'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

What's currently on the box
Post Reply
User avatar
Controller 2957
625 lines
Posts: 196
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2012 4:27 pm
Location: Derby, UK
Contact:

'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by Controller 2957 »

I'm a little surprised no one's bothered with review or commenting on these... so I'll start the ball rolling...

'Vicious...' - It's a bit of a curate's egg. It's so much like a traditional sitcom - obviously stagy sets, generic characters (the bickering-but-still-love-each-other couple, the needy spinster, the scatty friend, the pop-in neighbour etc.) and the join-the-dots plotting - but with the 'modern' twist of the couple being same-sex. It isn't shocking and there is a certain warmth about it... and it CAN be quite funny, but for the life of me I just can't figure out what it's trying to be...

'The Job Lot' - Yet another 'Office-a-like' but still reasonably funny for it. All the same I feel a bit like Russell Tovey's splashing around in the shallow end with this... Sarah Hadland's neurotic Trish hasn't got that uncomfortably unpredictable edge that Ricky Gervais' David Brent had and the rest of the cast are pretty much 'Office' Xeroxes with a few tweaks... It's actually so formulaic that it could run for years.
You see, no-one... NO-ONE escapes the new world!!

The Official Timeslip Website
http://www.timeslip.org.uk

User avatar
Bob Richardson
625 lines
Posts: 493
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:47 pm
Location: Gallifrey west

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by Bob Richardson »

The three star names attracted me to this one but I found it dated and almost unwatchable. Brian Sewell tore it to pieces in his Evening Standard review and I found myself agreeing with his assessment.

I'm told that episode three was the first to be recorded, to give the cast a bit of a run-up to the first instalment but it doesn't seem to have worked very well. A friend who saw the first recording (Ep 3) recommended it to me, so perhaps the scripts get better. I'll stick with it for one more episode.
"Forfar 5 - East Fife 4"

User avatar
Roll ACR
625 lines
Posts: 233
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:11 pm
Location: Winchester

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by Roll ACR »

I made a point of tuning in for the launch night. Of the two, I preferred "The Job Lot" and thought it had more about it than "Vicious". Which was, I agree, a very generic scenario and extremely badly made technically. What is it with multi-cam sit-com these days? The same Directors and Cameramen churning out the same old visual dog's dinner time after time. I think there should be some new blood sitting in the Director's chair and overseeing the ped pushers on the floor. Just my opinion though. Also, I read in a review a remark about the reviewer half expecting Derek Jacobi to turn to camera for Miranda-esque face pulling. I did rather think that he was overdoing the flounces. Also thought they could've found a better and rather more handsome actor to play the "hot" young neighbour.

However, for all the criticism, good on ITV for having a crack at it.

User avatar
atomic23
405 lines
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:16 am

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by atomic23 »

Well maybe it's because I'm a daft old queen but me and my other half are loving every minute of 'Vicious'. It's laugh-out-loud material all the way and has been every week since it started. 'The Job Lot' on the other hand is dire. If anyone thinks a job centre is like that then they obviously have never set foot in one before. I find it totally unbelievable and even Russell Tovey isn't a good enough reason to keep on watching it. In fact the only reason we are still watching is simply that it follows 'Vicious'.

ayrshireman
625 lines
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2012 2:51 pm

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by ayrshireman »

I too am loving Vicious.

This week's clubbing episode has been the best yet.

didi-5
625 lines
Posts: 119
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:42 pm
Location: London, UK
Contact:

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by didi-5 »

Yes, last night's Vicious was hilarious!

ayrshireman
625 lines
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2012 2:51 pm

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by ayrshireman »

"There's someone older than us."
"It's a mirror!"


'Ever since they came up with lesbians who aren't plain and misshapen, I'm confused'

LOL

ayrshireman
625 lines
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2012 2:51 pm

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by ayrshireman »

Both renewed for second series.

http://www.tvwise.co.uk/category/news/uk/

Steve Williams
625 lines
Posts: 230
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:49 pm

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by Steve Williams »

I think this proves that the the suggestion comedy doesn't get a chance is bogus, as the ratings for both these shows collapsed during the run. Count Arthur Strong has also been recommissioned despite not even getting a million viewers. I think it's harder these days to find a sitcom that doesn't get a second series.

User avatar
Richard A
625 lines
Posts: 292
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:10 pm

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by Richard A »

Other than Ben Elton's brutal exposé of the BBC's commissioning system The Wright Way, of course.

