17/01/2011

Episodes - I'm giving it one more week...


...and only because it's pedigree suggests it should be funny.

Tonight's episode was marginally (and I mean marginally) better than last weeks, largely because Matt LeBlanc put in an appearance, but still torturously slow. I guess the producers decided to go for a slow build up - a potentially dangerous strategy given the first series is only 8 weeks... Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan (the main characters) still have the chemistry of two people that recently bumped into each other on train station platform and were forced to spend a 40 minute train journey embarrassingly clamped against each other. (A bit like my journey into work most mornings – I hate First Capital Connect. I digress....) 

So tonight the writers were forced into accepting Matt as the lead for the show, despite his being: completely wrong for it; not interested in it; and initially very rude and arrogant. Once Matt realized the show was actually quite good, he turned on the charm and had the two of them eating out of his hands – Only to turn the tables on them by changing the premise of the show to better suit himself. There were a couple of ancillary plot lines: The studio exec who is sleeping with the obnoxious producer who has a blind wife; the obnoxious producer being horrible to his angelic blind wife. In theory, it all sounds good, in practice, I just didn’t find it particularly funny.

As per last week, there were a couple of good bits:


Matt Leblanc advising the scriptwriters about the casting of the female lead: 
“Don’t let them force you to cast anyone you don’t like.”
Conversation between the scriptwriters post Matt insinuating that the husband was henpecked. 
Wife: “You not whipped are you?”
Husband: “That may not be the tone you want to be asking me that question with” 
Matt appearing sensitive by mentioning he watched a documentary on children with Tourette's syndrome. Then ruining it by announcing that he thought it was hilarious.

There is an intensely unfunny subplot, that seems as if it will run through the series, involving the security guard of the compound where they live, who consistently pretends not to know them. On the way back from a rather unsuccessful dinner party he refuses to let them in and the wife says:
“Oh no, no no. Not tonight Wallace. Don’t pull that shit with us, now open the mother f*cking, bl**dy bastard, pain in the ass, dick cheese stinking, dirty, shitty, w*nking, f*cking bl**dy, f*cking bastard, f*cking stupid, c*nt of a f*cking gate.’ 
OK so that last bit you had to see to find even remotely amusing, but I was desperate for a laugh by this point. Another funny(ish) bit below. I’m giving it one more week….


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