Tuesday, September 14

Simon Amstell Pretty Much Didn't Let Me Down!

Simon: "I just wanna find some joy in my life."
Simon's mum: "Then be friends with James Cordon."

Look, I'm not suggesting for one New York minute that Simon Amstell's initial stab at sitcom-writing/starring, otherwise known as Grandma's House, was masterly. Or even that funny, for that matter. But all in all, taking every episode into account, on the whole, giving thought to every scene, generally speaking, it was, well, sort of funny.

Bits of it were atrocious, for sure. Simon's aunt's overacting. Simon's nephew's semi-acting. Simon's grandma's overacting... Though not Simon's acting, his deliciously antsy Jewrosis shtick was as endearing on telly as it is in his stand-up - and his life, no doubt, hence the stagecraft's persuasion. 'The British Larry David' is waaaaay undue a title, but there were modest hints of such irritable artistry honed within Grandma's House, at least to conclude, 'One day, maybe...'

The plots were mostly decent as well; Simon's almost-stepdad having once run over a tramp, Simon's nephew joking that he impregnated a schoolgirl, Simon smugging up to hide his nerves when meeting his biggest crush. It could have lost the making-up of band names and TV shows, even if the notion of Simon embarking on an African balloon expedition with Wyclef Jean for ITV2 is pretty rib-tickling... I just prefer my shows to be as true as can be.

"Is this what I am now? Some guy who used to be on TV who's now opening some media wing in Barkingside?" There were constant, scintillating castbacks to Amstell's post-Buzzcocks vocation, something which Grandma's House's six episodes should now have put paid to for real. The finale itself was perhaps its best episode, too. The scene in which Simon's almost-stepdad by and large attacked Simon in some alcohol-fuelled rage threw light on all that is needed to be said about the really-quite-shamefulness of British culture.

But see, we need Simon Amstell on telly. And though Grandma's House wasn't brilliant, there's enough there for BBC Two to make the right decision and recommission it (though it'll have to come back without the late Geoffrey Hutchings, aka Simon's grandpa). And it's still far more stimulating than most British comedy at this point in time, or even a long time. Plus practically every sitcom that's turned out to be great has always had a wobbly start. So yeah, a second six-parter would be just, but someone tell his family how to act...

The Streets 'Let's Push Things Forward'