Sunday, September 17
Back of the Net
Thursday nights see a comedy diamond mine for adolescent quoters as BBC2 starts to repair some of the damage it did with Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, says Lucien Mettomo
Rejoice! The hour between 9 and 10 has been occupied with comedy gold. It’s good to see that Thursday night has been wrestled back from those individuals who over the last few years have forced us to take a good look in the mirror in an effort to release us from our ignorant bliss. Gone are the accessible TV scientists and historians of this world who say things like ‘in conclusion’ and tell us that babies are actually really clever and that modern mankind descends from some weird algae which has been growing for a thousand billion years off the coast of Vuanatu.
To the ignorant masses Thursday night has been returned to its rightful place as a comedic solitude from the crushing modern world. It harks back to a time when schoolyards were places where incessant quotes from Papa Lazaru and Alan Partridge occupied most, if not all, conversation between adolescent boys. Well may I just say ‘Jurassic Park’ because its time has returned.
The Thursday night power hour kicked off with the new series of Extras (BBC2, 9pm). Ricky Gervais’s Andy begins filming for his new sitcom. He is fighting against the tide of formalism and inane scripts which his BBC bosses have put upon him. Oh how very post-modern of BBC2 to take the piss out of its own former sitcoms. Well it isn’t enough BBC2. Two pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps has occupied far too much of the schedule for me to forgive you that easily.
Anyway, whilst Andy is busy making his sitcom, Maggy is spurning the advances of a narcissistic Orlando Bloom. It was comedy, which only Ricky Gervais can do: understated Genius. And on top of this it guest starred the dream comic duo of a bigoted Keith Chegwin and Barry from Eastenders.
After that I had the pleasure of sitting through the first episode of That Mitchell and Webb Look (BBC2, p.30pm). Or as they are more well known, Those Two from Peepshow. I started as a sceptical spectator. I couldn’t shake the image of the hapless duo of Mark and Jeremy, struggling through the rigours of every day life, while endlessly failing to shake their crippling neuroses. Too many nights spent watching DVDs of Peepshow for hours on end has meant that the comedy sketch show was too much a leap of imagination. But they won me over with their outrageous sketches – my favourite being ‘Number Wang’, the impossibly complicated mathematics gameshow which can only be explained as a parody of all those gameshows which look easy but are in fact incredibly hard to understand, like Deal or No Deal.
In conclusion, take that Simon Schama!