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Saturday, 12 January 2008

Spoons, Channel 4

Friday 27 September 2005
What to say if you liked it
A hilarious look at life over 30 for people who want to be 20 again.
What to say if you didn’t like it
A middle-aged, middle-class, middle-of-the-road muddle.

What was good about it?
• The man who brings his new girlfriend to meet his mother whom he then dumps after his mother gives him a curdled grimace and a shake of the head.
• The couple who pop into the adoption agency as part of their shopping trip, and storm out when they are told the process may take a while.
• Geoff’s diatribe about his distaste for “couply” meetings down the pub which included talking about: Keane, buying DVDs online, Sudoku, spending Christmas on a beach in Australia, playing badminton, the Tate Modern and casual racism amongst parents.
• Many of the sketches were much, much better than the dummy rounds Channel 4 have been firing to promote the show.
• The aggressive paintballer who uses his blind date as a human shield.
• The man who chooses to spend his time in an isolation booth rather than go home to be with his wife. He claims there’s been a motorway pile-up and that he’ll be delayed for seven or eight hours. “I forgot your sister was coming round,” he adds.
• The couple doing a Ouija board where he is forcefully directing the upturned glass. She believes they’ve made contact with her nan. “Nan”, she asks, “do you think it’s time I had kids?” He jerks the glass to “No”. To which she implores: “Then what will make me happy?” Again he directs the glass to the letters: T-R-Y-A-N-A-L. “Tryanal?” she exclaims quizzically. “What does that mean?”

What was bad about it?
• The characters in the sketches are almost all directionless ciphers which means such crucial comedy elements such as embarrassment are smothered. Take the bloke who meets his ex and her new boyfriend in the park, and then tries to convince them that he has a new girlfriend – pointing to a random woman. She is playing Frisbee with a man the bloke claims is her brother, until they start kissing. An almost exact, and far superior, replica of this strain of joke occurred in Only Fools when Rodney asked to dropped in a salubrious part of London to impress Cassandra and had to wave inanely at the window of his “home” at two strangers.
• The couple lying cosily on the sofa. “Fancy an early night?” he smarms, to which she agrees. But as she gets up to head to the bedroom, he says: “Well, I’ll put in a few hours on the PlayStation.” It was Shoot The Writers standard.
• The over-enthusiastic laughter track including the surgically-affixed applause.

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