Thursday, 1 March 2012

Review: Pramface 1.2 and White Van Man 2.2

Angus and Anna are the only decent things here.
Pramface - Series One, Episode Two - Pregnant Rapist

It was slightly more clever in its plot than last week, and avoided a lot of the problems in tone and audience, but Episode Two continued a lot of the issues that I took fault with. They feel as if they're tied to Pramface's core concept; that in its subject matter of a teenage relationship, it hits all the clichés and, even worse, does them badly.
     So carrying straight on from last week (despite a time-card of six weeks, for some reason) with Laura ignoring Jamie due to his age, for some reason stereotyping him as a pre-teen. Laura goes to get an abortion, but she doesn't go through with it (for reasons that aren't and probably never will be explained). He, for some reason, gets the sudden idea to stop her from ignoring him by proposing to her. He does so, and she breaks down his proposal spectacularly in the only well-written scene in the episode. Later on, there's a misunderstanding between Jamie's parents that inadvertanly reveals Jamie's actions.
     The exchanges between Alan and Janet Derbyshire (Angus Deayton and Anna Chancellor) were as brilliant as they were last time, but they were very much concentrated away from the main plot. With some snappier writing, I would have loved to have seen their segments become a show of their own. The main problem is again the horrific cliché, but the two do their best to work with the tired "upset because of an affair" plot.
      Everywhere else? Exactly the same. Mike is Nathan but boring. Beth is brilliant but hated for no reason. Laura is concerned but stoppy to a degree that defies belief. The only development was a proof of Jamie's inherant stupidity and ignorance, which doesn't make my thoughts about this series any more hopeful. I did laugh this time, because of Deayton and Chancellor, but there wasn't much else.
       I don't know whether Pramface will lose me through sheer boredom, or simply because the abuse of cliché becomes unbearable. Apart from the excellent older characters, there's not a single person who I really care about here. Deayton and Chancellor spinoff show, anyone?
Generic photo to the rescue!
White Van Man - Series Two, Episode Two - The Breakup

White Van Man was so brilliant this week that it really made Pramface appear more tragic. It also addressed a cliché, but it executed it in such a way as to make it incredibly, incredibly funny in all the best ways. In some ways it exercised a change in format that made the half-hour feel more refreshing than ever before.
      Envious of his Polish rival, Ollie is shocked to discover that Darren has joined the Pole's company. It's treated very much like a break-up, and played entirely serious. This is great British comedy, and this entire sequence had me in tears. Ollie, with Emma's over bearing help, tries to find a new assistant and ends up hiring Liz - his perfect assistant; she's punctual, attentive and is willing to share the driving with him. Meanwhile, Darren finds that the Polish workman is a strange cult-master, who gives him a flourescent work-jacket and later drugs him before forcibly tattooing the company logo onto his arm. Darren calls Ollie up, and with Liz's permission he goes and saves him, claiming back his man.
     My main problem with Thursdays on Three is that half-hour comedies usually aren't varied enough to warrant a review. Red Dwarf was a valid exception. White Van Man, unfortunately, isn't. But I think I'll reserve this space, every week, to gush about my favourite currently-broadcasting show on television. Long Live White Van Man!


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