Anonymous is another television Series that takes well known celebrities and puts them in situations that they normally would not find themselves in their everyday life. Presented by eccentric Irish comedian Jason Byrne, and over the course of six weeks we have seen well known Irish celebrities, some international Irish Figures like Samantha Mumba and Bryan McFadden but mainly national figures such as Kathryn Thomas and Des Bishop, swap their identities. The plot is simple, the celebrities are disguised heavily with make up, given a false name and background with which they use to trick members of the public. And that's about it really .
In theory this show has a lot of potential to do very well, however it becomes a victim of Jason Byrnes comedic persona. Byrne is like a big child with ADD and a large part of his live stand up comedy performances are about victimizing the audiences. We would expect the antics that we see from the celebrities to come from Byrne. Of course this is amusing but by the 15th minute of the first episode it begins to dawn that this is what the rest of the series is about giving the celebrities the anonymity to act the idiot in Irelands capital.
I will however put my hands up and say that I did laugh on occasion and there was one episode in particular made me crack up consistently. This involved talking Irelands premier and most loved Irish speaker Hector O'Heochagan and transferring him into Paul Toomey a campaigner to abolish Irish Language. The irony is in real life Hector O'Heochagan is a fluent Irish Speaker, who just happens to one of Irelands most talented television presenters who is equally comfortable at speaking English and Irish at a professional level. In the course of the half hour Hector O'Heochagan puts across an intimidating argument as Paul Toomey and one cannot help feel that Hector O'Heochagan has heard these opinions from anti-Irish speaking people before. What really amazed me about his particular episode was the seriousness of Hectors characterization. It is very believable the only fault is that occasionally his upper middle class accent of Paul Toomey slips into to his broad Navan accent. Other than this particular episode was of a very high standard and unfortunately it was not matched again by any other participant. When I say that in theory this series had a lot of potential, this episode makes this theory a reality.
With the other celebrities I felt that their participation was very half hearted and their appearances on the show, particularly Samantha Mumba and Bryan McFadden is a bid to jump start a failing career, whilst Keith Duffy and Kathryn Thomas are just reminding us of their celebrity status, but with the likes of Des Bishop (Irish American comedian) & Hector O'Heochagan who have talent and who are genuine Irish celebrities whose own TV shows have enthralled Irish audiences I can never quite fully figure out why they chose to go on this show. Particularly when it lacks a proper agenda and structure.
All in all I am quite disappointed by the show. If another series is commissioned I will keep an eye out for it, but I expect it will be more same. I will give it a 2 out of 10 for Hectors effort, other than that I advise any self respecting fan of television to keep clear. If you do attempt to watch it's best advised to leave your brain at the door
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