Mike S
D-MAC
Posts: 725
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:05 pm

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by Mike S »

The 'They don't give comedy a chance these days' thing (most recently voiced by Nicholas Lyndhurst) is broadly true, but I'm always wary of the assumption that The Past was a nirvana of open-minded, if-it-doesn't-work-try-something-else experimentation. For a start, it underestimates how much comedians (and others) had to fight to do things their way.

User avatar
Beaker
625 lines
Posts: 275
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 11:22 pm

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by Beaker »

Good news, very pleased about all three re-commissions.

Lyndhurst is wrong, there are opportunities for new comedy. Its not easy, but it never has been and the irony of him bemoaning TV companies playing it safe while joining the cast of New Tricks is clearly lost on him.
If I were creating the world I wouldn't mess about with butterflies and daffodils. I would have started with lasers, eight o'clock, Day One!

Steve Williams
625 lines
Posts: 230
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:49 pm

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by Steve Williams »

Mike S wrote:The 'They don't give comedy a chance these days' thing (most recently voiced by Nicholas Lyndhurst) is broadly true, but I'm always wary of the assumption that The Past was a nirvana of open-minded, if-it-doesn't-work-try-something-else experimentation. For a start, it underestimates how much comedians (and others) had to fight to do things their way.
Indeed, you can cite Red Dwarf, given they tell the story that Gareth Gwenlan said there needed to be a sofa in it because sitcoms had sofas, and Girls on Top where French and Saunders said they asked if they could light it in a different way and they were told they couldn't because that's how they lit sitcoms. Hard to imagine the likes of Stewart Lee having to battle so hard these days.

Lyndhurst's examples were terrible, he said Dad's Army could never be made today. No way was that a risk to the Beeb at the time. The main cast were realy bloody famous, Lowe and Le Mesurier were popular actors before they did Dad's Army and David Croft was of course a producer at the Beeb with a host of credits under his belt. It was as much of a risk to commission that in 1968 as it was for the Beeb to commission Big School in 2013. Only Fools is another one, Sullivan was a "name" writer and, if not a household name, David Jason was certainly a familiar actor.

The Wright Way wasn't a success critically or commercially, and it was clearly intended to be a populist series, so it didn't work in any regard.

Mike S
D-MAC
Posts: 725
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:05 pm

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by Mike S »

There's two separate isuses - the 'giving things a chance' thing and the 'compliance hell' one. The latter has no doubt got worse post-Sachsgate, but then I also think back to Bill Cotton and Duncan Wood being a right pain in the arse in their micro-management of Python series 3, or John Howard Davies freaking out over NTNCOCN's 'Kinda Lingers' and David Hatch spitting feathers about MWE's 'Shag Or Die'. There's loads of horror stories from the past, to be sure.

User avatar
Ross
D-MAC
Posts: 648
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:06 am

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by Ross »

John Howard Davies may have freaked out over Kinda Lingers, but it still went out; ditto most of the stuff that the Pythons did that Bill Cotton Jnr disliked.

The cancer/gangrene substitute was silly, but the "strangling animals and masturbation" line was just a lazy "shocking" line to get a cheap laugh. It shouldn't have been there in the first place.

The dead mother sketch was watered down but still strong meat, pardon the pun. I quite like the compromise, getting the audience to invade the stage, which undercut it nicely, even if the audience were bad at pretending to be outraged. Even so, the the whole sketch was just shock tactics rather than something genuinely funny. As with the extreme bits in The Meaning of Life, you laugh at the audacity rather than the good humour.

As for sitcoms of the olden (pre-1985) days being given a second chance, there were a few that weren't, some with respected names attached: Feet First (Esmonde and Larbey) and Odd Man Out (John Inman), recently released on DVD, spring to mind. Also Our Kid (Waterhouse & Hall); Come Back Mrs Noah (Mollie Sugden; David Croft); The Wackers (Vince Powell).

Mike S
D-MAC
Posts: 725
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:05 pm

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by Mike S »

Ross wrote:John Howard Davies may have freaked out over Kinda Lingers, but it still went out; ditto most of the stuff that the Pythons did that Bill Cotton Jnr disliked.
Yeah, but only because they fought for them, or were clever in their negotiations/compromises. I wonder how many people who moan into their pints about 'compliance culture' have the same fire in their bellies.

