Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tickellgate a triumph

Following on from the theme of bullying and eviction above, and having already written about the latest series of The Thick Of It on two previous occasions, I feel duty-bound to comment on Saturday evening's hour-long Goolding Inquiry episode: brilliantly filmed, tense, gripping satire of the very highest order (and remarkably expletive-free, for a change). While all the other characters, bumbling and incoherent in their attempts at self-defence, squirmed like worms on hooks, Malcolm Tucker wriggled free of his to deliver his most affecting rant to date. Quite how Armando Iannucci and his team of writers follow it up this week will be fascinating.

Meanwhile, opinion seems divided but I've been enjoying Cuckoo, which takes an uninspiring sitcom premise (an odd newcomer intruding upon a family) and some hackneyed off-the-shelf plotline staples (inadvertent drug-taking, the accidental death of a beloved pet) and yet ends up being something significantly better than that might suggest. Partly it's down to the quality of the script, but the acting too is impressive - Greg Davies has his moments, but for me it's primarily Helen Baxendale and former Saturday Night Live star Andy Samberg, a natural as the delusional gap-year spiritualist of the title. The new series of Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain's Fresh Meat hasn't appealed yet (what I saw of the first was stuffed with tedious cliches and none of the sharp wit of their previous effort Peep Show), while friends' reports of Hebburn - complete with appearances from Vic Reeves - have been unanimously scathing.


skif said...

I quite liked Hebburn myself, and even the best sitcoms couldn't be judged on their first episode alone. Mind you, I've seen a lot of the writer Jason Cook's stand-up, been watching him since he was in a double act called Die Clatterschenkenfietermaus, and consider myself a fan so am not a fully neutral witness.

I have an issue with some of the acting in Fresh Meat (Inbetweeners mush's girlfriend in this series in particular), but it's a different beast to Peepshow, and we like it a lot in our household.

This series of The Thick Of It will do for me n' all, because of that added 'drama' element, although as a note of criticism, I don't find the Lib Dem characters remotely believable.

Anyone saying the lines aren't as good this time round clearly didn't see the 'Nicola fiddling on a train while Malcolm burns down Rome' episode. Then again, I don't think they could possibly top the 'specials' for great lines. I can, and do, watch them repeatedly.

"and who did your media training exactly, Myra Hindley?"

etc etc

Ben said...

Perhaps I'd better give Hebburn a try and Fresh Meat another chance. The criticisms of the former were largely that it's cliched, poorly written and irritating in its portrayal of us Geordies, but in fairness the first episode of Cuckoo wasn't great (steady improvement since then, though). Still, I'd be surprised if Vic Reeves had signed up to something truly terrible. Fresh Meat should be decent, given who's behind it. Will report back...