Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Day 314, on which John thinks with his balls [9.11.10]

Dag tre hundrede og fjorten. Woo, Moleskining is fun. So is shooting Combines in Half-Life 2. Ah, about that; I've finally moved onto the next part of the story and the plotline is moving on faster than before. Good good good, no more mindless action and monsters etc. Even Alex is back, for two scenes. She gives you the Gravity Gun then leaves. Silly woman, I don't need no Gravity Gun. Actually, I don't like it. Too clunky. In a virtual-clunky way. I'll just stick to my SMG, that's served me well.


OK, we're continuing our patchy review season with a review of my current favourite TV programme, the comedy How Not To Live Your Life. Starting out on BBC3 a few years ago, the programme, directed, written by and starring the genius Dan Clark. Now the show is in its third series and it kicked off with a double-bill last night.


The show has four main characters. Firstly, there's Don (played by Dan Clark), the hapless idiot and protagonist in the programme. He's the lovable twit, who always thinks he's being cool or romantic, but is actually far from it. He narrates the programme and also intersperses the scenes with montages documenting '7 excuses Don could give for being late' or '12 answers to the Pub Quiz questions', etc. They were the defining parts of the first series, but now they've taken a back seat. Which, in a way, is good. It means the show is moving on.

Oh, also, there are three other main characters. The rather nice (heh heh) Sam, who is a student lodger in Don's house (which he inherited from his gran), who replaced Don's childhood sweetheart Abby last series; Mrs Treatchers who is some old woman who is annoying and for some reason is still in the programme; and finally Eddie Singh (played by David Armand), who is Mrs Treatcher's carer and Don's too. 'Cause Don's a lazy bastard who doesn't do anything.

I must admit I loved the end of the last series (2) of How Not To Live Your Life. For once, it got away from its formulaic Sam-gets-a-new-boyfriend format and ended in something interesting and dramatic. Don stood up for Eddie and was actual a decent guy for once, and was about to get it off with Sam. But then, Abby from series 1 texts him (that's how the kids do it these days) and says she's back from Australia. But what now!? Sam or Abby?

And that's where Series 2 left off. Now we have Series 3, I was eagerly awaiting what the next progression would be in the plot. Would Don and Sam get together? Would this be the only show I watch and talk this mindless sitcom stuff about? Well, no and hopefully. Before you know it, the snazzy new title sequence is over and there's Sam with some new boyfriend. And how does Mr. Clark explain this? Well, apparently he accidentally called Sam Abby and before you know it she's out the door. This is a pretty bad get-out, but I suppose the show has to return to its usual format. It's a shame, I'd hoped it was going to progress and get a few more dimensions. But sadly not.

As for the humour, Dan Clark's still topping that department. Lots of funny new stuff along with references to previous series: Don's trademark line 'think with your balls' (hence the title) plus a little 'throon' reference which only long-time HNTLYL fans will get. As I mentioned beforehand, there are fewer montages, but the  formulaic format of previous series seems to have loosened its grip on series 3 and the first episode is a great mix of crazy plotlines. Plus, Sam's new boyfriend stays on for two episodes, which is good. But Don and Sam should get together! ARGH!

What I always loved about HNTLYL was the subltle social commentary: in every episode there's a new social stereotype, be it the boring university lecturer, the uptight charity boss or the nerdy biology student. Dan's got them all covered, with my fave being the character briefly shown at the end of Series 2, the dick. Haha, there's no other way to describe him. A total jock, an obnoxious middle-aged man who drinks too much lager and plays dirty games with his friends. Whose only idea of a stag-do is drinking each other's urine. That episode in particular was so well observed.

But sadly it looks like, three series in, HNTLYL is still not getting that much publicity or popularity. And why? Well, it's broadcast on monday evenings at 10:30 on BBC3. It's no primetime TV show, and I hate Dan Clark for it. Apparently there's an episode featuring S&M later in the series. Why!? Why is that even necessary? It's no wonder the show has a limited audience. But ah well, there's always iPlayer for those who are hardcore fans.

Bring on the series, is all I can say. And jolly good work, all of you, haha.
~John

1 comment:

Karrde said...

Nathan Barley. Same guy. Much better. 4od.