Cuckoo‭ ‬episode‭ ‬2 review: Family‭ ‬Meeting

It’s the second episode of Cuckoo, which is a great improvement on the first, Gem writes...

This review contains spoilers.

1.2 Family Meeting

It‭ ‬is‭ ‬the‭ ‬dead‭ ‬of‭ ‬night,‭ ‬and‭ ‬all‭ ‬is‭ ‬not‭ ‬well‭ ‬in‭ ‬the‭ ‬house‭ ‬of‭ ‬Thompson.‭ ‬Ken‭ ‬wakes‭ ‬from‭ ‬a‭ ‬bad‭ ‬dream,‭ ‬in‭ ‬which‭ ‬he‭ ‬was‭ ‬trying‭ ‬to‭ ‬force‭ ‬an‭ ‬unwelcome‭ ‬intruder‭ ‬out‭ ‬of‭ ‬his‭ ‬house.‭ ‬Who‭ ‬could‭ ‬he‭ ‬possibly‭ ‬be‭ ‬thinking‭ ‬of‭? ‬He‭ ‬goes‭ ‬into‭ ‬the‭ ‬kitchen‭ ‬to‭ ‬get‭ ‬a‭ ‬glass‭ ‬of‭ ‬water,‭ ‬and‭ ‬is‭ ‬confronted‭ ‬by‭ ‬an‭ ‬alarming‭ ‬sight.‭ ‬Cuckoo‭’‬s‭ ‬meditating‭ ‬on‭ ‬the‭ ‬kitchen‭ ‬table,‭ ‬stoned‭ ‬out‭ ‬of‭ ‬his‭ ‬mind‭ ‬and‭ ‬totally‭ ‬starkers.‭ ‬The‭ ‘‬spiritual‭ ‬ninja‭’ ‬is,‭ ‬as‭ ‬usual,‭ ‬unfazed,‭ ‬and‭ ‬Ken‭ ‬tries‭ ‬to‭ ‬match‭ ‬his‭ ‬composure,‭ ‬but‭ ‬ends‭ ‬up‭ ‬offering‭ ‬him‭ ‬an‭ ‬Aston‭ ‬Villa‭ ‬tea‭ ‬towel‭ ‬to‭ ‬put‭ ‬between‭ ‬the‭ ‬table‭ ‬and‭ ‬his‭ ‬nether‭ ‬regions.‭ ‬As‭ ‬he‭ ‬awkwardly‭ ‬helps‭ ‬his‭ ‬son-in-law‭ ‬to‭ ‬manoeuvre‭ ‬himself‭ ‬out‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬lotus‭ ‬position,‭ ‬Ken‭ ‬is‭ ‬treated‭ ‬to‭ ‬a‭ ‬view‭ ‬of‭ ‬Cuckoo‭’‬s‭ ‬most‭ ‬private‭ ‬part.‭ ‬Still‭ ‬fuming,‭ ‬he‭ ‬goes‭ ‬back‭ ‬to‭ ‬bed,‭ ‬telling‭ ‬Lorna‭ ‬that‭ ‬he‭’‬s‭ ‬had‭ ‬enough‭ ‬of‭ ‬his‭ ‬son-in-law‭’‬s‭ ‬shameless‭ ‬nudity.‭ ‬Lorna‭ ‬soothes‭ ‬him,‭ ‬and‭ ‬the‭ ‬couple‭ ‬begin‭ ‬to‭ ‬get‭ ‬close…only‭ ‬to‭ ‬be‭ ‬disturbed‭ ‬by‭ ‬Cuckoo,‭ ‬still‭ ‬very‭ ‬naked,‭ ‬who‭’‬s‭ ‬come‭ ‬to‭ ‬give‭ ‬Ken‭ ‬the‭ ‬water‭ ‬he‭ ‬forgot‭ ‬in‭ ‬his‭ ‬rush‭ ‬to‭ ‬get‭ ‬away.‭ ‬He‭’‬s‭ ‬still‭ ‬wearing‭ ‬the‭ ‬towel.‭ ‬Unfortunately,‭ ‬it‭’‬s‭ ‬on‭ ‬his‭ ‬head.‭

