Ideal, BBC3

by | Dec 27, 2005 | All, Reviews

Did we like it?

The festive edition of the Johnny Vegas sitcom provided a slice of urban life tinged with surrealism, which made it watchable.

What was good about it?

• Portishead’s Glory Box being played pre-credits.

• The fact that Ideal highlights a common occurrence within the UK: drug-dealing.

• Lovely Ronny Jhutti’s appearance.

• Cartoon Head’s weird seduction technique [first male-on-male nipple action on British TV?]

What was bad about it?

• Pregnant woman: who’s the father? Again a common occurrence but yawn!

• Ronny Jhutti’s hair: he looked like an extra from East Is East.

• The camp gay guy: why couldn’t the writers have come up with a gay Average Joe who dabbled in dope?

• The lesbian kiss seemed contrived: wouldn’t the promiscuous heterosexual woman have protested?

Ideal, BBC3, Tuesday 14 March 2006

Did we like it?

An enjoyable and original comedy which has shifted focus as far away from the rather dull topic of drug dealing as it’s possible to move when the central character follows that profession.

What was good about it?

• Johnny Vegas as Moz. Sure, he’s still weighed down by an accent that slurs like an off-course cruise liner dragging its keel along the floor of a shallow riverbed, but as he’s playing a slothful, one-dimensional Northerner such a deficiency becomes a virtue.

• Moz’s hapless efforts to charm his timid new neighbour Judith. As he spots her moving in, he stands in his doorway and stretches out his portly frame. Later, when Nicki storms out of the flat, Moz, eager to appear free and single, quizzically enquires of Judith, “Who was that?” But his cover is blown after Derrick and Yasuko turn up to invite Moz to be the best man at their wedding (only for a disgruntled Moz to discover he was about fiftieth choice, even in the queue after scoundrels such as Cartoon Head and Colin).

• When “on probation” Colin turns up and, like Derrick, confesses he is going to “cut down” his hash intake, Moz exclaims: “Not another one! You of all people; you haven’t got much to live for!”

• And when Colin tries to flog some mace to him, Moz exasperatedly replies: “You’re trying to sell me something specifically designed to protect me from people like you.”

• Moz deliberately and sympathetically giving the heavily pregnant Jenny a warning over the dangers of smoking while pregnant before selling her some dope. And Jenny’s worries that her verucca will prevent a water birth for her baby as she has already “booked in at Parkway Baths”.

• When PC reveals to Moz that he won’t be around anymore because he has been “recommended for promotion”, Moz implores him to “get embroiled in a scandal” to scupper it. But a resigned PC replies: “What’s the point? The official inquiry would be bound to clear my name.”

• And as PC leaves he resolves to “do everything I can to beat this” as though making a pledge to conquer an illicit addiction like alcoholism.

What was bad about it?

• The revolving door format may be effective for quick gags, but does little to build up narrative flow or sketch out characters so the audience cares about them. A case in point is the pregnant Jenny; if the viewers gave a damn about her well-being then they would be horrified at her attempts to buy dope from Moz (and accordingly lose respect for him). And while this apathy contributes to the gag, the fact that she, and almost all the other characters are ciphers (as well as being unlikeable), leaves the comedy feeling a little empty and dehumanised.

• The consequence of this, is that Ideal functions more like a succession of stand-up routines than a sitcom (with Johnny Vegas as compere), and the storylines appear tacked on as an afterthought to link the individual spots together.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles

27/12/2005

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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