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|Index||11 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.
'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.
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!!
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had heard many positive reviews about the this British series, especially about the cast and the inventive and frequent swearing, and to be honest I think that's mainly why I wanted to try it before seeing the spin-off film In the Loop, so I did, from writer Armando Iannucci (The Day Today, Alan Partridge). Basically it is a satirical look at the inner workings of modern British government, in the fictional Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship, with blundering minister Hugh Abbot (BAFTA and British Comedy Award winning Chris Langham) heading the department, who tries to do the right thing in situations, under the watch of aggressive Number 10's highly aggressive and domineering enforcer Malcolm Tucker (BAFTA and twice British Comedy Award winning, and three times BAFTA nominated Peter Capaldi), other characters include junior policy adviser Ollie Reeder (British Comedy Award nominated Chris Addison), senior special adviser Glenn Cullen (James Smith) and civil service press secretary Terri Coverley (Joanna Scanlan), the third series saw Abbot replaced by new head Nicola Murray (BAFTA and British Comedy Award winning Rebecca Front). Also starring Olivia Poulet as Emma Messinger, Vincent Franklin as Stewart Pearson, Will Smith as Phil Smith and Roger Allam as Peter Mannion. I can't really write a full review on what goes on, because all the politics stuff going on is to me is a bit mumbo jumbo and I can't always make much sense, I realise obviously it is conflicts between politicians, party spin doctors, advisers, civil servants and the media, and characters are cocking things up and that, but for me the best reason to watch the series is for the characters and swearing, Capaldi is fantastic always being in a huff and swearing every few minutes if not seconds, and Addison is a good bumbler, but also it is clever because although there is a script most of the dialogue is improvised by the cast, so it is a certainly a worthwhile political comedy. It won the BAFTAs for Best Situation Comedy (twice) (also twice nominated), and it was nominated for Best Writer, Best Writer: Comedy and Best Editing: Fiction, it won the British Comedy Awards for Best New TV Comedy, and it was nominated for Best TV Comedy and Best TV Sitcom (twice). Very good!
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!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It is fabulous but definitely not that funny. We must not imagine but
realize we are governed by this kind of social climbers, this kind of
social egotistic selfish egocentric psychopaths who only try to capture
some power, not really for the power of it, or at the most the power it
provides them with over their direct employees, their direct
associates, their friends who are friends as long as they are useful.
These people have no vision whatsoever. They can advocate a solution
today and exactly the reverse on the following day. They can be gross
and pretend they are dainty, or just plain liars and let you know they
are suffering so much because they told a lie because they could not
avoid telling such a lie because otherwise their wives, husbands,
spouses, boy or girl friends, plain friends, children pets or even gold
fish, or whatever, would have suffered in a way or another if they had
not changed positions and convictions during the night and over the
week end. Then you end up wondering why they are in their position of
power, who in hell elected them, and you suddenly realize you elected
them by not voting at all or by wasting your vote on a marginal
side-kick candidate. After seeing such a perilous voyage in the stormy
waters of political intrigue and the schizophrenic superman complex,
you can only finally decide to vote for the good side next time. But is
there a good side? Can we vote for Head without seeing that Head
entails Tail, or vice versa? The only thing that changes in these
people are not the teeth but the dentures. They all bite abundantly
with steel or gold but always with gusto since for them the public is a
piece of meat and the media are the pepper and the salt of the
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne, University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines, CEGID
If you are a fan of the Daily Show you should have your head checked
and immediately turn onto this wonderful, intelligent satire brought to
you by Armando Iannucci. The members of the Houses of Commons would
probably like you to believe that their day to day lives would mirror
the intellectual bravado of Yes Minster however it is more likely to
mirror the bear pit spineless back stabbing depicted in The Thick of
It. With Chris Langham, as the incompetent minster and Peter Capaldi,
playing a wonderful if not frighteningly accurate Alastair Campbell,
The Thick of It shows modern British politics as the spin filled world
in which it has became. In comparison to the constant Bush baiting and
idiotic cat-calling in the Daily Show along with the celebrities who
come on just to plug their new show reminds us satire is always best
coming from this side of the pond. This show is the best thing I've
seen all year and simply unmissable.
P.S As for the camera work that is simply a deliberate effect in order further improve the dialogue of the characters. It is a fact that most of the scenes are half scripted and half improvised. The fact that you found this funny but stop watching it due to the camera work is simply picking at imaginary faults.
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