Lead Balloon (2006–2011)

TV Series  -  Comedy
7.9
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Rick Spleen is a world-weary comedian who ends up doing far too many corporate jobs to pay the bills.

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Title: Lead Balloon (2006–2011)

Lead Balloon (2006–2011) on IMDb 7.9/10

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Season:

4 | 3 | 2 | 1

Year:

2011 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
5 nominations. See more awards »
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A selection of archive footage from the Montreal 'Just For Laughs' comedy festival, coupled with new interview footage with various English comedians, and a handful of sketches featuring celebrity guests.

Stars: Jack Dee, Tim Allen, Leslie Ash
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Cast

Series cast summary:
Jack Dee ...
 Rick Spleen (27 episodes, 2006-2011)
Raquel Cassidy ...
 Mel (26 episodes, 2006-2011)
...
 Marty (26 episodes, 2006-2011)
Anna Crilly ...
 Magda (26 episodes, 2006-2011)
...
 Sam (26 episodes, 2006-2011)
Rasmus Hardiker ...
 Ben (26 episodes, 2006-2011)
...
 Michael (26 episodes, 2006-2011)
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Storyline

Rick Spleen is a world-weary comedian who ends up doing far too many corporate jobs to pay the bills.

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Genres:

Comedy

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Release Date:

4 October 2006 (UK)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Rick Spleen: You know what Mel told me about Michael? She found out he used to work in the City, had a complete nervous breakdown, completely flipped out, had to give it up, wanted to do something else so he opened this place instead.
Marty: You Brits, you don't know how to do nervous breakdowns properly! In the States, you have a nervous breakdown, you don't open up a whole food restaurant. No, no, you become a bum. You live on the streets, you put all your stuff in a shopping cart, you pick food outta garbage ...
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Connections

Featured in The Wright Stuff: Episode #15.105 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A British version of Curb Your Enthusiasm
7 December 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Lead Balloon is something like a British version of Curb Your Enthusiasm, although toned down for British sensibilities. But the core is almost exactly the same. Jack Dee plays Rick Spleen, a comedian whose career isn't going as well as it might. The show is mostly about his home and personal life (the kitchen is a staple location), and how he blunders into embarrassing scrapes because of his vaguely sociopathic personality.

It shares the same starting-at-your-fingernails cringe rating as sitcoms such as The Office too, and is less a situation comedy than a 'personality comedy' -- typically the show will wind up with the camera fixated on Dee, as he comes to a sticky end because of his actions.

In many ways this style of sitcom is nothing new. Social faux pas has been a staple of British sitcoms since Terry and June, or The Good Life. What's developed here is the degree of character assassination, which is inherited from The Office or Steve Coogan's shows. Sadly, the only character with any depth is Dee's, and the show sometimes feels like a vehicle for him. The character of Spleen's wife, in particular, makes little sense, and seems to be there simply as a sounding board for Dee's character; at least June Whitfield sometimes got a funny line to say.

While The Office was funny because it was so plausible (and familiar), this sitcom set "behind the curtain" of the media world is less so. Still, there are some very well observed touches, such as Rick Spleen's daughter and her boyfriend, who somehow epitomise modern youth, with their complete self-interest.

The second series is better than the first, but one can still feel comedy cogs grinding against each other. Somehow it doesn't quite work. Ultimately it's a very thin soup. It's not enough to throw characters into an embarrassing situation and watch what happens.


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