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|Index||16 reviews in total|
Calling this sharp and funny just doesn't do it justice. It's a bit of
a cliché to describe it as "Yes Minister" for the 21st century, but it
does fit rather well.
Any British person who has followed the news over the last few years will be painfully familiar with "spin" as practised by the current government of the United Kingdom. Where "Yes Minister" dealt with hapless ministers being manipulated by the civil-service mandarins (the power brokers of the time) ... "The Thick Of It" deals primarily with hapless ministers being manipulated by spin doctors (the current power brokers). Spot the difference?
Series one kicks off with the clinical execution of a cabinet minister (department of "Social Affairs") by the party communications director Malcolm Tucker, played to perfection by a fantastically high-powered and abusive Peter Capaldi. In comes the completely ineffectual Hugh Abbott (Chris Langham) as his replacement -- the most recent in a long line we are led to believe -- and off we go. It's a picture of near-total ineptitude. The business of government is to please the media, all the time under the baleful gaze of Tucker and his team of ferocious Rottweilers, and of course the 24 hour gaze of the media... forever on the lookout for stories. Useless empty policy statements, petty oneupmanship, and doing anything to please "Number 10", or the Chancellor at "Number 11" -- or rather not, since pleasing one side can bring down the wrath of the other as you are obviously part of a plot to undermine them. No, it's best just to churn out focus grouped policies that are bland enough not to upset anyone, all the while dreaming of advancement to departments that matter.
It's all desperately funny and insightful. There are no bad performances. Series one and two combined add up to just six half-hour episodes in total. That may surprise Americans used to much longer runs... but when it's this funny and insightful, you are just glad it exists at all.
I have just finished series three, and am left feeling totally in awe of everyone involved in this programme. As a huge fan of The Wire, I am glad that one does not have to judge the merit of a programme in terms of how it rates against another. Suffice it to say, The Thick Of It succeeds on every level. Not only does it work as a comedy, but it turns out to be a tremendously powerful piece of drama. Full marks to the cast, who give a powerhouse performance that is absolutely staggering. Particular praise must go to Rebecca Front, who I have always admired, but who has produced here an award-winning performance and I hope that she does receive recognition for this. I could mention every actor who has appeared in the series, they are all wonderful. If you have not seen this show, do so and follow it to its amazing climax.
In the thick of it is what you would get if you mixed the office with yes minister. shot as a documentary (like the office) it's about the office of social affairs and how they get in and out of trouble every week with hilarious results. Hugh abbot (Chris Langham) is pretty much the Dave Brent of it all while his sidekicks, Olly, Glen and Terri are pretty much there to take the blows for him. The show isn't for everyone because the humour is really dry but if you are a fan of the now modern day British sitcom then this is the most intelligent of the lot. witty dialogue, superb acting, and brilliant originality gives this underrated sitcom a 10/10.
I am mortified that I have only just picked up on this wonderful series in the past 6 weeks!! I had read that it was good but felt I couldn't commit to another "must watch" TV series. However against my better judgement I recorded one programme to see what all the fuss was about. I was totally blown away by the whole thing. I never really rated Peter Capaldi before this but the guy is a genius!! His intimidating, foul-mouthed character is some creation!! Whether it is him or Ianucci that is responsible, I do not know, but the end result is pure gold. Of course lots of viewers are going to find the bad language hard to get past but it really is worth it. I am rarely shocked by bad language but it shocked me - at first I found it gratuitous and almost switched off. However when you get into it the language seems (for the characters) just right and very funny. Who knows if this is the way that the people behind the scenes speak but it works. I actually know someone involved in politics on the Tory side (not my preference) and can believe in the Thick of It characters totally. I am addicted top it already and am about to get the series I have missed on DVD. Brilliant is not the word for it. People who berate the camera-work need to get a life. It is not my favourite style either but it works for this. If you have not seen it make a point of getting it immediately!!
