episodes

is anyone watching this?
it has Adrian Mole from Adrian Mole and Fran from Black Books and ZOMG JOEY. JOEEEEY. How you doin’?

But despite that I don’t like it much.

I think the main problem it suffers from is that it’s not very good. There’s a growing trend with comedy programs that humour is something which should take a back seat. It’s not that they try to be funny and fail, it’s more that they think about being funny then think better of it and instead shrug and look at you apologetically. It’s probably The Office’s fault, except they managed to pull it off. In Episodes none of the characters apart from the main two is particularly likable, and, I think, much humour is supposed to ensue from the fact there are many dislikable minor characters. It doesn’t work like that. The best comedy always involves mainly amiable people like in Friends or Frasier, or the main dislikable character is the hero, like Blackadder, Basil Fawlty or Bernard Black. We can all sort of relate to these people because despite the fact they are highly dysfunctional, they are surrounded by well meaning people who drive them insane. We have all been annoyed by someone and wished we could have reacted like Basil Fawlty would. We all know how it feels for a situation to conspire against us like it seems to Blackadder. But the same approach is not so for extras: they are normal people surrounded by people who ARE insane and intensely annoying, which is a different kettle of fish. Your first instinct is “just hit him and get it over with”. These people are out of line and the main characters did nothing to deserve it! Whereas if someone is out of line with Blackadder, well, he is an arse and he did deserve it. So there is a small humour fail in Episodes but Wallace the security guard is hilarious.

also: bonus film review: the girl with the dragon tattoo

Now here’s a strange film. The most striking feature is the gratuitous sexual violence it graphically portrays. The way it does it really is genuinely upsetting and disturbing in such a way that it is impossible to enjoy the film if you can’t stomach it, which apparently, I can’t. Actually for a while afterwards I was upset and quite angry with the film for being so in-your-face about it. I didn’t ask for that. But apart from that, in a bizarre juxtaposition, when you’re not being offended and upset, you’re being bored half to death. The rest of the film is intolerably dull. It’s almost 3 hours long and apart from the odd scene of horrifying violence, it’s just b-o-r-i-n-g. Aside from the fact nothing ever happens, the acting is totally unconvincing. It doesn’t help that it’s a Swedish film and it was dubbed into English by the kind of voice actors you expect to find in Fallout 3. But the overall point is that nothing ever happens in this film apart from the odd bit of extreme sadism. The author (it’s based on a book) presumably had a bit of a thing about sexual violance and was trying to make a point, but like as is usually the case when authors use fiction to try to make a point, it’s contrived and self indulgant and has little obvious point to anyone who is not the author*. I wouldn’t usually say this about a film, but it would have been far better if it had been made by Hollywood. I would give this film… 1/10.

*if it wasn’t for the subject matter it would be the kind of book to appear on a GCSE syllabus: something which students of the Emperor’s new clothes school of analysis would find much to pretend means something.

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