Tuesday, 26 August 2008
The Cup, BBC2
No. This 'sitcom' about a dad obsessed with his son's football team was almost insultingly bad.
What was good about it?
• Tom Blackley, the coach of Ashburn U11s, briefly put us in mind of Grange Hill alumnus Mr Baxter. We were momentarily transported back to a TV show with some good writing, some good acting, some respect for its audience and some basic credibility.
• Along similar lines, we tuned out halfway through and started reminiscing about another children's drama that puts this apparently adult show to shame, Jossy's Giants. It was much better remembering Jossy spilling orange juice down his Newcastle United tie on his wedding day than the assortment of old-as-the-hills undertaker gags and laughable characterisations present in this show. If the BBC really wanted a comedy about a kids football team, why didn't they just ask Sid Waddell to rewrite Jossy's Giants for an older audience?
What was bad about it?
• The series utilises a 'mockumentary' approach that owes a very heavy debt to The Office (although this series has been adapted from a Canadaian series called The Tournament). This does it no favours at all. Where The Office was realistic, understated, intelligent and subtle, The Cup is unrealistic, over the top and, to put it bluntly, stupid.
• The Office also benefited from the fact that as viewers we cared about the characters, whether it was through hoping for a romance between Tim and Dawn or hoping to see Brent make a twat of himself. The Cup has no such believable characters, and so we care nothing for them. They're all risible stereotypes and the actors, although none covered themselves in glory, were shamefully hamstrung by the awful, facile script.
• The point of using a mockumentary format is to present comedy within realistic situations, utilising a sly deadpan humour. Yet none of that was here. One low point saw football dad Terry smacked in the head with a football. Hilarious. We could almost hear Homer Simpson shouting 'Football in the groin! Football in the groin!'
• There's more, such as how the 'jokes' were basically all the same style, just slightly repackaged each time and how the 'clever' way of demonstrating that this was a documentary was to let the camera sometimes lose focus. But, frankly, this diabolical attempt at a sitcom doesn't even deserve our time. Once again the BBC fails to tear us away from the Paramount chocolate box of acceptable comedy - Everybody Loves Chris, Scrubs, Frasier, 3rd Rock. Christ, we'd even take Two and a Half Men over this tripe.
Unforgotten: ITV's best crime drama
It's a new year and already the schedules are awash with crime dramas. Sherlock, Silent Witness, No Offence, Unforgotten, Death in Par...
Sherlock: What did we make of Episode 3?
It’s shock blankets a-plenty in the Sherlock fandom tonight as ‘The Final Problem’ made its explosive debut on television. Yes, tonight’s e...
Welcome back Endeavour!
This new series of the Morse prequel has returned in the midst of a busy and great period for British crime drama It might only be the fi...
Sherlock episode 2 proves it can still shock
When Sherlock returned on New Years Day, it was to mixed reviews. It was all a little bit marmite, with some already putty in Moffat and G...
The Best of 2016: Celebrating the best TV Of the Year
It's that time of year where pick the best shows of the year. A lot has been made of what generally awful year 2016 was but when the ...
Sherlock: Why do you make it so hard to love you?
It's important you know that I was a massive Sherlock for its first two series. It looked like nothing else on television and the ninet...
In the Flesh: Why we should be shouting about this more
Amid the tremendous bevy of high quality programmes delivered over the past few months – Prey , Happy Valley , From There to Here ...
Let it Shine: Has the BBC's new talent show have what it takes?
It’s the talent show that no one really expected (or perhaps even asked for), but here BBC One ’ s Let It Shine is anyway. The format i...