The‭ ‬following‭ ‬morning,‭ ‬Lorna‭ ‬and‭ ‬Rachel‭ ‬are‭ ‬organising‭ ‬the‭ ‬guest‭ ‬list‭ ‬for‭ ‬a‭ ‬homecoming‭ ‬party‭ ‬for‭ ‬Rachel,‭ ‬who‭’‬s‭ ‬making‭ ‬her‭ ‬mum‭ ‬promise‭ ‬not‭ ‬to‭ ‬spill‭ ‬the‭ ‬beans‭ ‬to‭ ‬any‭ ‬of‭ ‬her‭ ‬friends‭ ‬about‭ ‬Cuckoo.‭ ‬Ken‭’‬s‭ ‬looking‭ ‬for‭ ‬his‭ ‬digital‭ ‬camera,‭ ‬which‭ ‬Dylan‭ ‬was‭ ‬last‭ ‬seen‭ ‬with‭ ‬but‭ ‬is‭ ‬denying‭ ‬all‭ ‬knowledge‭ ‬of.‭ ‬At‭ ‬the‭ ‬threat‭ ‬of‭ ‬a‭ ‬family‭ ‬meeting‭ ‬that‭ ‬evening,‭ ‬Dylan‭ ‬cracks‭ ‬and‭ ‬tells‭ ‬Ken‭ ‬it‭’‬s‭ ‬in‭ ‬his‭ ‬room,‭ ‬but‭ ‬Rachel‭ ‬is‭ ‬angry‭ ‬when‭ ‬she‭ ‬realises‭ ‬that‭ ‬Ken‭’‬s‭ ‬real‭ ‬intention‭ ‬is‭ ‬to‭ ‬challenge‭ ‬Cuckoo‭ ‬again.‭ ‬The‭ ‬latter‭ ‬is‭ ‬obliviously‭ ‬decorating‭ ‬his‭ ‬potato‭ ‬van,‭ ‬which‭ ‬he‭ ‬plans‭ ‬to‭ ‬use‭ ‬to‭ ‬spread‭ ‬the‭ ‬word‭ ‬of‭ ‬peace,‭ ‬reconciliation‭ ‬and…war‭ ‬against‭ ‬the‭ ‬state.‭

