By Ayo Onikoyi
Certainly, Globacom packs a unique style when it comes to delivering entertainment to its teeming subscribers and just wouldn’t let them off the hook with their much-hyped Professor Johnbull, a comedy mini TV series which debut was on NTA network, Tuesday. Glo had wetted the appetite of TV lovers with various campaigns before the debut and when it came on stream, it was surely a delicacy to savour. Kanayo O Kanayo, Mercy Johnson, Yomi Fashlanso, Funky Mallam, Queen Nwokoye, Junior Pope, Bimbo Akintola, Bidemi Kosoko who led the cast for the first episode of the series gave stellar performance.
The opening montage summarizes each character featuring in the sitcom in one word as Professor Johnbull who relishes expressing himself grandiloquently, flips through the pages of one of the piles of books on his coffee table. He describes the characters in the social satire in highfalutin words such as sedulous, gratuitous and philanderer while he simply sees himself as erudite. The story line and progression of events in the debut episode will keep viewers glued to their TV screens.
In the episode, Glo ambassador and wave-making superstar, the D’banj’s sudden emergence at a local restaurant where they sell the best amala in Enugu, sparked off a frenzy. D’banj fans rushed to catch a glimpse of the super star. Olaniyi, the restauranteur, initially thought he was daydreaming on seeing D’Banj at his restaurant.
Professor Johnbull encountered Dbanj at Olaniyi’s restaurant and an altercation soon ensued between the erudite scholar and the music icon. The conversation ended amicably and an impressed Professor Johnbull invited Dbanj and his friends to his home for the traditional Igbo hospitality.
While still enjoying Professor Johnbull’s company, Churchill, the Professor’s son, who was a former classmate of Dbanj showed up and things turned sour for the fake D’banj who had his cover blown.
Having heard that D’banj was a guest at the Professor’s house, other characters zoomed in to adulate the super star only to find out he was a fake. Olaniyi, the restauranteur was the first on the scene, followed by Funky Mallam who had been tracking the star all day to present him with two tubers of yam. It was a shock for, even besotted Bidemi Kosoko could not believe her ears. After severe beating by all, the D’banj was handed over to the police by the Professor for fraud and impersonation.
The episode focuses on the ugly trend of impersonation of successful Nigerian celebrities by fraudsters who exploit the star power of super stars to make fast cash and enjoy other perquisites. The Professor’ monologue after the episode summed it up that ‘crime does not pay’.
The synergy of the cast is near seamless, even the actors with smaller roles are already known and experienced, and they blended well in to the general plot of the movie. Bimbo Akintola had about a scene or two but her role was so significant in the general plot that it offered some sort of suspense. Again, it is a proof that the director, Tchidi Chikere knows his onions.
For a comedy, the series skillfully set its scenes out as drama, without belabouring the plot. The dialogues are simple, with local flavour. One would have wondered why the Professor, with his many years abroad speaks with strong Igbo accent but he made it clear that he would not adopt the White’s accent because of his love for his culture.
The soundtrack, done by Urban high-life maestro and Glo ambassador, Chinedu Okoli, popularly known as Flavour, highlights the key messages which the drama series seek to send across to the teeming audience. It revolves around the central character, Prof. Johnbull, played by Nollywood legend, Kanayo O. Kanayo, and focuses on the grandiloquent language which the professor is famous for. It concisely summarizes the plot and storyline. For instance, it repeatedly hails the erudite scholar who has travelled round the world acquiring knowledge and enlarging his vocabulary. This is typical Nollywood.