Gordon Brittas is the manager of the Whitbury-Newtown Leisure Centre. Despite his ambition and good intentions, everything seems to go wrong when he's around, despite the best efforts of ... See full summary »
Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson, Simon Day, Mark Williams, John Thomson, Arabella Weir and Caroline Aherne star in this sketch show with characters like Ken and Kenneth two rude tailors... See full synopsis »
Season 1: Perhaps too silly for consistent laughs but still a creatively mad joy for those that get it
A recent reminder of how funny Shooting Stars was saw he digging out this DVD copy of season 1 of "Smell of...." since I had fond memories of loving that show. I was at the age where I got the humour and loved quoting the lines and characters with school friends and, when I moved to England I remember seeing them live within a few months of arriving in the Midlands. However, with all that I was also wary that I was viewing the show through the eyes of a much younger person at a completely different time from now meaning that what might have been classic at the time may not still be that way to the me in my thirties.
This wariness was partially justified because it is hard to ignore how out and out silly the whole Reeves & Mortimer sense of humour is and I would be lying to myself if I said that I found the whole thing hilarious. It is not even that at times I found it bemusing, it was more that some of the silliness just seemed to be being done for the sake of it and that it didn't have any effect on me but to feel a bit daft. I recognise that part of this is me getting older but from my memory I didn't find much hilarious about the extremes of the show, such as people carrying signs with the word "nightie" on it, or the presentation of the two men arguing on the frozen cat urine (why they had stuff in their pants is beyond me). However, all this negativity covers up my main feeling, which was that the show is still very funny and worth seeing no childhood memories were shattered here as is often the case when watching stuff that I remember as being brilliant to the 10 year old me etc.
The thing is that, as surrealist comedians, they don't really have an equal although they certainly have been inspirations to others coming after them. This show is endlessly creative, from the straight-laced "historical" opening through the weird and wonderful characters and scenarios. The opening songs are an indication of what to expect and, aside from one or two, they are generally very funny, putting you in the right frame of mind to get into the rest of the show. The rough structure includes characters of entirely their own creation (such as Uncle Peter, Pat & Dave), real characters put through the imagination cycle (see Otis Reading & Marvin Gaye, Slade, various BBC shows such as Antiques Roadshow) or those inspired by real people (such as Mulligan & O'Hare). Some of them don't work for me personally but this is to be expected the Frenchmen are too basic to carry the genre joke they are making and, looking at those bit now I feel more embarrassment than amusement.
Otherwise though it is endlessly creative and, even when their madness isn't funny all the time, it is still quite captivating by way of the energy the two of them bring to it and the pleasure that can be had by being taken by surprise by some of the things they say and do. Both Bob and Vic are excellent in all their characters, while the rambling madness of Charlie Chuck's Uncle Peter is always enjoyable as well as support from famous faces such as Whitehouse, Higson, Lucas and others in small roles. Everyone buys into the silliness and it is this that helps sell it to the audience.
The show is highly considered by those that were fans at the time and mostly this is deserved. I don't think it helps the show to ignore how daft it is at times, or how some of the material fails to draws laughs but this is minor problems that come as the cost of doing business with Vic and Bob and it is a small cost in exchange for the creative madness that they deliver.
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