Thursday, August 04, 2005
Laugh? We nearly had an argument
FUNNY! Extras, The Catherine Tate Show and Absolute Power, BBC2, 9.00pm onwards
Oh BBC2, you are spoiling us with your dedicated 90 minutes of comedy. No, seriously, you might actually be spoiling us with all of this, since while all three shows seem to have their fans, there's a certain amount of bickering over the relative quality. It would seem that while you're bound to love at least one of these shows, you're bound to be repulsed by one of the others. Extras, for example: there are those who love this show, with its celebrity cameos, its shrewd observation of the embarrassments of everyday life, and its offbeat characters. Then again, there are those who think it's self-congratulatory, not as funny as it ought to be, and pales in comparison of the universality of The Office. And how about The Catherine Tate Show? Its fans would argue that Catherine Tate is a fabulously gifted comic actress, that the array of characters are well-observed, and that it's as good as Little Britain but without the hype; while its detractors point out that the writing is predictable, the sketches too long, and that Catherine Tate is generally wasted by material that's beneath her. Absolute Power? Well, it's clever, topical and features a powerhouse performance from Stephen Fry. But then perhaps also it's smug, overdone, and not as funny as it ought to be. They're all comedies, but they're so different that perhaps scheduling them altogether isn't the good idea it might seem - Catherine Tate is traditional, whereas Extras and Absolute Power are postmodern. Catherine Tate is catchphrase-driven, where Extras and Absolute Power are subtle and dialogue led. Absolute Power centres its humour around politics, Catherine Tate and Extras centre theirs around people watching. Anyway, while you're unlikely to love all three of these shows, chances are there'll be one that you like, and by now you'll probably already know which one without our help.