This review contains spoilers.
5.3 The Goddaughter
This last and regrettably final series of Outnumbered is just going from strength to strength. The Swimming Competition was a clear step up from The Hamster and The Goddaughter is another jewel in the Outnumbered crown; it’s up there with the likes of The Airport and The Restaurant.
The principle focus of this week was, of course, the titular godchild: Pete’s friend’s daughter, Stacey (played by The White Queen’s Emily Berrington). She flaunted around the Brockman household in towels, talking openly about upping her bra size and “dressing like a prostitute” as Sue so frankly put it. With the likes of Jake running around it seemed like he would be the obvious one to be caught in Stacey’s skimpy thrall but instead it was Ben who the Brockman matriarch lost to “the testosterone express”. As I continually blather on about each week there was more and more character development for the kids and The Goddaughter was definite progress for Ben.
At the beginning of series five I had qualms over Ben and whether Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin would just use the mischievous ragamuffin card time and time again but as The Swimming Competition and now The Goddaughter prove, this is not the case. Ben’s thirteen and at a period in his life when girls are an enigma so when he’s assailed by Stacey in her towel it’s rather a shock to him. Of course Sue and Pete, being the meddling parents that they are, decide that it’s high time Ben gets the ‘talk’ or the ill-defined version Pete gave him. They leave the task in Jake’s unreliable hands after a botched attempt and, naturally, Ben’s brother’s chat with him is extremely amusing. What isn’t is his idiocy and mistreatment of both his ‘friend’, Alex and his girlfriend. I hope I’m not in the minority here in suspecting Sue was the one that told Jake’s lady friend about Alex staying over.
In the vast echo-chambers of the Internet I’ve seen certain fans of Outnumbered make an argument that the Brockman family should adopt. While it’s nice to see people so enthusiastic about the show, in my view it just wouldn’t work. The Goddaughter seals my argument shut and even sticks a neat bow on top; they can’t cope with a cute baby (coined ‘the Werewolf’ and no, that’s not ironic) for one night let alone for the rest of their lives. The baby did make for some wonderful gags, though, but what was even funnier, to me, was Pete and Sue’s text conversation with the infant’s parents. So as well as upping the game with stronger and stronger characterisation, Outnumbered is also cranking up the laugh-a-minute gauge.
Sitcoms are known for story arcs of some kind, to keep the audience coming back, and I’m glad to see Outnumbered have a few of their own for this series (previous runs have seen arcs like Ben’s never-ending lying, Sue’s icy relationship with former employer Veronica, and Pete making an allegedly racist comment to a pupil). Karen’s hamster may have disappeared for now (her interaction with Sue over giving up was very reminiscent of younger Karen) but I feel it may make a comeback as series five progresses and while I may have had hesitations about Ben starring in the musical adaption of Spartacus at the beginning, the actual performance could prove to be riotous.
Another week, another fantastic episode of Outnumbered, The Goddaughter was farcical in some ways, completely ordinary in others, reflective of modern families and above all, hilarious. I will be heartbroken when this fifth series ends.
Read Patrick’s review of the previous episode, The Swimming Competition, here.
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