You can say what you like about Not Going Out, and I’m a fully signed up fan of the show, but its hit rate and laugh count consistently impress. And it did once more, again, in last night’s episode.
For me, the genius moment of this particular episode came with the mixing of a meeting between Lee and his date-turned-possible-daughter with an 80s karaoke night.
The whole scene was structured around the moment when Debbie The Possible Daughter dropped the bombshell that Lee might be her dad, just as the camera pulls round to Tim belting out the theme tune to Surprise, Surprise. Just a little contrived? Oh, yes. Funny? Most certainly. And we had Tim quoting Jennifer Lopez lines as well.
It was a smashing opening ten minutes to another fine episode (and if you were being very picky, you might suggest the back end could match the start). No wonder Lee Mack and Andrew Collins’ script returned for another bite at the gag, successfully again, later in the episode.
From there, the episode flitted between flashbacks and the present day, as the theme of it became finding out just who was the father of Debbie. Lee Mack and Tim Vine had fun with this, too, and they’re a successful double act here.
So, was it Tim, or was it Lee? Well, it didn’t take much working out, but as usual, it didn’t really matter.
Because once more, Not Going Out crackled with strong one-liners. It’s refreshing, I say again, to find a sitcom that has such a strong hit rate with its jokes. Even though this episode didn’t quite hit the heights of the series opener last week (which set a very high standard, for my money), there were still regular, solid laughs. And a smashed up crazy golf course.
There were not uncommon comedy staples here: the vertically-challenged character, a couple of northern jokes, the assorted strands of the ‘who is your father’ story. And in lesser hands, it could all go very wrong.
But it didn’t. And instead, for the second week running, I’m hoping that someone in the commissioning towers of the BBC is watching this show, laughing at it, and realising that more episodes need to be commission. The naan joke alone, wonderfully built up to for a single line, is worthy of at least calling in a meeting to discuss it.