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Episode 1 - Episode 1

28 March 2012

Episodes - 101 - Episode One

Now this is an interesting one. I know Steven Mangan and Tamsin Greig very well from various British sit coms and am a big fan of Matt LeBlanc who steered into the curve as Friends declined and made Joey Tribbiani consistently likeable and funny right through to two seasons of Joey. They are about as odd a comedy combination as I can imagine though. Mangan and Greig can both be funny but I have yet to see them be likeable. They have both successfully played the kind of cynical, sarcastic, difficult people which British comedy fell in love with after the success of The Office. Whereas LeBlanc played the opposite, the kind of warm and silly character that American sit coms do well.

The pilot episode was actually pretty daring by not featuring LeBlanc except in one sequence. It showed an admirable commitment to make Mangan and Greig's characters, the Lincolns, an equal part of the show. Their dialogue was pretty good too. They sounded and acted like a British couple. When they said "wanker" and "bugger" it sounded like real people talking and not a stereotype. We got the chance to see them being seduced by the big American network and slowly realize that they were not really getting red carpet treatment but instead would have to pitch their show like any other writers.

While this sounds like a promising story and it's certainly a more detailed one than the average sit com gets, it didn't quite work out. As I said before Mangan and Greig aren't the most likeable people, nor did they gel as a particularly convincing couple. Their utter horror at having been seduced made them look naive more than it generated sympathy. The show was also fairly dryly put together and so although I did smile several times, I had trouble imagining exactly where the laughs will come from.

However I am intrigued. It has a very different feel to the average TV comedy and I am looking forward to seeing LeBlanc play a version of himself which should be interesting.



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