Coming of Age, BBC3

by | Oct 1, 2008 | All, Reviews

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.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles

01/10/2008

Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!

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