The story of a young group of siblings pretty much abandoned by their parents, surviving by their wits - and humor - on a rough Manchester council estate. Whilst they won't admit it, they ... See full summary »
The story of a group of British teens who are trying to grow up and find love and happiness despite questionable parenting and teachers who more want to be friends (and lovers) rather than authority figures.
Season 1: A funny, awkward comedy that never gets close to The Office but is still funny and starry
Andy Millman and his friend Maggie Jacobs are both professional extras "actors" who fill the backgrounds in film and television productions. Maggie seems happy with this but Andy always hopes for more; however his attempts at getting a "proper" acting job have yet to get him anywhere. Although they spend their days surrounded by stars, their lives are both much less interesting and they find more awkwardness than anything else whether they are dealing with Hollywood actors, partners, agents, TV stars or other extras.
Following on from The Office was never going to be an easy task and it was no surprise to find that this series has elements of the latter's strength but never manages to get as good. The series is quite episodic and fragmented without a great deal of development across the series. Each episode is essentially a comedy of human awkwardness with a different guest star each week. As such it is funny but never gets close to the painful human condition that The Office did so well however it still manages to be quite funny. The awkwardness is funny and cringeworthy but it isn't convincingly "real" and is obviously structured to just be an episode rather than be about the characters.
Supporting this is the guest star aspect which is mostly well used but does occasionally make the series feel like an extended loads of cameos. The American names are impressive but have noticeably smaller roles than some others. The English actors send themselves up well Kemp is hilariously self-aware, Stewart is fun but Les Dennis is the most memorable. His performance is spot on although I did wonder why he would want to lay himself as bare as he did here he gets closest to the tragicness of life and he shadows anything else in his episode. The performances from Gervais and Jensen are pretty good funny, realistic and fitting with the material. The one complaint I had was that I didn't feel for them or understand them anymore by episode 6 than I did in episode 1; they didn't develop their characters or find depth as well as I would have liked.
So naturally, this is not The Office but then, what is? However this is still an enjoyably funny comedy of awkwardness with plenty of guest stars who at very least add interest (but mostly add a lot). It is funny and is a polished comedy series just don't expect it to get close to the perfection of The Office.
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