elijah has made the world and all its potentially peng tings, his oyster. Despite its slender half hour running time, episode one has sports cars vs. supercars, a £2000 haircut pitted against a £20 trim and a £925 kebab going up against a humble high street wrap that doesn’t require taking out a mortgage, with some celebrities rolling through for good measure.

So far, so meh - just another review show, with extra slang, right? Maybe - until Jodie turns up to prove why she should have been a shoo-in for the new Top Gear line up and Elijah gets admonished for eating fried chicken in the £5000 leather seats of a Lambourghini.

With tongue (and fried chicken) firmly in cheek, Peng Life is a jaunty 22 minutes of entertainment. Instead of a tedious blow-by-blow deconstruction of the pros and cons of a couple of cars most of us have no chance of owning, Elijah offers his opinions based on gut instinct and his ability to keep down his fried chicken, as he goes from 0-60 in 4 seconds.

Imagine Top Gear with likeable hosts hailing from Tottenham rather than Totteridge and interests that go beyond the contents of the nearest car bonnet, and you’ll have an idea of Peng Life. With a slightly less confusing flurry of urban argot than The Big Narstie Show, it’s also more accessible, mainstream entertainment - watching one of the twins learn the hard way what steak tartare is provokes both sympathy and smirks.

I can’t say for sure I understand how it works - the rating system defies all logic - but burrow under the Channel 4 youth makeover, and this is a familiar format. Thankfully, its carefree co-hosts serve up their opinions with a bit more verve and a lot less self-importance than your average critic.

As the Peng Lifers might say: “If da ting bangs, da ting bangs”.

- Watched on C4. 10/08/2018

Natalie Golding

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