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That‭ ‬night,‭ ‬the‭ ‬family‭ ‬gather‭ ‬round‭ ‬the‭ ‬table.‭ ‬Cuckoo‭’‬s‭ ‬dressed‭ ‬this‭ ‬time,‭ ‬although‭ ‬the‭ ‬leopard‭ ‬print‭ ‬number‭ ‬he‭’‬s‭ ‬donned‭ ‬is‭ ‬only‭ ‬a‭ ‬little‭ ‬less‭ ‬eye-catching‭ ‬than‭ ‬the‭ ‬nudity.‭ ‬Ken‭ ‬makes‭ ‬it‭ ‬clear‭ ‬that‭ ‬the‭ ‬meeting‭ ‬will‭ ‬target‭ ‬nobody‭ ‬in‭ ‬particular,‭ ‬and‭ ‬that‭ ‬it‭ ‬will‭ ‬provide‭ ‬everyone‭ ‬in‭ ‬the‭ ‬house‭ ‬with‭ ‬a‭ ‬chance‭ ‬to‭ ‬air‭ ‬their‭ ‬complaints.‭ ‬He‭ ‬then‭ ‬takes‭ ‬the‭ ‬first‭ ‬opportunity‭ ‬to‭ ‬zero‭ ‬in‭ ‬on‭ ‬Cuckoo.‭ ‬Cuckoo‭ ‬reacts‭ ‬well‭ ‬to‭ ‬Ken‭’‬s‭ ‬request‭ ‬that‭ ‬he‭ ‬keep‭ ‬his‭ ‬clothes‭ ‬on‭ ‬when‭ ‬not‭ ‬in‭ ‬the‭ ‬shower,‭ ‬making‭ ‬love‭ ‬with‭ ‬his‭ ‬wife,‭ ‬or,‭ ‬indeed,‭ ‬making‭ ‬love‭ ‬with‭ ‬his‭ ‬wife‭ ‬in‭ ‬the‭ ‬shower,‭ ‬but‭ ‬he‭ ‬has‭ ‬a‭ ‬small‭ ‬favour‭ ‬to‭ ‬ask‭ ‬in‭ ‬return.‭ ‬As‭ ‬Ken‭’‬s‭ ‬study‭ ‬is‭ ‬the‭ ‬best‭ ‬place‭ ‬for‭ ‬him‭ ‬to‭ ‬meditate,‭ ‬he‭ ‬wants‭ ‬his‭ ‬father-in-law‭ ‬to‭ ‬shift‭ ‬his‭ ‬extensive‭ ‬collection‭ ‬of‭ ‬books‭ ‬on‭ ‬the‭ ‬Nazis.‭ ‬Ken‭ ‬protests‭ ‬that‭ ‬he‭ ‬has‭ ‬a‭ ‬perfectly‭ ‬valid‭ ‬historical‭ ‬interest‭ ‬in‭ ‬wartime‭ ‬Germany,‭ ‬but‭ ‬Cuckoo‭ ‬persists.‭ ‬He‭ ‬gently‭ ‬reminds‭ ‬Ken‭ ‬that‭ ‬there‭ ‬really‭ ‬isn‭’‬t‭ ‬much‭ ‬to‭ ‬know‭ ‬about‭ ‬the‭ ‬Nazis‭ – ‬they‭ ‬invaded‭ ‬Italy,‭ ‬they‭ ‬died‭ ‬of‭ ‬influenza‭ – ‬and‭ ‬that‭ ‬in‭ ‬his‭ ‬opinion,‭ ‬which‭ ‬Ken‭ ‬is‭ ‬free‭ ‬to‭ ‬disagree‭ ‬with,‭ ‬they‭ ‬weren‭’‬t‭ ‬very‭ ‬nice‭ ‬people.‭ ‬Cuckoo‭’‬s‭ ‬worry‭ ‬is‭ ‬that,‭ ‬surrounded‭ ‬by‭ ‬Nazi‭ ‬imagery‭ ‬while‭ ‬meditating,‭ ‬he‭ ‬himself‭ ‬could‭ ‬be‭ ‬overcome‭ ‬by‭ ‬the‭ ‬fascist‭ ‬vibes‭ ‬emanating‭ ‬from‭ ‬Ken‭’‬s‭ ‬shelves.‭ ‬While‭ ‬Ken‭’‬s‭ ‬mind‭ ‬is‭ ‬boggling,‭ ‬his‭ ‬family‭ ‬gang‭ ‬up‭ ‬on‭ ‬him,‭ ‬saying‭ ‬that‭ ‬he‭’‬s‭ ‬actually‭ ‬a‭ ‬bit‭ ‬like‭ ‬Hitler‭ ‬himself,‭ ‬and‭ ‬is‭ ‬being‭ ‬unreasonable.‭ ‬Ken‭ ‬stands‭ ‬firm.‭ ‬He‭ ‬most‭ ‬definitely‭ ‬does‭ ‬not‭ ‬have‭ ‬eyebrows‭ ‬like‭ ‬Hitler.‭

