Friday, February 03, 2006

Friday Night Comedy

Remember when Channel 4 Friday Night Comedy was brilliant. (No question mark because you do). New Friends and Fraiser was the norm. Oh happy days. Then came Will and Grace. Shudder.

Now it's trying to reclaim its throne with varying success. My Name Is Earl continues to be quietly brilliant - heart-warming, surprising, laugh-out-loud funny and boasting a guy that appears to combine the coolest aspects of Dave Grohl and Morgan Spurlock. That's cool. It should be saccharine and horrible but the fact that Earl still gets things a bit wrong even while trying to be good keeps that aforementioned surprise factor (backing away, and then running from a man he found out was gay was a particular 'highlight', especially when Earl later admitted that running was perhaps a slight 'overreaction'). Great stuff.

But one show does not a renaissance make. So, they plugged The IT Crowd with an advert that looked like it'd been made by the same guy who did that waltzing one for Lost. Then they followed it up with clips from the show which showed that it was slightly less cutting egde than the first ad had implied. In fact, it looked like the last ten years of sitcom development had never happened - a laughter track, overacting... all of which channel 4 seemed to be explaining with the theory 'if it's funny, that stuff doesn't matter'.

Hmmm. There's one problem with that theory. I'll let you work that out for yourselves...

12 comments:

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Shoot me down but I did laugh...

HolyhosesRob said...

I couldn't be bothered to watch it in the end, though I thought I was going to give it a go. But I never liked Father Ted, so I didn't hold out much hope.

Come Friday, I realised that there are more laugh-out-loud moments in Judge John Deed than just about anything else on TV.

AnnaWaits said...

I can't say I didn't laugh once during The IT Crowd - Chris Morris doing a Ben Stiller in Dodgeball/General Melchett impression was alright, I guess.

[sarcasm]And women being obsessed with shoes! They *are* aren't they? That's why it's funny![/sarcasm]

:)

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

That we still need [/sacrasm] quotes for discussing stuff is a big problem... and this from someone whose male partner has just as many shows as she does (and I admit I do have a thing for them, I just rarely buy any...)

AnnaWaits said...

"That we still need [/sacrasm] quotes for discussing stuff is a big problem..."

Oh no, I was using them ironically... haha noted.

SimonHolyHoses said...

You may not believe this, but I worked in that (IT) office in 1997.

So true to life was it that I was convinced for at least half an hour that it must have been scripted by one of my former colleagues.

My wife says that when I talk to her about guitars/computers it sounds like I'm speaking in white noise too.

I was quite impressed with the level of realism thusly.

Paul Fuzz said...

The anti-Office/Curb back-to-basics 70's sit-com philosophy of The It Crowd would only have been justified if, as Anna says, the show had actually been any cop, which it clearly wasn't. The laughter track grated not because laughter tracks now sound terribly dated (though this is a real problem)but simply because there was so little to laugh at. My Name Is Earl manages to be big hearted and fun (very anti-Curb)without resorting to any of the late-period Reggie Perrin qualities of The It Crowd. Right on, Anna.

Deano said...

I quite enjoyed The IT Crowd, not brilliant by any means, but pleasent enough to watch - Morris was great, just a shame Ayodye seems incapable of acting anything but the confused geek, and even that's pretty bad.

Armando Iaunnuci spoke about the entire laughter track and old vs new sit-com stylings at his second oxford uni lecture last week, and raised some interesting points:
http://www.chortle.co.uk/news/feb06/armando610203.php

Reidski said...

I'll put my oar in - agree with those who say it is by no means the best thing to have hit our screens in years (that accolade goes to Curb Your Enthusiasm) but I did a lot of chortling out loud, which rarely happens (me being grumpy jock bugger).

And, if those who have worked in that environment say it is realistic, then surely it gets good marks for that.

Of course, as I say elsewhere, it would be a dull world if we all had the same tastes and beliefs.

Wow, this is shocking, I've just written three sentences without insulting anyone - I think!

Bye the way, I don't think I've visited your site before, just thought I'd say that first impression makes me want to return. With lisa being a regular, I thought it must be good!

AnnaWaits said...

Hey thanks, that means a lot. Yes, I like to think Lisa has good taste! Heehee.

And thanks for the link, Deano, I'll check it out.

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Ace! I'm managing to get people to come and see the joys of Annaworld!

AnnaWaits said...

Haha I think I have you to thank for about 90% of my visitors, so thank you indeed!