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Tuesday, 10 May 2011

TV Review - BBC1 Sitcom - Not Going Out


Whilst I wait for The Asylum to get back to me regarding my pitches (they must be good – ordinarily I should’ve heard by now –I certainly did when I pitched my wasp documentary idea to Sting) I’m going to do a review of what is, without doubt, the cleverest, most subtle piece of comedy to have come out of the BBC since Peter Stringfellow got booted off Hole in the Wall for feeling up the wall itself. 

Just when I thought comedy couldn’t get any more post-modern this comes out and bites me on the ballbag like a gigantic gnat AKA Gnatalie Cassidy.

What am I talking about? The evident blueprint for the next wave of BBC sitcoms – Staying In, no, hang on, Not Going Out. 

The action centres around the hilarious exploits of two middle class, middle aged cunts, who think they’re really funny, only every joke dies as quickly as Osama bin Laden did on December 13th, 2001. It’s a scenario played out in every nightclub in Britain, and now they’ve transposed it to a flat somewhere in London. 

It’s a relentless barrage of cringe-worthy one liners- purposefully missing the spot like a couple of hyper trophied teenagers in a nunnery. One of them, played by Lee something, who is a stand up comedian in real life, must’ve found this part very challenging. If you don’t know who I mean it’s the guy who was on They Think It’s All Over a lot and looks like a sarcastic ice cream. Every time he tells a joke he pauses, slightly purses his mouth and lets his eyes die. Wonderful. He utilizes a similar mechanism in this enterprise, but with a humf instead of an eye die and, because it is deliberately shit, this nuance works to perfection. 

Here’s a brief transcript

INT. LOUNGE.MORNING

Lee enters the room in just a t-shirt and boxers – there is a very odd, tall lady, whose face is 75% cheek, 25% scrotum (I think her name is Miranda, but can’t be sure) vacuuming the place.

                     LEE
           What the hell’s going on?

                     CLEANER
           Why, what have you found?

Lee takes his hand out of his pants, widens his eyes, mouth drops slightly and he moves jerkily forward.

                     LEE
           Who are you?

                     CLEANER
           I’m Metropolitan Cleaning Services U.K.

                     LEE
           Bit of a mouthful, I’ll just call you
           Miss U.K.

She flicks her hair.
                     CLEANER
           Thank you.

                     LEE
           That wasn’t a chat up line.

Only, of course, it was! Why else would you say it! How else could it have any meaning! Absolutely bloody brilliant! How anyone could so authentically get inside the mind of people so banal is a testament to the creative process and a veritable joy to behold.

And because they have bravely dispensed with any kind of legitimate characterisation, it doesn’t have to do the age old thing of bringing laughs out through behavioural idiosyncrasies and can rely on the far meatier mechanic of a torrent of deliberately piss poor one liners. The most incredible part of the whole thing is that it’s made it on to BBC1, which normally reserves its comedic airwaves for contrived middle class twiddle like Droll Parents With Even Cleverer Children and Fuck Me I’m A Tall Bird Who Looks Weird So Must Be Funny.

This is a leap into the unknown, into post post-modernism, and I applaud the BBC for making it. Check it!

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