DARINGLY, DARKLY WITTY

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - Front Page -

THERE’S noth­ing funny about de­pres­sion or soul-de­stroy­ing grief, yet some­how Ricky Ger­vais has found the black hu­mour in it. The sar­donic Bri­tish comic writes, di­rects and stars in this six-part se­ries about a be­reaved jour­nal­ist who re­fuses to par­tic­i­pate in so­cial niceties since the death of his wife. Ac­tu­ally, that’s an un­der­state­ment. Ger­vais’ char­ac­ter Tony doesn’t just flout po­lite con­ver­sa­tion, he bull­dozes through. Say­ing and do­ing ex­actly as he feels is the new “super power” Tony has adopted since his loss and he’s not afraid to use it. Within the first 10 min­utes, he’s un­leashed on a stranger in the park; then taught a school­boy a few new swear words as he abuses the gin­ger-haired kid who is bul­ly­ing his nephew. And still you can’t help but like him. His job at the lo­cal pa­per isn’t help­ing lift his mood – par­tic­u­larly when he’s cov­er­ing mun­dane ‘sto­ries’ in­clud­ing one res­i­dent’s dis­cov­ery of a wa­ter stain on his wall that looks like ac­tor Kenneth Branagh. Then there’s his daily vis­its to his el­derly fa­ther (David Bradley), whose se­nile rever­ies in­clude mak­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ate sex­ual com­ments to his nurse and re­peat­edly ask­ing after Tony’s wife, for­get­ting she’s dead. Sure, the sub­ject mat­ter is bleak and the hu­mour dark but the show’s lasting mes­sage is the very op­po­site. By se­ries’ end, Tony reaches a seis­mic epiphany, which won’t nec­es­sar­ily sit well with all view­ers.

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