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Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Coming of Age, BBC3

Did we like it?
Getting a 19-year-old to write a sitcom reflecting the lives of young people is a good idea. Letting him (Tim Dawson) get away with something that plainly doesn't work is a very, very bad idea.

What was good about it?
• The actors seemed to be just about young enough to pass themselves of as sixth form students. But only one of them – Ceri Phillips as Ollie – could rise above the risible, innuendo-packed script.

What was bad about it?
• Coming of Age (which could have been called Two Pints of Sunny Delight and A Packet of Condoms) has an alarming failure to be remotely funny. It was better at being shocking – it's not often paedophile teachers or cum-soaked tissues crop up in knockabout comedy – and it's much better at being so puerile that even CBBC viewers would sneer.
• We suspect the harshest critics will be the teenagers this is aimed at. They will be insulted to be portrayed as selfish, sex-mad and stupid. E4 pulled off the teen comedy trick successfully in The Inbetweeners – and Two Pints has had its moments – so it's not an impossible task.
• Here's just one example of the unfunny writing. Ollie: "You're sadder than Richard Whitely." Mat: "He's dead." Ollie: "Exactly. It's really sad."
• Here's another: "I feel abused like Amy Winehouse's liver."
• And one more just to prove the point: "Pulling the purple party popper" – a description of masturbation.
• The plotlines – trying to get sex, bullying a fat frump, seducing a paedophile teacher to get a better grade, and stealing coursework – all fell flat. While we like dark humour, there was nothing clever or amsuing about a teacher telling a pupil: "You're hotter than a roomful of schoolgirls soaping their breasts."
• The characters – Chloe the grade A student with a pink bedroom and cuddly toy collection; Matt, the coursework stealing wimp who has reached level 14 of Final Fantasy 12 (which was just about the only gag that should have survived the editing process); flirty Jas; sex-obsessed Ollie; and DK, the stupid one.
• The running "little teapot" and fisting gags.
• DK's useless rapping and breakdancing – executed so much better in the Catherine Tate Show.
• The acting, although that can perhaps be excused because the young performers had so little to work with, thanks to a script with no heart.
• The laughter track. We do not believe for one second that was a realistic reaction.
• There seems to be no point in the piloting process if the channel controller then picks one of the weakest entries for a full run and makes it a lot less funny than the original.


Anonymous said...

'My name's Oliver Sinclair and I have a huge cock.'

No, you are a huge cock...

Anonymous said...

Love it! It is the best thing on tv at the moment <3

Martin said...

I love this show. It's a fresh and contemporary approach to the awkwardness of adolescent sex in the internet age.

Innuendo of the past was a cover for ignorance and taboo generating Benny Hill and Carry On and now parodied painfully by Little Britain. Today we know and talk far more openly about sex in all it manifest forms, good and bad.

Of course the characters and scenarios are caricatured. Should we assess Ab Fab by that criteria? But this approach provides a vehicle to laugh at things that we can all identify with.

The production, acting, characterisation and scripting are all first class. Well done.

Anonymous said...

This is a truly appalling sitcom.

Even if all young people were as vulgar and sex obsessed as they are portrayed in this show, having them act in this way is no substitute for writing material that actually is funny.

Good comedy should be observant and suprising and this is where the show falls down. No creativity is shown at all and the story follows a very stale blueprint where the conclussion is painfully obvious right from the expedition.

Anonymous said...

I really don't think I have seen a worse comedy in my entire life. I'm struggling to find a programme I have despised more than this.

Anonymous said...

Worst comedy I've ever seen. The gags were atrocious. Whoever let this trite see the light of day should be forced to watch it on a 24 hour loop a la A Clockwork Orange.

mr. angry said...

This 'sit-com' should be viewed only by those with a morbid facination for watching car-crash television.

It's simply the most lame, purile, un-funny, embarassing piece of cack ever to have been given the green light on the BBC. And that's saying something.

Whoever's responsible should be bound, gagged and fired out of a cannon.

Worst. Sitcom. Ever.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled across this show and i'm so glad i did. I can now confidently tell people i have seen the worst show ever to be broadcast on tv.

I am embarrassed for the writer, the actors, the production staff and most of all the person who commissioned this.

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