Be­yond the bawdry is a show find­ing its feet

Sinchronic­ity 10pm, SBS

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv - Ker­rie Mur­phy

THAT the first topic of con­ver­sa­tion in the de­but episode of Sinchronic­ity is an at­ten­tion- get­ter — the case of a wo­man with two vagi­nas — should be a clear in­di­ca­tion of the na­ture of this amus­ing new Bri­tish dram­edy.

The wo­man in ques­tion doesn’t play a big role in the show but the lively con­ver­sa­tion sets up the dy­namic of the three twen­tysome­thing main char­ac­ters, Nathan ( Paul Che­quer), a porn jour­nal­ist; his suc­cess­ful fi­nan­cial con­sul­tant best friend, Ja­son ( Daniel Per­ci­val); and Ja­son’s girl­friend, Fi ( Jemima Rooper), for whom Nathan car­ries a torch.

The dual girly bits also an­nounce Sinchronic­ity as a show that is try­ing a bit too hard ( along with the punny ti­tle) to be cool and bound­ary­push­ing. Throw in lots of fast edit­ing, nar­ra­tion by Nathan that in­cludes him turn­ing to ad­dress the au­di­ence and a jumpy nar­ra­tive in which early scenes are ex­plained more fully later on, and Sinchronic­ity al­most doesn’t work. That it does is in part thanks to the fact that while Nathan may be a wom­an­is­ing sleaze who spends his life try­ing to find new pec­ca­dil­los to doc­u­ment in de­tail for his sex- crazed ed­i­tor, he’s also kind of lik­able.

Sinchronic­ity is spir­i­tu­ally akin to last year’s con­tentious com­edy Cal­i­for­ni­ca­tion in its love of a pun, al­though the shows are very dif­fer­ent. Cal­i­for­ni­ca­tion ’ s main char­ac­ter, a writer strug­gling with writer’s block, be­haves fairly rep­re­hen­si­bly, but the con­sid­er­able wounded charm of ac­tor David Du­chovny means it’s easy to for­give him. While Che­quer is not quite the charmer Du­chovny is, he wins you over in the end. He may do the wrong thing, but more of­ten than not he’s driven by de­cent mo­tives. Luck­ily, ev­ery time he does some­thing bad, some­one else in his cir­cle does some­thing worse.

And like Cal­i­for­ni­ca­tion , Sinchronic­ity ’ s more rib­ald as­pects run the risk of over­shad­ow­ing what is a story with a lot of warmth.

Not that you’d want to lose the raunch en­tirely — it’s a source of much of the hu­mour — but it’s the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the three main char­ac­ters that’s like­lier to get you tun­ing in week af­ter week, and it may take a while to find it.

An­other rich source of hu­mour is the games that fate likes to play with us, as Sinchronic­ity piles co­in­ci­dences and chance en­coun­ters on top of each other, en­twin­ing char­ac­ters whether they’re aware of it or not.

I wasn’t sure af­ter the first episode whether the pro­gram worked and in the early part of the sec­ond episode it felt as if the first episode was as good as it was go­ing to get. But, re­ally, this was just a show find­ing its feet and, like a good re­la­tion­ship, some­times you just have to be pa­tient as things get sorted out.

Af­ter that you may find it’s worth the wait.

Punny busi­ness: Jemima Rooper and Paul Che­quer star in Sinchronic­ity

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