It seems quite a while since the BBC last produced a really good comedy on BBC Three. Something different, something which went against the standard and something which wasn’t just shit. So when I saw the adverts for Uncle it naturally peaked my interest because this is not a show which screams BBC Three.
Yes on first viewing this is a standard sitcom based show, put two opposites together and watch the sparks fly as they struggle to interact and get on. It’s a classic comedy TV show formula which has been used over and over again. Uncle was exactly that, it took Andy (the fat lazy uncle) and Errol (the weird nerdy nephew) and stuck them together for what they hoped would be hilarious consequences.
Well they were right the first episode put slacker/loser/useless/fat/failed musician Andy with his weird nephew and sparks flew. The episode was going really well with good music, funny jokes and a main character that despite being a loser was likable. Mix in to that some nice side characters like Gwen’s dad and you had the formula for what looked like one of the best new comedies of the year.
Everything was going along so well, until Andy’s about to take a punch in those big jowly chops and then for some reason we break into a dream sequence where Andy has a little sing song to himself before breaking back into the episode…I sat there paused the show and asked myself ‘what the fuck?’ Genuinely what the fuck? The show was going along so well then that, I didn’t understand it. Now for those of you who don’t know, musical comedy is one of the lowest forms of comedy available. It doesn’t require you to be clever or smart, it just requires you to be able to rhyme and sometimes not even that. Musical comedy is a technique which bad comedians use because they aren’t actually funny, so why the hell was a show which was going along quite nicely take itself down to this level? I couldn’t understand it whatsoever, but the rest of the show was good enough for me to watch the next episode.
Well once again I was pleasantly surprised as we see Andy take Errol to a birthday party which doesn’t go too well with both guys being on the wrong end of some bullying. Again the episode was really well done and I’m thinking ‘yeah…this is good’, and then something happened, I don’t know what, and the show just became another generic BBC sitcom, which did nothing new and followed that same tired formula that every BBC Three sitcom seems too. No longer was there any tension between Andy and Errol (quite the opposite), somehow the show ended up in a love square with Andy and instead of being edgy it just became soppy.
It’s disappointing to see a show which has got potential, essentially be ruined by bad writing which turns something into another generic comedy show. Uncle isn’t you prototypical British comedy because it did at least for a while to break away from the status quo, but in the end it turned out to be another example of how poor British comedy has become. People aren’t willing to take risks, and that means that we get the same sort of shows which we were watching fifteen years ago. Britain used to be at the forefront of comedy, now we are in the middle of the pack. Nothing new, nothing original and worst of all poor quality.
As a side note, whilst watching this I liked the guy that played Andy and thought to myself ‘what a likable young fellow’, it wasn’t until he started to break into the shit music numbers that I realised that I actually knew who this guy was and had seen his “comedy” routine. You may notice that comedy is in brackets, that is because shouting and singing songs isn’t real comedy, and that is pretty much this guy’s whole act. I thought he was good in the show though, once again showing that you don’t need to be a good comedian to be a good comedy actor, I call it the Jack Whitehall formula.
If you’re wondering if Uncle is worth watching, then the answer is sort of. Those first two episode are good and show that the show has potential, but the four which follow it are nothing short of disappointing.
So what did you think of Uncle? Do you think I’m too harsh, or have I hit the nail on the head in regards to the show and how recent British comedies have performed? Leave a comment and share your views. Plus don’t forget to check out bm23tvreviews on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates.