Friday 12 November 2010

brit com.

I am a huge fan of British comedy. Don't get me wrong, I do like some American series, but I prefer the subtly of British humour. Here are my top five...

No.5 - The Office

'I can read women. You've got to know their wants and their needs. And that can be anything from making sure she's got enough money to buy groceries each week to making sure she's gratified sexually after intercourse. '

It took me a while to get into The Office . I'm not a huge fan of Ricky Gervais and the short clips I'd seen of the programme made me cringe behind a cushion. But then Cardy suggested we watch the series on DVD and I thought I would give it a go and I'm so glad I did. I think that what really makes this series special are the well formed characters. The burgeoning love story between Tim and Dawn is just heart breaking and I want to set Gareth in a vat of jelly. Perhaps my favourite moment is Tim and Dawn asking Gareth whether he has ever had to blow a man harm whilst in the TA. The innuendo is just brilliant.

No. 4 - Black Books

'Add a drop of lavender to your milk, leave town with an orange, and pretend you're laughing at it.'

When I was a young teen I became mildly obsessed with the film You've Got Mail. I was rather taken with the idea of working in a quaint little bookshop with wooden panelled walls and friendly local customers. Then I grew up, Meg Ryan made some hideous cosmetic surgery choices and the idea of being a bookshop owner lost it's charm. That was until I found Black Books. Moran's Bernard Black is the cutest misanthrope I have ever seen while Bill Bailey and Tamsin Greig are fantastic as the eccentric and slightly lost Manny and Fran. My favourite episode is the one in which Bernard and Manny write the most perfect children's story ever created and Fran discovers the peril of too much cake and Life Cry. It's an important lesson we should all learn.

No. 3 - Peep Show

'Life is all pain. Pain, rejection and gloom. Why do we even pretend that there's anything other than a yawning blankness at the heart of... Hey! 33% extra free! I'm doing excellent shopping. My depressed state of mind is making me even more frugal than normal.'

I only wish that Mitchell and Webb's sketch show was as good as Peep Show. I mean, don't get me wrong, Sir Digby Chicken Caesar is great and I yearn for a full length episode of Numberwang, but it's just not quite up to the same standard. I think that one of the reasons that Peep Show has such an impact is the first person camera work - it creates a level of intimacy that you seldom find in comedy shows. Seeing everything through Mark and Jeremy's eyes really allows you to feel empathy for them. You share Mark's triumphs and tribulations as he tries to woo Sophie (who doesn't 'like' his Frank Sinatra moment) and you feel Jeremy's frustration and shame about... well everything really. I think that their lowest point involves some fake pizza and pepper spray. 'It's for your own good.'

No. 2 - The Thick of It

'How dare you. How dare you! Don't ever ever call me a bully. I'm so much worse than that.'

Malcolm Tucker is one of my favourite characters ever. He is foul mouthed and power crazed, and he has the equally terrifying Jamie by his side. The Scots are coming, and they're going to make you cry.

I really love political satire and I think that The Thick of It is perhaps the best of the best. It's so eerily spot on with some of it's scandals and policies that it's almost uncanny. I sat down and watched a few episodes with my civil servant father. He said it was spookily accurate and laughed a lot. I think that's the insider seal of approval. I don't think I could pick a favourite episode, so I'll just tell you to go out and watch it yourself.

No. 1 - Spaced

'You are so blind! You so do not understand! You weren't there at the beginning. You don't know how good it was! How important! This is it for you! This jumped-up firework display of a toy advert! People like you make me sick! What's wrong with you?! Now, I don't care if you've saved up all your fifty 'p's, take your pocket money and get out!'

You're right, Tim. The Phantom Menace was crap.

I am so desperately in love with Spaced. I think it's perhaps the most perfect series ever created. The whole premise, boy meets girl, girl suggests that she and boy pretend to be a couple in order to rent a flat, boy and girl find themselves living with an alcoholic landlady and creepy artist, could have been so cliched and dry, but it is brilliantly executed. Tim is the bleach blond graphic novel artist who proves that geeky men are bloody hot and Daisy is the aspiring writer who will forever remain aspiring. Along with drunken middle-aged flirt Marsha, socially awkward abstract artist Brian, gun loving ex-TA member Mike, tactless fashionista Twist and Colin the dog, they are perhaps two of the most beloved characters in the eyes of Brit com fans. I love the show's subtle references to big Hollywood blockbusters and 90s culture (The first rule of Robot Wars is, you don't talk about Robot Wars!) and the utterly charming characters. And unlike a lot of comedy series, there's nothing too flash and wacky - it's just two friends trying to be successful creative types in London.

I've tried to pick out a favourite moment from series, but I just can't. It's all so amazing. Go and watch it.


  1. So I love all of these, but Black Books is my all time favorite!

  2. I do love a bit of Black Books. I went to a festival a few years ago where I got to see Dylan Moran and Bill Bailey - I was in comedy heaven!