Lorna‭ ‬tries‭ ‬to‭ ‬persuade‭ ‬Ken,‭ ‬but‭ ‬he‭’‬s‭ ‬reluctant‭ ‬to‭ ‬give‭ ‬way.‭ ‬She‭ ‬wonders‭ ‬aloud‭ ‬whether‭ ‬this‭ ‬all‭ ‬boils‭ ‬down‭ ‬to‭ ‬the‭ ‬fact‭ ‬that‭ ‬Ken‭ ‬wants‭ ‬to‭ ‬prove‭ ‬he‭’‬s‭ ‬the‭ ‬bigger‭ ‬man‭ ‬than‭ ‬Cuckoo,‭ ‬and,‭ ‬having‭ ‬seen‭ ‬them‭ ‬both‭ ‬in‭ ‬the‭ ‬altogether…Ken‭ ‬demands‭ ‬that‭ ‬she‭ ‬finish‭ ‬that‭ ‬thought.‭ ‬Lorna‭ ‬blusters‭ ‬that‭ ‬Ken‭ ‬is‭ ‬definitely‭ ‬the‭ ‬more‭ ‬physically‭ ‬impressive‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬two‭ (‬ahem‭)‬,‭ ‬so‭ ‬should‭ ‬give‭ ‬way.‭ ‬Ken‭ ‬is‭ ‬mollified,‭ ‬and‭ ‬we‭ ‬next‭ ‬see‭ ‬him‭ ‬summoning‭ ‬Dylan‭ ‬to‭ ‬meet‭ ‬him‭ ‬at‭ ‬work.‭ ‬Ken‭ ‬wants‭ ‬Dylan‭’‬s‭ ‬vote,‭ ‬but‭ ‬there‭’‬s‭ ‬a‭ ‬price‭ ‬to‭ ‬be‭ ‬paid.‭ ‬The‭ ‬lustful‭ ‬teenager‭ ‬is‭ ‬determined‭ ‬to‭ ‬pull‭ ‬Zoë,‭ ‬the‭ ‬daughter‭ ‬of‭ ‬Ken‭ ‬and‭ ‬Lorna‭’‬s‭ ‬friends,‭ ‬Steve‭ (‬Ken‭ ‬Collard‭) ‬and‭ ‬Connie‭ (‬Selina‭ ‬Griffiths‭)‬,‭ ‬and‭ ‬wants‭ ‬her‭ ‬invited‭ ‬to‭ ‬Rachel‭’‬s‭ ‬homecoming‭ ‬party.‭ ‬Ken‭ ‬sets‭ ‬off‭ ‬on‭ ‬a‭ ‬mission‭ ‬to‭ ‬do‭ ‬just‭ ‬that,‭ ‬but‭ ‬struggles‭ ‬to‭ ‬convince‭ ‬the‭ ‬parents‭ ‬to‭ ‬change‭ ‬their‭ ‬plans‭ ‬and‭ ‬let‭ ‬Zoë‭ ‬spend‭ ‬time‭ ‬at‭ ‬their‭ ‬house‭ ‬before‭ ‬another‭ ‬party‭ ‬she‭’‬s‭ ‬committed‭ ‬to‭ ‬later‭ ‬that‭ ‬same‭ ‬night.‭ ‬Eventually,‭ ‬after‭ ‬making‭ ‬up‭ ‬a‭ ‬cock-and-bull‭ ‬story‭ ‬about‭ ‬some‭ ‬work‭ ‬experience‭ ‬training‭ ‬Zoë‭ ‬has‭ ‬to‭ ‬do,‭ ‬and‭ ‬offending‭ ‬Connie‭ ‬by‭ ‬refusing‭ ‬a‭ ‬snack‭ (“‬I‭ ‬don‭’‬t‭ ‬like‭ ‬your‭ ‬food‭”)‬,‭ ‬Ken‭ ‬gets‭ ‬his‭ ‬way.‭

After‭ ‬a‭ ‬conciliatory‭ ‬hug‭ ‬with‭ ‬Rachel‭ – ‬and‭ ‬a‭ ‬very‭ ‬unwelcome‭ ‬one‭ ‬from‭ ‬Cuckoo‭ ‬into‭ ‬the‭ ‬bargain‭ – ‬Ken‭’‬s‭ ‬scheme,‭ ‬and‭ ‬the‭ ‬party‭ ‬planning,‭ ‬get‭ ‬underway.‭ ‬After‭ ‬scrubbing‭ ‬an‭ ‬excess‭ ‬of‭ ‬aftershave‭ ‬off‭ ‬Dylan,‭ ‬the‭ ‬family‭ ‬is‭ ‬ready‭ ‬to‭ ‬welcome‭ ‬their‭ ‬guests.‭ ‬Lorna‭ ‬gives‭ ‬away‭ ‬more‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬secret‭ ‬than‭ ‬she‭ ‬planned,‭ ‬and‭ ‬Dylan‭ ‬has‭ ‬an‭ ‬unwelcome‭ ‬rival‭ ‬for‭ ‬Zoë‭’‬s‭ ‬affections‭ ‬in‭ ‬the‭ ‬shape‭ ‬of‭ ‬Charlie,‭ ‬a‭ ‬terrifyingly‭ ‬precocious‭ ‬twelve-year-old.‭ ‬When‭ ‬Rachel‭ ‬calls‭ ‬everyone‭ ‬together‭ ‬to‭ ‬make‭ ‬her‭ ‬big‭ ‬announcement,‭ ‬she‭’‬s‭ ‬disappointed‭ ‬to‭ ‬find‭ ‬that‭ ‬Lorna‭’‬s‭ ‘‬hints‭’ ‬to‭ ‬the‭ ‬guests‭ ‬have‭ ‬already‭ ‬done‭ ‬the‭ ‬job.‭ ‬Cuckoo‭ ‬makes‭ ‬one‭ ‬of‭ ‬his‭ ‬speeches‭ ‬about‭ ‬everyone‭ ‬being‭ ‬an‭ ‬embodiment‭ ‬of‭ ‬love,‭ ‬leaving‭ ‬the‭ ‬room‭ ‬baffled,‭ ‬while‭ ‬Dylan‭’‬s‭ ‬plans‭ ‬to‭ ‬get‭ ‬Zoë‭ ‬alone‭ ‬for‭ ‘‬massage‭ ‬practice‭’ ‬are‭ ‬scuppered‭ ‬by‭ ‬Charlie,‭ ‬who‭’‬s‭ ‬keen‭ ‬to‭ ‬volunteer‭ ‬himself‭ ‬for‭ ‬a‭ ‬good‭ ‬rub‭ ‬down‭ ‬instead.‭ ‬Ken,‭ ‬however,‭ ‬has‭ ‬his‭ ‬own‭ ‬close‭ ‬encounter‭ ‬with‭ ‬Zoë,‭ ‬who‭ ‬accuses‭ ‬him‭ ‬of‭ ‬an‭ ‬unhealthy‭ ‬interest‭ ‬in‭ ‬her‭ ‬when‭ ‬he‭ ‬summons‭ ‬her‭ ‬to‭ ‬his‭ ‬study‭ ‬to‭ ‬get‭ ‬the‭ ‬spurious‭ ‘‬training‭’ ‬over‭ ‬and‭ ‬done‭ ‬with.‭

