First aired:25th February 2011
Tamsein Greig – Jackie
Paul Ritterer – Martin
Simon Bird – Adam
Tom Rosenthal – Jonny
Mark Heap – Jim Bell
Matthew Holmes – Chris Parker
Synopsis: Adam his older brother Jonny arrive at mum and dad’s for their usual Friday dinner, only to find the next door neighour Jim Bell using the downstairs loo, with his unfeasibly large dog Wilson standing outside.
The pair find their parents going through the shed, trying to sort it out. Mum, obsesses about the bum of a greek guy on Masterchef, while half deaf topless dad tries to save his New Scientist magazines, without his wife knowing, bringing his sons into this plot.
The family start dinner, backbiting and dad jokes aplenty as well as interruptions from next door neighbour Jim using their toilet again. Mum and Dad comment on their sons’ love-lives while the brothers try to trick one another to drink salt water while another stranger comes in and uses the loo. It turns out he’s the man buying the sofa-bed that Martin and Jackie are selling. Dad hurts his back and so younger son Adam helps the stranger (Chris) carry it down, but it gets stuck.
While this is going on, Jonny is saving dad’s magazines and getting caught by mum, causing another argument. Just as that is going on, Chris gets a call that his dad has passed away, making his buying the sofa-bed pointless. The family try to console him, but he gets caught up in the drinking salt water pranks and runs out, just as the sofa collapses the stairs.
Notes: Everybody comes from somewhere. We all at some point had family, so some things are universal. Most of us have an oddball or two in the family, if that person doesn’t pop into your head at once, then that oddball is you. This is a family where, it’s not as easy to make that distinction. Two sons make their weekly pilgramage to the family home for dinner. Mum makes dinner, Dad is well being Dad and the two brothers devolve into their petty sibling rivalry. I don’t know about you, but that sounds very relateable. For many years, my brother and I reverted to our previous selves around one another, in both good and bad ways. With such a basic set up, full of relatable situations and dynamics, it would be very easy for this show to be boring, or not be funny. Fortunately, this clears both obstacles.
The cast are high quality with Tamsin Greig’s stereotypical mum, but still layered in some comedic weirdness and embarassing honesty. Older son Jonny is quite unlikeable as the entitled son, who never really got told no and younger son Adam is the coddled baby of the family. They are well acted and given excellent material to work with, as is neighbour Jim, but to me the star of the show is half deaf and half naked Dad. From his incessant interference in his younger son’s lovelife, to his spending most of the evening with no top on (I am guessing that will be a frequent occurrence) to his dad-level in jokes with his wife. “This is a lovely bit of squirrel Jackie.” He creates a character that you believe is a devoted husband and doting father, while still a bizarre in a number of ways. The overall result is a relatable family scene that devolves into a farcical turn of bizarre events. It’s very rare that you see such a well polished and funny sitcom arrive so fully formed. The MIGHTY Rosie and I found this a joy to watch.
Does it work? Yes, it’s a basic fixed location sit-com, there’s little wrong with that.
Does much need fixing? Nothing, it can either be a pilot or just another episode, so there’s no fixing required.
Does it stand up? To multiple re-viewings.
Do I want to watch the next one? Yes I did.
Did I enjoy it? Very much.
Overall: 5/5 This was a perfect comedy, mixing relatability with a wacky farcical series of events and I enjoyed all of it.