'The Thick of It' is slowly becoming more and more popular especially
as political scandals are becoming more frequent in headlines. The
writing, acting and dialogue are all strong points in this series.
The acting from people such as Rebecca Front, Chris Addison, Paul Higgins and of course Peter Capaldi are excellent. They don't all play particularly likable characters but that is the purpose of this show, to highlight the dark side of British politics.
Armando Ianucci's direction and scripts are excellent, the stories are very realistic and on some occasions this show has even managed to predict an actual occurrence in Westminster before it has actually happened, that is how intelligent this show is. If you have an interest in politics you will love this show, if you dislike swearing you will loathe it; the dialogue particularly from Capaldi's Malcolm Tucker is obscene nearly all the time, he provides about 75% of the comedy in this series. The show is quite unique because of the amount of swearing included within it, especially since it is a BBC programme.
The first and second series were good but the third series has been the best so far. The only thing missing from the third series was Paul Higgins' character Jamie MacDonald who had small parts in the first and second series and worked really well alongside Malcolm Tucker. The fourth series has now been shot and is scheduled to return later on this year (2012).
Overall, I would thoroughly recommend this TV series. People outside the UK may struggle understanding the plots of each episode, however. Its documentary style filming method takes a while to get used to but it suits the nature of the series perfectly. If you like this programme try 'In The Loop', the film based on this series, also starring Peter Capaldi, Paul Higgins and Chris Addison.
10 stars out of 10 is just simply not enough! This series warrants at
least 11. IMDb is largely US based (I think?) but I can't believe
there's only 9 reviews for this series?
I still mourn it's passing and with Peter Capaldi turning into Dr Who (!) any hope of another series is at least 2 or 3 years away - if at all?
This is classic comedy which for me rises above even Fawlty Towers and sit's alongside Cheers and Frazier.
Yes, it is meant be a fly on the wall type mockumentary and the camera work is edgy but it simply adds to the realism of it all.
Yes - a knowledge of and interest in UK politics are probably desirable but not essential.
Get the box-set and the movie spin off (In the Loop) and steady yourselves because you'll end up in tears. Tears of joy that is!
It is difficult to find comedies that elicit genuine laughter these
days and The Thick Of It distinguishes itself. A cold open format
demands attention right away before the humor seeps in; by the time you
realize what your gut is in for, the crays in Department of "Social
Affairs" have crept their way into your system. Every preemptive
political misstep creates so much hysteria and disaster it's impossible
for bystanders not to find amusement in the absurdity and idiocy of it
I am rather cautious about over hyped programs. Especially after feeling disappointed with The Office (UK), Little Britain and The Peep Show. But the lyrical filth snaps and pops too delightfully in this one to look away. Par course for the comic timing seized with perfection by Malcolm and Hugh.
Although The Thick of It functions as satirical commentary on the British government, I find that anyone with a soft spot for political feuds and human nature will relate to it, and thus enjoy watching. Unless plot points and character device are specifically designed to allude to real life figures/events in each episode (in which case, I'm too uninformed to "catch"), you don't need sound knowledge of UK's current affairs to "get it". Much like how you don't need to be black or American to acknowledge the simple premise behind The Wireclassic institutional dysfunction and media consumption. Only difference between the two being the latter is a slow-burning novelistic tale layered with stoic horror, while the former flips like a sprightly comic book punctuated with wags and wit.
Issues such as uninspired leadership, reluctant lackeys, chasing ranks, falsifying stats and information are things that guide and obstruct real progress within any system. In this sense, I think the appeal of The Thick Of It is universal. That the self-involved, self-defeating, borderline-sociopathic qualities harassing its spin doctors promptly blow up in their own clueless faces is just icing on the cake. Dry humor in maniacal proportions with accurate insights into the bureaucratic condition are worth the viewer ship. One season in and I think The Thick Of It is absolutely winning and hilarious.
