Did you hear the very sad news this week about the French chef who committed suicide following a restaurant critic’s savage reviews? It turns out he simply lost the huile d’olive. Thank you I’m here all week….sorry, but it’s the best joke about olive oil that I know. Anyway what’s the point? Well, although my good friend Simon told me that gag some time ago, I happened to come across someone on the internet this week who was being honest enough to admit that he just didn’t get the joke. And…?
And I got exactly the same feeling after having watched Peter Kay’s latest tv series Car Share. I read some conceited twaddle from the guy who’s a brand expert or something and who wrote the original brilliant script, before welcoming (through barely concealed gritted teeth) Peter Kay’s even more brilliant tweaking of his storylines. So plot-wise there’s this slightly naive single guy who’s a junior manager at a Bolton-based supermarket giving a lift to this female work colleague who is also single and you can hear her biological clock ticking away from a mile away. Oh and he likes pop music from the 80’s. And maybe they grow to like each other. Now where have I seen that before? On every bloody thing that Peter Kay’s ever done for goodness sake. I hale from the north however that eh up Bolton schtick is wearing thin on me.
But bloody hell every damn tv critic I’ve read this week is calling it the best tv series Peter Kay’s done since Phoenix Nights. Was there anything since? If so I must have missed it. And almost all of them were saying it’s not only charming, it’s full of hysterical lines and great acting. I heard Steve Wright on Radio 2 (alright I know he’s not Bertrand Russell) describe the opening scenes where Kay had a heated debate with his satnav as ‘outrageously funny’. Really? I’ve seen sharper humour on my grandson’s Peppa Pig dvd’s.
I watched several episodes online and the widely-applauded gentle humour just didn’t move out of first gear. And you can see the happy ending coming six episodes and seventeen bloody miles off. I get the plot (who wouldn’t?) but I just don’t find it laugh out loud funny. Or even slightly amusing.
And I felt exactly the same about the political satire Ballot Monkeys which is so contemporary it gets written just hours before each show goes out to keep it sounding up to the minute, sharp and relevant. But it’s very hit and miss. There’s obviously a lot of base material written to pad out the bulk of the show and the joins with the last-minute plot-lines are very clunky.
But there’s one lovely feature in the show in the shape of Melanie Buck an American spin-doctor (played by the seriously delightful Kathleen Rose Perkins from Episodes). She’s one of my guilty pleasures alongside Victoria Coren off Just Connect and Lucy Alexander off Homes Under the Hammer. Now they I do get.