Rachel,‭ ‬meanwhile,‭ ‬has‭ ‬to‭ ‬run‭ ‬the‭ ‬gauntlet‭ ‬of‭ ‬supposed‭ ‬well-wishers.‭ ‬Connie‭ ‬is‭ ‬keen‭ ‬to‭ ‬remind‭ ‬her‭ ‬that‭ ‬her‭ ‬son‭’‬s‭ ‬only‭ ‬too‭ ‬available‭ ‬for‭ ‬when‭ ‬she‭ ‬and‭ ‬Cuckoo‭ ‬inevitably‭ ‬go‭ ‬their‭ ‬separate‭ ‬ways‭ – ‬as‭ ‬Cuckoo‭ ‬stands‭ ‬there,‭ ‬beaming‭ ‬obliviously‭ – ‬while‭ ‬an‭ ‬old‭ ‘‬friend‭’ ‬from‭ ‬school‭ ‬is‭ ‬full‭ ‬of‭ ‬scarcely‭ ‬concealed‭ ‬hatred‭ ‬behind‭ ‬her‭ ‬rictus‭ ‬smile,‭ ‬insisting‭ ‬that‭ ‬she,‭ ‬the‭ ‘‬pretty‭ ‬one‭’‬,‭ ‬will‭ ‬soon‭ ‬be‭ ‬getting‭ ‬married‭ ‬too.‭ ‬This‭ ‬is,‭ ‬apparently,‭ ‬news‭ ‬to‭ ‬her‭ ‬boyfriend.‭ ‬The‭ ‬party‭ ‬picks‭ ‬up‭ ‬pace,‭ ‬and‭ ‬everyone‭ ‬starts‭ ‬dancing,‭ ‬because‭ ‬missing‭ ‬the‭ ‬opportunity‭ ‬to‭ ‬show‭ ‬Samberg‭ ‬getting‭ ‬his‭ ‬ridiculous‭ ‬groove‭ ‬on‭ ‬would‭ ‬be‭ ‬a‭ ‬real‭ ‬error‭ ‬on‭ ‬the‭ ‬part‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬writers.‭ ‬Rachel‭ ‬talks‭ ‬Zoë‭ ‬into‭ ‬getting‭ ‬off‭ ‬with‭ ‬Dylan,‭ ‬but‭ ‬disaster‭ ‬strikes‭ ‬when‭ ‬Steve‭ ‬offers‭ ‬to‭ ‬take‭ ‬a‭ ‬photo‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬new‭ ‬family‭ ‬group,‭ ‬only‭ ‬to‭ ‬find‭ ‬snaps‭ ‬of‭ ‬his‭ ‬daughter‭ ‬swimming‭ ‬stored‭ ‬on‭ ‬Ken‭’‬s‭ ‬camera.‭ ‬Ken‭ ‬stutters‭ ‬his‭ ‬incomprehension,‭ ‬but‭ ‬soon‭ ‬twigs‭ ‬that‭ ‬Dylan‭ ‬has‭ ‬been‭ ‬spying‭ ‬on‭ ‬Zoë‭ ‬during‭ ‬his‭ ‬lifeguarding‭ ‬duty.‭ ‬Steve‭ ‬is‭ ‬incandescent,‭ ‬and‭ ‬launches‭ ‬a‭ ‬chicken‭ ‬drumstick‭ ‬at‭ ‬Ken,‭ ‬but‭ ‬is‭ ‬eventually‭ ‬persuaded‭ ‬that‭ ‬the‭ ‬photos‭ ‬are‭ ‬actually‭ ‬Dylan‭’‬s.‭ ‬Mortified,‭ ‬the‭ ‬scheming‭ ‬teen‭ ‬plots‭ ‬revenge.‭

