Gigglebox Weekly #26
This week Ian Wolf reviews three TV shows that don’t star Ricky Gervais and a dwarf.
The Warm Up Guy
This is the penultimate Comedy Lab pilot, and stars Tom Davis as Iain Bodkin, a “comedian” (in the loosest sense of the word) whose main job is doing warm up for a TV programme…but he’s actually a total failure.
This is something of a cringe comedy, as you continuously watch Bodkin trying to be funnier than he really is. His lack of success is made clear when he is forced to work in a supermarket, where his continued attempts to make people laugh always bring him down – as well as his supervisor’s trousers.
Eventually Bodkin finds some work on a panel show, albeit dressed up as a penguin, kicked by a martial arts expert into an inflatable swimming pool of chocolate. This results in a pointless rivalry between him and the warm up guy for this panel show (played rather well by Will Smith).
This pilot’s definitely got legs and would probably make for an entertaining series if given the chance. Yes, Bodkin isn’t a lovable character. In fact he is something of a bastard, but he is a funny bastard…
Mongrels was one of my favourite shows from last year. Mind you, I’m a sucker for just about anything anthropomorphic. The fact that this and Radio 4 comedy Warhorses of Letters is on at the same time’s made me a rather happy man this past week…
This show, often viewed as an animal puppet version of Family Guy, is always enjoyable to a certain degree. It’s full of jokes, most of which seem to work, both in the main dialogue and the cutaway scenes. The characters are entertaining, from metrosexual fox Nelson (Rufus Jones) to it-bitch Destiny (Lucy Montgomery), to the f***ing foul-mouthed fox Vince (Paul Kaye).
The second series started with a double bill – which to me felt wrong, primarily because the second episode was a “Horror special” which really should have gone out on Halloween. What on Earth the BBC Three schedulers were thinking of I have no idea.
Still, both episodes were entertaining, with their jokes and musical numbers, especially with a guest appearance from Richard O’Brien as a zombie dog singing a Rocky Horror Show-style love song. The one problem I have with Mongrels is that because it’s on BBC Three, it has a very BBC Three idea of what a celebrity is. For example: Clive Anderson – great. Ainsley Harriott – could be worse. Jeff Brazier – never heard of him. Danny Dyer – oh f*** off (as Vince might say).
Still, this is good show on the whole. Certainly one of the better comedies on BBC Three, which probably means it’ll be axed…
While most of the TV listings and reviews will be concerned about a certain sitcom written by someone with too many awards on his mantelpiece, it’s easy to overlook that another sitcom was also returning just before it.
The second series of Rev. began this week (I should point out that the full stop after Rev. is not out of some inflated sense of the need to stick to the rules grammar of punctuation, but because that’s what it’s actually called in the show’s opening credits), with Tom Hollander returning as the Reverend Adam Smallbone. How fitting it is in this case for the vicar to be named after the first male sinner, especially as the opening scenes see him yawning while talking to God in his head and admitting he’s stashed booze away while on a retreat – and not a holiday.
In this episode Adam accidentally stops a robber, resulting in inaccurate praise for him and getting nominated for a Pride of Britain Award. The show is clever in the way it makes Adam come to terms with his moral dilemmas, and about whether or not he should accept this honour.
However, I have to admit being slightly uncomfortable about watching Rev., sometimes because I don’t want to see all these moral dilemmas played out in a sitcom. What I want to see is something funnier. But it’s probably mainly because I was risen Catholic, and so to me the world of St. Saviour’s in the Marshes has always been a bit alien. It’s also probably why I preferred Father Ted to The Vicar of Dibley.
Still, when it gets it right, Rev. is an entertaining show and worth a watch.