Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Life's a drag
COUGH! The Smoking Room, BBC3, 9.30pm
The second series of this sitcom has flown in under the radar in much the same way that the first one did - we've seen a few trailers for it, but nothing on the same level of promotion that we've seen for, say, Extras or even for The Catherine Tate Show. In many ways, of course, that's kind of fitting for the tone of this plodding, inane, dreary sitcom; the problem is that when you describe something as "plodding", "inane" or "dreary" people tend to think you're insulting it, even though we happen to love this show. It just happens to be the sort of show that embraces mundanity in all its guises. Just look at how drab all the walls are, how monochromed most of the characters' outfits are, the massive pauses in the dialogue, and even though you never see it, you know that outside if it's not pissing down outside, it's at least overcast. Anyway, it's a gratefully-received second series for the comedy set in an office smoking room starring a bunch of misfits who share little in common aside from their reliance on nicotine. We can look forward to welcoming back Robin (brilliant Robert Webb of Peep Show fame), who isn't gay, despite his obsession with Ben from the post room, he just hasn't met "the right human type" person; Clint, the handyman who enjoys the not-so-occasional spliff and talks in his own language; crossword-failure Barry; eternally put-upon Janet; scrounging Annie; baby-obsessive Heidi (the wonderful Emma Kennedy) and a selection of other archetypal losers. The show is reminiscent of The Office in many ways, even if it hasn't quite caught on in the same way. Yet. Tonight, a bee causes panic in the smoking room. Bzzz, indeed.