Sure‭ ‬enough,‭ ‬we‭ ‬next‭ ‬see‭ ‬Ken‭ ‬in‭ ‬his‭ ‬garage,‭ ‬surrounded‭ ‬by‭ ‬his‭ ‬beloved‭ ‬Nazi‭ ‬book‭ ‬collection.‭ ‬His‭ ‬deceit‭ ‬has‭ ‬been‭ ‬revealed.‭ ‬Cuckoo‭ ‬brings‭ ‬him‭ ‬a‭ ‬cup‭ ‬of‭ ‬tea‭ ‬as‭ ‬a‭ ‬peace‭ ‬offering,‭ ‬and‭ ‬sits‭ ‬down‭ ‬for‭ ‬a‭ ‬heart-to-heart.‭ ‬He‭ ‬tells‭ ‬Ken‭ ‬that‭ ‬he‭ ‬forgives‭ ‬him‭ ‬for‭ ‬trying‭ ‬to‭ ‬interfere‭ ‬with‭ ‬the‭ ‬democratic‭ ‬process,‭ ‬and‭ ‬that‭ ‬he‭ ‬sees‭ ‬him‭ ‬as‭ ‬the‭ ‬naughty‭ ‬one‭ ‬among‭ ‬his‭ ‬pupils‭ – ‬as‭ ‬opposed‭ ‬to‭ ‬Lorna,‭ ‬the‭ ‬happy‭ ‬one,‭ ‬Dylan,‭ ‬the‭ ‬dimwitted‭ ‬one,‭ ‬and‭ ‬Rachel,‭ ‬who‭’‬s‭ ‬the‭ ‬one‭ ‬he‭ ‬has‭ ‬sex‭ ‬with‭ (‘‬a‭ ‬lot‭’)‬.‭ ‬He‭ ‬envelops‭ ‬Ken‭ ‬in‭ ‬a‭ ‬warm‭ ‬hug.‭ ‬Ken‭’‬s‭ ‬face‭ ‬is‭ ‬that‭ ‬of‭ ‬a‭ ‬man‭ ‬with‭ ‬no‭ ‬energy‭ ‬left‭ ‬to‭ ‬scream.‭

