Saturday, 2 November 2013

Drifters : Drifting From One Lame Gag To The Next

First things first; I remain a fan of Lydia Rose Bewley (right) who played Jay's girlfriend Jane in big screen movie version of The Inbetweeners 

However, Drifters the new sitcom on E4 which debuted Thursday and reunites her with the film's co-stars Jessica Knappett and Lauren O'Rourke was really poor.

When it was announced that E4 had signed up a sitcom penned by and starring Knappett herself, with that cast and was being produced by The Inbetweeners creators Iain Morris and Damon Beesley, there was quite a buzz. So the fact that I failed to even realise this sitcom was on this week - it received no publicity in the Radio Times - was initially baffling. 

Until I watched it that is.

The show centres around the lives of three Leeds based girls in their twenties, suffering a quarter life crisis as they realise their dream job failed to fall into their laps after graduation and are now drifting between dead end jobs and dead end relationships.

So far so familiar. In fact the synopsis could easily apply to so many other (and more amusing) female based sitcoms like Home Time (cancelled after just one series) and Pulling (cancelled after two series and a special) But wait, here's the difference; Drifters is coarse. OK, The Inbetweeners was never clean viewing but it retained a certain charm at least. This just left a bad taste in the mouth. An example or two? Well, if you think the character of Laura, a brassy blonde (O'Rourke) having scabies and calling her boyfriend a 'mong' during dominatrix themed phone sex is hilarious then this is the sitcom for you.

It's quite infuriating really because there's such a critically stereotypical view that women aren't funny that is quite simply wrong - except you wouldn't think so from this sample.  

The sitcom also seems to want to emulate another recent success, Hebburn, in that Knappett bagged Bob Mortimer to play here father in this, whilst Jim Moir (aka Vic Reeves, Bob's comedy partner) plays the family father in that far more likeable comedy.

It just doesn't gel and neither do the characters. Despite the fact that the three girls have worked together before and clearly get on, they don't convince as a trio of inseperable friends on screen here. Knappett's character Meg is the lead and the one we're supposed to empathise with but there's precious little opportunity for that. Worryingly she's rather overacted by Knappett in a manner which suggests she has little faith in her own material. She's there mainly to act as an accidental parent to the other two, the aforementioned 'rough as' Laura (who seems like a reject from the crude Two Pints Of Lager and a Packet of Crisps) and the dippy, hippy, slightly neurotic Bunny played by Lydia Rose Bewley who just sounds too plummy and well mannered to play Knappet's cousin and the lifetime friend of those two. 

As I say I still like Bewley, and a highlight of the first episode was her saying this line of dialogue "I'm sorry Mark but I'm afraid I'm going to have to sit on you" - if only she was talking to me! - and let's face it this blog post was half TV review, half chance to post those pictures of her in figure hugging jumpsuit and a WPC uniform! ;)

Drifters, sadly one to avoid. Oh well, least Fresh Meat (with Inbetweeners star Joe Thomas) returns to Channel 4 on Monday and the channel is currently showing the excellent Man Down from Greg Davies (who also starred in The Inbetweeners) and Toast Of London from Matt Berry on Friday and Sunday nights respectively.

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