WHEN is a goal not a goal but also a goal at the same time?
When BBC1 commentator Jonathan Pearce says so.
Either he was right and Karim Benzema had indeed used quantum mechanics to put France 2-0 up against Honduras while keeping the score at 1-0.
Or, just perhaps, he couldn’t get his head around a simple goal-line technology replay that showed, in terms Pearce can understand, the little round ball thing first not going over the stripy line (no goal), then going over the stripy line (goal).
We’re at the World Cup, in case you hadn’t noticed, where the mix of brilliance and madness on the pitch has been matched by the BBC and ITV off it.
The Beeb’s three-pronged force of Rio Ferdinand, Clarence Seedorf and Thierry Henry is delivering a punditry masterclass, with super-sub Juninho (Spitting Image’s David Steel puppet).
ITV has taken the spoils with the theme tune and pre-recorded footage, but not with window repairs.
Adrian Chiles’s wit is winning the battle of the anchors: “Welcome back to Rio where on Copacabana beach they’re coming to terms with the news Alan Irvine has been appointed head coach of West Bromwich Albion.”
But the BBC wins hands down when it comes to dumb commentary.
Steve Wilson: “This year’s psychic animal is a turtle.
“He’s taken over from Paul the Octopus which is a good thing.
“As someone once said, you’ll win nothing with squids.” (Groan.)
Robbie Savage: “I remember 1962, the Battle of Santiago,” 12 years before he was born.
Steve Bower made a pun on the phrase “good to know you” with the surname of Iran’s Reza Ghoochannejhad which, believe me, works even less when spoken.
Phil Neville at least made up for his infamous monotone commentary debut at England v Italy by chuckling the following night: “I loved social media, until about 24 hours ago.”
And Mark Chapman wearing a white silky shirt with huge collar followed Gary Lineker calling him John Travolta with: “Rio, this is the first time in your life you’ve been in the Maracana and just a minute ago you told me you had chills.”
In the studios, though, we’ve had some inevitable clangers.
BBC’s Gianluca Vialli: “I think it’s going to be a draw. I’m not sitting on the fence here.”
Anyone would think I’m not watching for the football.
I am. It’s the best World Cup I’ve seen, topping 1982, capped with unforgettable TV moments like the Benzema goal/no goal, which I’m happy to say came with an argument-burying post-match verdict from Thierry Henry.
“At the end of the day it was a goal and if it wasn’t then it wouldn’t have been a goal.”
Try telling Jonathan Pearce that.
This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, the sharpest show either side of the pond.
The hopeful finale of BBC2’s I Bought A Rainforest.
Gold’s wall-to-wall Porridge weekend, broken only by Seven of One: Prisoner and Escort.
England’s final-over test thriller against Sri Lanka at Lord’s.
Chile’s beautiful, free-flowing football ending Spain’s golden era.
All Star Mr & Mrs’ Phillip Schofield asking Kimberley Walsh’s partner Justin: “Which of these do you think should not be allowed?” (Kimberley Walsh singing?)
And Big Brother big-head Steven boasting: “I think that in the whole house I’ve got the best vocabulary.” Kimberly: “Yes, but there’s a big difference between having a nice vocabulary and being verbose.” “Being what?”
This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...
Two of the three “England fans” BBC News’ Dan Roan chose to interview after the Italy match turning out to be Scots, those famously die-hard Three Lions supporters.
Emma Willis announcing: “Welcome to the first live launch of Big Brother,” a show that had two live launch nights, on the first live eviction.
C4 Racing’s Royal Ascot Gok Wan telling every woman they’re: “Absolutely gorgeous,” including the Queen.
C5’s charmless dating show Stand By Your Man dispensing with all foreplay and going straight for the Rohypnol.
And BBC2 taking an hour to answer: “Where Is Flight MH370?” with: “At the bottom of the ocean.” Because I thought it was among the rings of Saturn.