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Episode 3 - Episode 3

28 March 2012

Credit Showtime

Episodes - 103 - Episode Three

Synopsis: The first table read goes well though Merc still isn't sold on the show. Matt questions whether the librarian character has to be a lesbian and Beverley refuses to deal with him. Sean ends up spending the day with him and they become friends. We also learn that Matt has a very large member which Beverley finds it difficult to ignore when she tries to clear the air with him.

The Good: This wasn't a good episode but there is still hope for the show. At its core the show is attempting to showcase some of the serious conflicts which go into putting together a sit com.

Matt makes the case that his character being in love with a lesbian is a fine idea in a shorter series but very limiting on a longer one. It's a serious point because British and American comedies do operate on vastly different scales. I also liked seeing Merc and Carol alone together where they interact more like a normal couple. It makes sense that she is the one pushing for "Pucks" where his attention span is much shorter.

I continue to appreciate the efforts to make Sean and Beverley the stars of the show. They scenes at the beginning and end of the episode did come across fairly well as a married couple dealing with a new stress in a plausible way.

The Bad:
However the show isn't clicking. There's something about the dialogue and structure that doesn't feel right.

I have made this point before but I think this admirable attempt to meld a British and an American show together suffers because it is two toned. On the one hand Sean and Beverley tend to have conversations that feel fairly real and light on jokes. Then you have Merc and Matt playing fairly typical punch line based characters. The tone therefore shifts back and forth oddly at times.

For example Matt le Blanc is playing a character very close to Joey in this episode. He actually yells "Vegas Betsy!" ("London Baby!" anyone?) and says "I love lesbian business" - both staples of his character in Friends. That is not to say that that is a bad thing. Matt knows how to play the role and the writers know how to make him look like a fun guy. However I'm not sure he blends well with Sean. Although their friendship makes sense there is something about Sean saying things like "Not just a porn actor, a porn star!" that make his dialogue seem weak by comparison. Similarly when Beverley is distracted by thoughts of how large Matt's penis is it feels like her character is being sacrificed to fit around the joke that's been built for him.

The reason things aren't clicking may be more complicated than I can put into words right now. But I don't feel like I'm rooting for Sean and Beverley. We already know where this chapter will end (from the clip in the first episode) and so the tension between them seems inevitable and not interesting at this point.

Comic Highlight:
Beverley speculates with the wardrobe guy over how old Morning really is. The costume guy speculates on some kind of Dorian Gray situation and amused me by saying "Somewhere she's got a painting of herself and it's looking like all kinds of shit."

There is still something appealing about seeing a different kind of comedy but this wasn't a good episode.



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