Kinda Lingers only just got in, anyway - hence it's the final item in the show (even appearing after the copyright date), in case it needed to be lopped off literally at the last minute. The pun was an afterthought/compromise too, only appearing as a caption and in the studio intro - if you watch the song, they clearly are just singing 'cunnilingus' each time! It was never meant to be a double entendre - just a joke about it being an easier word to say than goodbye.
The cancer/gangrene substitute was silly, but the "strangling animals and masturbation" line was just a lazy "shocking" line to get a cheap laugh. It shouldn't have been there in the first place.
Oh, nonsense - that line would have been a tea-spluttering joy in 1972!

They definitely shouldn't have cut 'What a silly bunt' anyway.
The dead mother sketch was watered down but still strong meat, pardon the pun. I quite like the compromise, getting the audience to invade the stage, which undercut it nicely, even if the audience were bad at pretending to be outraged. Even so, the the whole sketch was just shock tactics rather than something genuinely funny. As with the extreme bits in The Meaning of Life, you laugh at the audacity rather than the good humour.
I don't know, I think shock tactics can sometimes be funny in themselves. I liked the fact that Python contained bits which weren't necessarily there to be funny, but to disturb and unseat the viewer - Sam Peckinpah's Salad Days, for instance. And an awful lot of Gilliam's stuff.

User avatar
Ross
D-MAC
Posts: 648
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:06 am

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by Ross »

Salad Days has a comedy point to make about film violence and how it can seem funny if used in different genres.

Dead Mother isn't really making a point (or if it is it escaped me), it's just a bit of outrageous fun.

As for 'masturbation', they could have used even ruder things, but the effect would've been the same: an incredulous "Oh my God! Did he really say that?" laugh.

I suppose you could come up with a subtext for Mr Creosote, about gluttony or class, but really it's just funny because it's so outrageous. I suppose that's why I like Creosote a lot and quite like Dead Mother whilst not caring so much for Summarise Proust. If you're going for shock tactics, go all the way. A reference to masturbation just seemed a bit puerile to me; something for schoolboys to snigger at, but no more.

I think the compliance culture is mostly an annoyance as it seems quite random at times and seems to be attacking stuff that was once commonplace. Python and NTNOCN were actually pushing back boundaries. I still think there should be boundaries, though. Sometimes it's healthy for daring comics to be told no. It has to be for a good reason though (like someone at the BBC cutting the Andrew Sachs call before it was transmitted) rather than silly things like "We always light sitcoms that way."

Mike S
D-MAC
Posts: 725
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:05 pm

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by Mike S »

It's ironic that the bit that sticks in loads of people's memories from Mr Creosote is the 'waffer-thin mint' line: ie, not the gross-out money shot, but a tiny bit of dialogue detail.

I'm very find of the quiet/underplayed version of Undertaker they do on the album.

GarethR
HD
Posts: 1160
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:18 pm

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by GarethR »

Mike S wrote:The 'They don't give comedy a chance these days' thing (most recently voiced by Nicholas Lyndhurst) is broadly true, but I'm always wary of the assumption that The Past was a nirvana of open-minded, if-it-doesn't-work-try-something-else experimentation. For a start, it underestimates how much comedians (and others) had to fight to do things their way.
Not forgetting the fact that a lot of innovative comedy was in no small part allowed to be innovative because it was scheduled in low-priority slots that the suits weren't particularly bothered about. When there are no great expectations of how well you're going to do, you can (or at least could) often find yourself largely left alone to get on with it the way you want to. Once you've made a bit of a name for yourself, though, you can find unwelcome interest being taken by the grown-ups.

David Savage
405 lines
Posts: 89
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by David Savage »

Mike S wrote:It's ironic that the bit that sticks in loads of people's memories from Mr Creosote is the 'waffer-thin mint' line: ie, not the gross-out money shot, but a tiny bit of dialogue detail.
Is that actually true, though?! I've never heard anyone quote that, and scanning through imdb's comments, it tends to be the "money shot" they almost all mention.

Mike S
D-MAC
Posts: 725
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:05 pm

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by Mike S »

GarethR wrote: Not forgetting the fact that a lot of innovative comedy was in no small part allowed to be innovative because it was scheduled in low-priority slots that the suits weren't particularly bothered about. When there are no great expectations of how well you're going to do, you can (or at least could) often find yourself largely left alone to get on with it the way you want to. Once you've made a bit of a name for yourself, though, you can find unwelcome interest being taken by the grown-ups.
Yes, and I guess that's what's gone - even shows occoupying 'backwater' channels/timeslots are now under pressure from the outset. There are no real playgrounds any more.

