Italian For Beginners
In a moment of admission, Graham Linehan confessed via Twitter that last week really wasn’t the show at its best. Reports from himself and folk at the taping reveal that a lot of it was pieced together on the actual day, suggesting that either circumstance was against it, or perhaps even that the script wasn’t finalised yet.
Whether or not you were made uncomfortable by Roy’s plot thread, it was universally agreed that it wasn’t full of chuckles. It seemed to be a dark moment for one of the finest sitcoms on TV.
This week is thankfully free of any such controversy. Jen is consumed with rivalry with the near-perfect businesswoman Linda, a lady who doesn’t let a silly little thing like childbirth slow her down. Moss is consumed with lust over a possibly free iPhone and it’s Roy’s turn to find love with the lady of his dreams. But something about her just doesn’t seem to add up…
What stands out in this episode for me is the wholesale recycling of jokes. Roy and his newfound ladylove smile at each other in a montage which is repeated with Roy looking a bit awkward. Just like Jen and the geeky keyboardist Norman last week. Douglas holds up a magazine and reads out the punchline. Just like he did last week.
It feels lazy, coming from someone who has written tons of material that covers the whole spectrum of comedy. From the fantastically rapidfire wit of The Fast Show to the dark skewed world view of Chris Morris’s Jam.
As for the rest of the episode, the mystery of Roy’s girlfriend peters out and goes nowhere. You can see the conclusion of Jen’s thread right from the start and Moss’s fake birth may have looked funny on paper but fails to ignite. Otherwise everything else is just kind of standard, Katherine Parkinson and Chris O’Dowd trade quips well and there’s some good physical acting from Richard Ayaode. There’s a few decent lines to make you LOL but nothing that will make you ROFLMAO.
The die-hard fans of the show, of which there are many, will find this enjoyable. The rest of us, passable.
Read Jake’s take on episode 3 here.