This‭ ‬second‭ ‬episode‭ ‬of‭ ‬Cuckoo‭ ‬was‭ ‬much‭ ‬funnier‭ ‬than‭ ‬the‭ ‬opener,‭ ‬with‭ ‬some‭ ‬fantastic,‭ ‬laugh-out-loud‭ ‬moments‭ – ‬Cuckoo‭’‬s‭ ‬garbled‭ ‬understanding‭ ‬of‭ ‬Nazi‭ ‬Germany,‭ ‬the‭ ‬hilariously‭ ‬uncomfortable‭ ‬scene‭ ‬in‭ ‬Steve‭ ‬and‭ ‬Connie‭’‬s‭ ‬house,‭ ‬the‭ ‬pitch-perfect‭ ‬depiction‭ ‬of‭ ‬strained‭ ‬relations‭ ‬between‭ ‬supposed‭ ‬friends‭ ‬and‭ ‬neighbours‭ ‬in‭ ‬the‭ ‬backbiting‭ ‬atmosphere‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬homecoming‭ ‬party.‭ ‬Trouble‭ ‬is,‭ ‬this‭ ‬is‭ ‬a‭ ‬show‭ ‬of‭ ‬two‭ ‬halves.‭ ‬On‭ ‬one‭ ‬side‭ ‬is‭ ‬Andy‭ ‬Samberg,‭ ‬with‭ ‬his‭ ‬spot-on‭ ‬portrayal‭ ‬of‭ ‬a‭ ‬Californian‭ ‬stoner,‭ ‬smiling‭ ‬beatifically,‭ ‬babbling‭ ‬hippie‭ ‬nonsense,‭ ‬and‭ ‬occasionally‭ ‬letting‭ ‬rip‭ ‬with‭ ‬the‭ ‬kind‭ ‬of‭ ‬surreal‭ ‬genius‭ ‬fans‭ ‬of‭ ‬his‭ ‬Lonely‭ ‬Island‭ ‬and‭ ‬Saturday‭ ‬Night‭ ‬Live‭ ‬work‭ ‬know‭ ‬and‭ ‬love.‭ ‬On‭ ‬the‭ ‬other‭ ‬is‭ ‬the‭ ‬rest‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬cast,‭ ‬who‭ ‬really‭ ‬bring‭ ‬a‭ ‬lot‭ ‬to‭ ‬this‭ ‬episode.‭ ‬Greg‭ ‬Davies‭ ‬is‭ ‬brilliant,‭ ‬his‭ ‬expressions‭ ‬of‭ ‬disgust,‭ ‬confusion‭ ‬and‭ ‬despair‭ ‬really‭ ‬selling‭ ‬his‭ ‬lines,‭ ‬while‭ ‬Helen‭ ‬Baxendale‭ ‬gives‭ ‬Lorna‭ ‬a‭ ‬lovely‭ ‬zany‭ ‬quality‭ ‬that‭ ‬takes‭ ‬her‭ ‬beyond‭ ‬the‭ ‬sitcom‭ ‬mum‭ ‬stereotypes‭ ‬of‭ ‬last‭ ‬week.‭

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Between‭ ‬these‭ ‬two‭ ‬elements‭ ‬of‭ ‬Cuckoo,‭ ‬however,‭ ‬is‭ ‬an‭ ‬ocean,‭ ‬and‭ ‬I‭’‬m‭ ‬not‭ ‬talking‭ ‬about‭ ‬the‭ ‬Atlantic.‭ ‬Funnily‭ ‬enough,‭ ‬the‭ ‬fact‭ ‬that‭ ‬Samberg‭’‬s‭ ‬American‭ ‬isn‭’‬t‭ ‬the‭ ‬issue‭; ‬his‭ ‬character‭’‬s‭ ‬nationality‭ ‬is,‭ ‬refreshingly,‭ ‬never‭ ‬played‭ ‬for‭ ‬laughs,‭ ‬and‭ ‬writers‭ ‬Robin‭ ‬French‭ ‬and‭ ‬Kieron‭ ‬Quirke‭ ‬deserve‭ ‬plaudits‭ ‬for‭ ‬avoiding‭ ‬the‭ ‬easy‭ ‬pitfalls‭ ‬of‭ ‬cheap‭ ‬US‭ ‬versus‭ ‬UK‭ ‬gags.‭ ‬The‭ ‬real‭ ‬problem‭ ‬is‭ ‬the‭ ‬massive‭ ‬difference‭ ‬between‭ ‬Samberg‭’‬s‭ ‬comedy‭ ‬style‭ ‬and‭ ‬the‭ ‬scenario‭ ‬into‭ ‬which‭ ‬he‭’‬s‭ ‬been‭ ‬plunged.‭ ‬Samberg‭ ‬and‭ ‬his‭ ‬Lonely‭ ‬Island‭ ‬pals‭ ‬are‭ ‬masters‭ ‬of‭ ‬sharp‭ ‬satire,‭ ‬visual‭ ‬allusions‭ ‬and‭ ‬pop‭ ‬cultural‭ ‬references.‭ ‬Unfortunately,‭ ‬he‭’‬s‭ ‬had‭ ‬no‭ ‬hand‭ ‬in‭ ‬the‭ ‬script,‭ ‬so‭ ‬what‭ ‬we‭’‬re‭ ‬getting‭ ‬at‭ ‬the‭ ‬moment‭ ‬is‭ ‬a‭ ‬traditional‭ – ‬and‭ ‬often‭ ‬very‭ ‬funny‭ – ‬British‭ ‬sitcom,‭ ‬with‭ ‬a‭ ‬cheerily‭ ‬silly‭ ‬performance‭ ‬by‭ ‬Samberg‭ ‬at‭ ‬its‭ ‬centre‭ ‬that‭ ‬sometimes‭ ‬seems‭ ‬to‭ ‬have‭ ‬been‭ ‬grafted‭ ‬uneasily‭ ‬onto‭ ‬the‭ ‬rest‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬programme.‭ ‬It‭ ‬feels‭ ‬like‭ ‬something‭ ‬written‭ ‬for‭ ‬Russell‭ ‬Brand‭ ‬before‭ ‬Hollywood‭ ‬beckoned,‭ ‬which‭ ‬isn‭’‬t‭ ‬a‭ ‬problem,‭ ‬as‭ ‬such‭; ‬it‭’‬s‭ ‬just‭ ‬a‭ ‬bit‭ ‬of‭ ‬a‭ ‬waste‭ ‬of‭ ‬Samberg,‭ ‬whose‭ ‬particular‭ ‬brand‭ ‬of‭ ‬bonkers‭ ‬is‭ ‬rather‭ ‬different.‭

Watching‭ ‬Cuckoo‭ ‬always‭ ‬makes‭ ‬me‭ ‬want‭ ‬to‭ ‬stick‭ ‬Hot‭ ‬Rod‭ ‬in‭ ‬the‭ ‬DVD‭ ‬player‭ ‬immediately‭ ‬afterwards.‭ ‬If‭ ‬you‭ ‬like‭ ‬Samberg‭ ‬here,‭ ‬you‭’‬d‭ ‬be‭ ‬well‭ ‬advised‭ ‬to‭ ‬do‭ ‬the‭ ‬same.‭ ‬I‭ ‬dearly‭ ‬wish‭ ‬he‭’‬d‭ ‬crossed‭ ‬the‭ ‬Atlantic‭ ‬in‭ ‬time‭ ‬for‭ ‬a‭ ‬guest‭ ‬slot‭ ‬on‭ ‬one‭ ‬of‭ ‬Graham‭ ‬Linehan‭’‬s‭ ‬comedies,‭ ‬to‭ ‬join‭ ‬the‭ ‬Boosh‭ ‬on‭ ‬a‭ ‬journey‭ ‬through‭ ‬time‭ ‬and‭ ‬space,‭ ‬or‭ ‬even‭ ‬to‭ ‬out-crazy‭ ‬Vic‭ ‬and‭ ‬Bob‭ ‬on‭ ‬the‭ ‬late,‭ ‬lamented‭ ‬Shooting‭ ‬Stars.‭ ‬Any‭ ‬of‭ ‬these‭ ‬shows‭ ‬would‭ ‬have‭ ‬been‭ ‬a‭ ‬little‭ ‬closer‭ ‬to‭ ‬his‭ ‬natural‭ ‬habitat.‭ ‬As‭ ‬it‭ ‬stands,‭ ‬I‭ ‬can‭’‬t‭ ‬help‭ ‬but‭ ‬recommend‭ ‬Cuckoo‭ ‬for‭ ‬its‭ ‬many‭ ‬funny‭ ‬lines‭ ‬and‭ ‬array‭ ‬of‭ ‬lovely,‭ ‬if‭ ‬mismatched,‭ ‬performances,‭ ‬but,‭ ‬at‭ ‬this‭ ‬stage,‭ ‬it‭’‬s‭ ‬difficult‭ ‬to‭ ‬imagine‭ ‬that‭ ‬it‭’‬ll‭ ‬amount‭ ‬to‭ ‬more‭ ‬than‭ ‬the‭ ‬sum‭ ‬of‭ ‬its‭ ‬admittedly‭ ‬excellent‭ ‬parts.‭ ‬Next‭ ‬week‭ ‬will‭ ‬hopefully‭ ‬prove‭ ‬otherwise,‭ ‬with‭ ‬Cuckoo‭ ‬set‭ ‬to‭ ‬go‭ ‬on‭ ‬a‭ ‬boys‭’ ‬night‭ ‬out‭ ‬with‭ ‬Ken‭ ‬that,‭ ‬with‭ ‬any‭ ‬luck,‭ ‬will‭ ‬see‭ ‬Samberg‭ ‬and‭ ‬Davies‭ – ‬who‭ ‬really‭ ‬do‭ ‬work‭ ‬well‭ ‬together‭ – ‬given‭ ‬a‭ ‬chance‭ ‬to‭ ‬shine.‭

You can Gem’s review of Cuckoo’s first episode here.

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