Personally I don’t like social networking. Really, if I wanted to keep in contact with people I would email them. My friends are either down the pub or a call away, I don’t really want to be invited to throw snowballs at people, pretend to be a pirate or a zombie or a zombie pirate. But I must admit I am in a minority. The strangely addictive banality of social networking seems to appeal to a lot of people and it seems that nowhere is safe from the addictive qualities of the new networking sensation ‘FriendFace’ – even the IT department of Reynholm Industries.
Like a virus, FriendFace creeps up on everyone in this episode, first of all infecting Jen and then taking Moss and Roy in its addictive networking claws, eating away at their time like some rabid digital locust. Yes, this is really how much I don’t like the Facebook crowd and all the junk that goes with it, and for Graham Lineham to base an episode purely around this is my own private hell. Joking apart (or Joker apart…who we will get to later) the episode is still superb, with everyone completely hooked to this new way of being all ‘social’. From personalising their own Friendface site to the superb advert at the beginning, full of happy smiley people slowly losing their personality to the site (not to mention all their rights and copy-written material); but hey, it’s fun to make new friends, catch up with old ones and to look for companionship!
Things go too far, of course, and naturally take a turn for the worse as both Jen and Roy succumb to their addiction, with dangerous consequences when Jen meets up with some old friends and spreads a carpet of lies about her job and social standing; meantime Roy is hounded by an old flame who wears a little too much make-up.
The lies and fake stories pile up into into the farcical and – taking a page or two from the Alan Ayckbourn book of mistaken identity – the episode veers off into what looks like an episode of a 1970s sit-com, with Jen ‘married’ to Moss to impress her old friends whilst having an affair with Roy, who – in turn – is trying to get rid of his date…the usual stuff that makes up 101 lesser comedies.
Even with this trite and rather silly set-up, the episode is still superb, with Moss once again stealing the show when he professes to be a professional Tennis player with a lot of ‘seed’ and a voracious sex-life with Jen. With everyone all mixed up and in a tangled web of deceit and lies, the guys do what they always do in a situation like this and run away, which is something I was ready to do when I found that the episode was to focus on social networking (an easy target for Graham Lineham). But I am glad I stayed around; once again the show fires on all comedy cylinders and provides another five star comedy fest.
Check out all Rob’s reviews of season 3: