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|Index||17 reviews in total|
This show is billed as coming from the makers of Alan Partridge, but whilst Alan is a complete imbecile, the awkward situations he finds himslef in are often ones caused by his inflated ego and at the end of the day whilst he is a nasty chap, he isn't evil. Now lets come to Jill, the main character in this wicked (but very entertaining) new dark dark comedy. She is pure evil. Whilst her husband lies in hospital apparently dying of cancer, Jill tells the world he's dead and decided to start dating. In the first episode she meets her new neighbour Dr .Don, played by Angus Deayton ( the Beeb did say they'd find him new roles post the HIGNFY scandal!) who's married to Cath (the brilliant Rebecca Front of The Day Today - a show from the same creators) who happens to have MS. Jills nastiness ensues and you really squirm watching her ( a mix of David Brent and Alan partridge at their worst with a much more EVIL edge). The show is a guilty pleasure as you'll laugh at the nastiness and then feel really bad later on! BBC3 airs these shows and they do eventually come to BBC2 ( like Little Britain) and when it arrives, make sure to catch it. It's not your typical sitcom, but who wants typical??!!??
I can understand why some people review this show here and call it "rubbish" because it is not easily watchable. It takes you out of your comfort zone and is not banal safe comedy that often seems to often thrive on television. The main character Jill is a savagely cruel person, when her husband is diagnosed with cancer she drops him off at the hospital and goes to a dating agency to find a new man. When a couple move in next door she thinks nothing of wearing the disabled woman down physically and emotionally to get at her husband. You get the idea. Many of the lines are superbly witty in an outrageous "she can't say that" type of way. Interestingly Julia Davies has both naturalistic supporting characters like Cath and Don the couple next door and exaggerated broad comedy characters that inhabit Jill's world without the mix of the two jarring in any way. It is easier to watch a second or third time if you give it the chance, then you seem to be able to concentrate on the savage humour without feeling too much pity for the put upon characters involved. Superb.
Nighty Night is a very unique comedy, combining dark humour, social observation and a large dash of discomfort. The show revolves around a self centred, manipulative female by the name of Jill. We follow Jill as she tries to convince her husband that he is dying and then proceeds to steal the heart of her neighbour. The only problem is his wife, a wheel chair bound, kind hearted lady by the name of Cath, who is more than an easy target for Jill's ways. With superb characters, such as the simpleton Linda, the sensual Sue, and the freakish Glen, and daring but hilarious antics (Jill goes to extremes from pretending to give 'afterlife workshops', to convincing her husband that he is dying, to being 11 months pregnant) Nighty Night is disturbingly funny. If you like shows such as The League of Gentlemen, Little Britian and Strangers With Candy, then i think you will enjoy this show.
One has to categorise this show as as satirical comedy, and indeed the first season begins humorously and playfully enough. After just a short time however, the personality disorders portrayed must inevitably lead to a rather more uncomfortable experience. Jill is nothing other than a psychopath, blatantly unaware of the extremity of her behaviour. The other characters all incredibly tolerant and unbelievably sympathetic to Jill's activities. Whilst the humour is maintained throughout, it is hard not to feel that genuine personality disorders such as these surely do exist around us in the real world. Of course the events are all extremely exaggerated, and that forms the basis for the humour. Were the show a little more subtle, then it would probably be billed as a psycho-thriller. I personally enjoyed it very much, as I find extreme humour quite entertaining. However, I would not recommend it for the squeamish, or prudish, or the particularly emotional. The second season even surpasses the first in extremity, if not in humour. I have knocked off points for plot, repetition, and incredibility.
Whether you like "Nighty Night" is dependent on whether you like this
sort of thing. I will grant you this, it is not easy to watch at times,
it is very dark, often unsubtle, heartless and extremely vicious. But
there are some very funny parts too, thanks to the stellar performances
and the deliberately over-the-top writing that is most likely to shock
people with the amount of depth it goes into. Plus it is very
unfliching at how cruel the characters can be to one another. There are
times when we find the characters unsympathetic, with the exception of
perhaps Cathy and Terry but I personally think that was intended.
The performances are stellar. Julia Davis throws herself into this, and gives a genius turn as Jill, an "evil" neighbour and an incompetent hair stylist. Angus Deayton is also superb as Don Cole, who is facing a very difficult situation, as is Rebecca Front as Cathy, a really sympathetic character that we constantly feel sorry for. Overall, clearly this isn't for everyone, but I for one find it entertaining. 8/10 Bethany Cox
(The following review was originally published 20 Jan 2004 as the first
review of this title to appear here. Deleted after a user request, it
has been edited and re-submitted.)
"Nighty Night" details the life and loves of the most self-absorbed woman on earth, Jill Farrell, played by series creator Julia Davis. In the first scene she sits in the hospital with her husband Terry (the surprisingly normal Kevin Eldon) and they have just been told the test results. She bewails her fate, crying "Why does everything have to happen to *me*!" Her husband turns to her, comfortingly, and says, "Look love, it'll be OK. It's really not that bad. It is ME who's got the cancer!" In the second scene she is at a computer dating service. Not content with whoever they may come up with for Jill to go out with between hospital visits, she also sets her sights on neighbour Don, (Angus Deayton), a doctor whose wife, Cathy (Rebecca Front), is a victim of Multiple Sclerosis.
Davis has specialised in playing these kinds of women in recent years, most notably in Rob Brydon's "Human Remains" and Chris Morris's "Jam". Jill is all entirely her own work and she has really plumbed the depths of the human psyche to create a woman who cares for nothing and nobody but herself, to a psychotic degree. Instead of "Nighty Night" perhaps the programme should have been called "Nicely Nice", because it is people's niceness, or at least their desire that things remain nice, that allows Jill to get away with the most appalling insensitivity and self-regard.
The characterisation of Jill is perfectly done, as are the characterisations of the other people, from poor confused Terry (not realising that he isn't getting any visitors because Jill told everyone he'd already died), Don who is caring for Cathy, but obviously doesn't really "care" for her any more. Particularly brilliant is Rebecca Front's performance as Cathy, caught between dissatisfaction with her straying husband, outrage at Jill's antics but paralysed - not just physically - by her inability to make a fuss. These are fantastically well observed. Other characters, such as Stefan, Jill's putative blind date, and Linda the asthmatic girl in Jill's beauty salon who loves to massage feet, are more exaggerated but well performed.
This is not laugh-a-minute hysterical comedy by any means, but continues the uncomfortable black comedy trend hinted at by Steve Coogan's characters, and more wilfully pursued by Chris Morris and Rob Brydon (with all of whom Julia Davis has previously acted.)
What do you say about a female character who is utterly selfish and has
absolutely no redeeming features? The Guardian newspaper described her
as a "t*rd in leather trousers" which is along the right lines.
Julia Davis both as a writer and an actress has gone where many men would fear to tread and has brought us a comedy so black it's positively shiny. A hilariously politically incorrect comedy this series examines the winners and losers in life and suggests that those out for themselves can succeed over the decent and altruistic.
This series is definitely NOT for those of a nervous disposition or who do not wish to enter the belly of the beast that is modern society.
The rest of the cast are excellent and special mention must go to Angus Deayton for playing a doctor with a private life far less interesting than his own and to Ruth Jones for enthusiastically playing a character who is constantly humiliated.
Nighty Night truly is an example of black comedy of the very darkest
kind. It's a comedy show full of decidedly savage humour that is pretty
far removed from treading around the niceties of politically
correctness. It features one of the most deliciously amoral central
characters ever created for TV in hair stylist Jill Tyrell. She is an
astronomically self-absorbed and manipulative sociopath who will stop
at nothing to get her own way. She pretends her husband has died of
cancer so she can date other men and do other things. She targets new
neighbour Don as a future partner and treats his wheelchair-bound wife
Cath, who is suffering from MS, atrociously with a mixture of
passive-aggressiveness and outright cruelty. Jill is played to
perfection by Julia Davis who also wrote the series. Davis achieves the
somewhat rare feat of using her sexuality to elicit many of the laughs
which is not something that you see very often for some reason.
Despite her characters monumental obnoxiousness this is a somewhat sexy
yet hilarious performance. The writing is very good and the talented
cast all put in excellent turns. Angus Deayton plays the under-stated
Don, Rebecca Front is great as the put-upon ultra-nice Cath, Kevin
Eldon is once again very strange as Jill's unfortunate husband, while
Mark Gatiss is indescribable as the disturbingly odd Ken Dodd lookalike
Glen Bulb. The series is unusual in that some characters are played
naturalistically while others are patently absurd.
There were two seasons in this series and it would only be fair to say that the first one is clearly the better, although the second is still pretty funny. Season one is far more focused than the more cartoonish season two which went more for gross-out humour a little too often for my liking. The change has probably got a lot to do with the fact that Julia Davis spent three years working on the first season and considerably less time putting together the second one due to the BBC commissioning another six episodes. Season one is a suburban comedy with a more recognisably realistic set of circumstances and characters, while season two goes hell for leather into increasingly more absurd territory set around a health farm.
But irrespective of comparisons between the two seasons, this is still excellent stuff. I really wish Julia Davis had been given the reigns to devise more TV comedy on the strength of this quite fearless and inappropriately hilarious series. Despite being definitely an ensemble piece, this is ultimately Davis' vehicle given her inspired central character and the fact she wrote it all herself. In addition, I also was somewhat amused by the use of some decidedly unfashionable 80's tunes from the likes of Marillion and Heart and as for the scene where Jill takes Cath on an unwanted trip up the high street sound-tracked by the metal anthem 'Rock You lie a Hurricane' by the German poodle rockers The Scorpions - too funny!
If you liked the "cringe comedy" of "The Office" but it you could go to
even deeper levels of discomfort, try "Nighty Night." Julia Davis is
ABSOLUTELY FEARLESS in her role. In my mind, she might be the best
comedian on TV today.
Instead of an Office, its Jill's beauty salon which is a perfect setting for someone who is as totally self-absorbed as Jill. If I taught a course in psychology I'd make this series required viewing for the unit on borderline personality disorder.
If you are as infatuated with the actress Jill Davis as I am, you might also want to check out "Human Remains" where she plays a very different character in each episode. She's just amazing.
I recently bought the 2nd series of Nighty Night and re watched the
first series. I have never laughed so hard in such a long time! This is
the darkest or darkest comedies and excellently performed by all cast.
Jill Tyrell is one of the nastiest characters ever brought to life and played so well be the amazingly talented Julia Davis. Rebecca Front gives such a great performance as the hapless, suffering neighbor Cath that you genuinely feel for her and then want her to actually stand up for herself against Jill!
I really hope that a 3rd series comes along soon and I also hope that the Americans when making their version do not miss the vital comic dark moments!
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