The Thick Of It is a sitcom which has been hurt by many issues, such as
the loss of main character Hugh Abbot after Season 2, the splitting up
of Seasons and the changes in format....
But NONE of these issues matter because The Thick Of It is just so bloody good. It is a hilarious satire of British politicians and what goes on with them behind the scenes, and is almost completely accurate with it's similarities to, and even predictions of, real-life political scandals. It's mostly driven by dialogue, and the dialogue (most of which is profanity) is terrific, especially when coming from the hilarious, cold and fierce character of Malcolm Tucker, played to perfection by the brilliant Peter Capaldi (who you may know now from Doctor Who). The Series has been so good and popular it has even inspired a spin-off film, In The Loop, which received critical acclaim from critics.
Overall, The Thick Of It is a classic sitcom and one of the best sitcoms to come out of the UK. Brilliant! 10/10
Now that I've got that off my chest...no, really, I've known more than
my share of real-life sadistic soul-murdering bastards along the lines
of Malcolm Tucker who use their workplaces as their personal dungeons,
which is why I avoided this series like the plague until a couple of
months ago, when a friend convinced me it was essential viewing for
Capaldi watchers. I do think it's a measure of Capaldi's talent that in
a similar manner to what Anthony Hopkins did with Dr. Lecter and Hugh
Laurie with Dr. House, he succeeded in making an essentially repulsive
character into something relatable, even something of a folk hero. The
ethics of doing so is another matter, as we live in an era where the
ability to crush other humans without turning a hair is the most highly
valued talent of all, which is why characters like this play so well
with 21st century audiences. But Capaldi had to do something while he
was waiting for his chance to play the Doctor, which one season in to
Doctor Who is clearly the role he was born for, and Malcolm's not bad
as roles go, sort of Capaldi's generation's equivalent of Ian
Richardson's in "House of Cards," with his vulgar catchphrase "Come the
f!@# in or f!@# the f!@# off" equivalent to the aristocratic Francis
Urquhart's "I couldn't possibly comment."
Which leads indirectly to the burning question, why does Malcolm eat fruit? Given his age, personality and build he seems more like the type who would chain smoke than engage in emotional eating. My theory is that he actually did smoke but was warned that if he didn't stop he would drop dead by the age of fifty, and that he ought to make an effort to take better care of himself, like eating more fresh fruit. So Malcolm has a crate of tangerines delivered every few weeks and grabs one whenever he feels like smoking. He's probably also got nicotine patches all over his arms the way Sherlock does. Which is really a shame because Malcolm is exactly the sort of person who SHOULD drop dead, the sooner the better, because he's no good to anyone including himself. Note that that his brutal style of managing his government's communications is grossly ineffective, only serving to demoralize the people he's supposed to be helping do their jobs. Also note that he screws up as often as the people he's constantly raging at for screwing up, and seems completely unaware of it. That's because he's focused on process rather than outcome: the process of controlling, immiserating and destroying the people in his charge, and of eating enough tangerines so that he can keep doing it as long as possible. The fact that he's helping to render his own government dysfunctional seems unremarked by everyone, certainly by whoever's protecting him at the top. That's the way it is with bullies, and that by the way is why we shouldn't be applauding them, but taking them down.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Not only is this a hilarious TV show, it is also a strangely addictive. Armando and his team have written one of the greatest and funniest scripts of all time. Peter Capaldi is frighteningly good as Malcolm Tucker it just seems to get funnier every time you watch it. Easily the funniest TV programme I've ever seen. You need to watch each episode at least two times to get all of the jokes. It seems as though the episodes get better and better every time. Series 1 is good but series 2 is brilliant and it just progresses from then on. I wand lent the box set by a friend and after watching the first episode I became completely addicted and watched every single episode within a couple of weeks. The whole cast is fantastic and it is brilliantly rude. This is quite passable the greatest TV show ever made. Brilliant! Easily better than the Simpsons or anything else like that. It is educational, addictive and absolutely hilarious!
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