Python's an odd example, though, being one of the few (only?) comedy shows to transfer from BBC1 to BBC2 at the height of its popularity. Although series four did get a repeat at 8:30pm on BBC1 - something I still find extraordinary!

GarethR
HD
Posts: 1160
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:18 pm

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by GarethR »

The Goon Show is probably the definitive example of the comedy series that was groundbreaking *despite* the BBC's system and not *because* of it.

David Savage
405 lines
Posts: 89
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by David Savage »

Mike S wrote: Python's an odd example, though, being one of the few (only?) comedy shows to transfer from BBC1 to BBC2 at the height of its popularity.
I expect that was because Cleese left, and the BBC were uncertain about the show without him.

GarethR
HD
Posts: 1160
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:18 pm

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by GarethR »

David Savage wrote:
Mike S wrote:It's ironic that the bit that sticks in loads of people's memories from Mr Creosote is the 'waffer-thin mint' line: ie, not the gross-out money shot, but a tiny bit of dialogue detail.
Is that actually true, though?! I've never heard anyone quote that, and scanning through imdb's comments, it tends to be the "money shot" they almost all mention.
Over the past 30 years I've heard "waffer-thin mint" quoted more times than I could remember. I was about to say that it was a meme in its own right long before the concept of the meme existed, until I read that Dawkins coined it in 1976.

Mike S
D-MAC
Posts: 725
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:05 pm

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by Mike S »

GarethR wrote:The Goon Show is probably the definitive example of the comedy series that was groundbreaking *despite* the BBC's system and not *because* of it.
You mean because they found innovative ways of smugging filth (usually in plain sight) past the grown-ups?

The trouble is, that approach didn't really work for the Python and NTNOCN generations, where being explicit became part of the joke. There was inevitably this weird stand-off between the old and new guard, where the likes of Ronnie Barker felt there was something somehow superior about innuendo. All those 'winter draws on' jokes were funny in an age when the Lord Chamberlain had to veto everything, but by the 70s they were just one way (among many others) of doing comedy. I've always thought less of Barker due to his reaction to 'The Two Ninnies' - it was apparently fine for him to cheek his elders but not for Griff and co.

GarethR
HD
Posts: 1160
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:18 pm

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by GarethR »

Mike S wrote: You mean because they found innovative ways of smugging filth (usually in plain sight) past the grown-ups?
Not really. It's more about Milligan's constant battles with the BBC's internal systems over anything and everything to do with the show. I've never associated The Goon Show with smuggled filth particularly (obvious things like Pink Oboe aside), that's much more of a Round The Horne thing to me.

User avatar
Nick Cooper 625
D-MAC
Posts: 968
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:42 am
Location: Hither Green, London
Contact:

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

Steve Williams wrote:Lyndhurst's examples were terrible, he said Dad's Army could never be made today. No way was that a risk to the Beeb at the time. The main cast were realy bloody famous, Lowe and Le Mesurier were popular actors before they did Dad's Army and David Croft was of course a producer at the Beeb with a host of credits under his belt. It was as much of a risk to commission that in 1968 as it was for the Beeb to commission Big School in 2013.
The difference, though, being that Dad's Army was about old soldiers, written by and played by old soldiers, whereas Big School is clearly the product of people whose only experience of school was a pupils, and boy, does it show!
"Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo." [Wells]

User avatar
Ross
D-MAC
Posts: 648
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:06 am

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by Ross »

Jimmy Perry's sitcoms were very autobigraphical. He was a gangly youth in the home guard, was in the Royal Artillery concert party in Burma, and then was a young redcoat at Butlins.

Even You Rang M'Lord was based on stories told to him by his grandfather, a former butler.

He was never a garden ornament, though, which is maybe why The Gnomes of Dulwich only lasted one series. Sometimes the cliche "write about what you know" is sage advice.

David Savage
405 lines
Posts: 89
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: 'Vicious...' and 'The Job Lot'.

Post by David Savage »

Mike S wrote: Python's an odd example, though, being one of the few (only?) comedy shows to transfer from BBC1 to BBC2 at the height of its popularity. Although series four did get a repeat at 8:30pm on BBC1 - something I still find extraordinary!

Something to blow your mind further: I think BBC(1) Wales repeated it at 7.40pm!

Post Reply