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There have been lots of attempts to show the comic side of so called
"ordinary life" but they always fall into the trap of trying to create
gags, as opposed to reflecting what we all know, which is that real
life often throws up comic moments if only you let it. This is exactly
what the producers, writers, directors, actors have got together to do.
After watching 2 episodes I thought these kids are absolutely brilliant
- they are being allowed to express themselves with none of the
stiffness that a script would bring about. This is especially true for
the young actors but it is also true for the excellent Claire Skinner
and Hugh Dennis, and you can see the delight on their faces as they
react to the children's spontaneity. It just shows how powerful the
technique of improvised and semi-improvised filming can be, and whilst
it's not a new device, I personally believe it's greatly underused. We
all know about Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Woody Allen etc, and we
constantly hear about great moments which ended up in a film which were
the result of some spontaneous improvisation, and yet we steer away
from this dangerous approach. I don't want to put writers out of a job,
and in Outnumbered we can see once again the originality and creativity
of Andy Hamilton's and Guy Jenkin's style, but they appreciate that
they are part of a creative team which produces an end product greater
than the sum of its parts. Let's use the technique more in 'adult'
drama and comedy and not think that it only works where there are cute
A word too about the subject matter itself. It is so extraordinarily well-observed and accurate; I recognise 99% of what's going on on screen. Now I realise that this is a portrayal of one particular life style, and not all the truths are universal ones, but the fact that the choice of family is relatively specific should not lead to it being dismissed as a comedy for the chattering classes, as though that somehow negates its worth.
When I first saw the adverts for this show all that crossed my mind was
the horror of another family sitcom full of clichés and ridiculous
So I had to watch it. Everyone needs something to bitch about, right?
But when I started laughing and smiling, I realised that Outnumbered had cast away any doubters with brilliant performances from some very talented actors, Hugh Dennis and the children made it look like we were actually watching a real family.
The jokes were funny and realistic, you may argue that a child, who picks up a screwdriver and waves it about, is far fetched, I guarantee you its not.
The show should be boring and bland. Nothing happens except a family go about there day to day business and you cant help but wanting more.
Due to great acting, brilliant writing and ingenious improvisation you are left wondering exactly why you find yourself hooked to what your family is doing downstairs.
This is simply the best written sitcom of the year so far, certainly for the BBC, it plays like The Royle Family for the middle class each line is perfectly written and timed to perfection. Hugh Dennis is always good when he looks a little flustered and Claire Skinner is great as harassed mother while Samantha Bond proves their is life after well.. Bond as the ditzy aunt. But its the kids who really should be praised for the most realistic portrayals of children on T.V. ever. Mostly improvising their lines to avoid falling into the clichés - the elder boy is the antithesis of the eleven year old in his first weeks at secondary school keeping his head down, monosyllabic and trying to keep the fact he is being bullied under wraps. The younger boy plays for laughs as the constantly lying middle child he is full of energy and manages to be annoying and likable at the same time. While the little girl is really cute and asking any question that pops into her brain stumping the parents every five minutes. The show is also great with dealing with issues such political correctness, bullying, the class system and the elderly in such a breezy and non-preachy manner. After several years in the wilderness following the success of Drop the Dead Donkey, Guy Jenkins and Andy Hamilton have created another great sitcom which has been buried in the schedules by the BBC and therefore probably won't be noticed by most people who turn the TV off after the 10 o'clock news, this may find cult status on repeat viewing and come back for a second series in a new and improved time slot.
This easily overlooked series was given an extraordinarily late slot by
the BBC. It was shown at around 11pm on three consecutive nights, with
the final three episodes shown in a similar manner the following week.
Here in the UK we are used to family comedy having a once a week slot
at a decent hour. It gives the show time to build an audience through
word of mouth. The Office built slowly by reputation. This little
masterpiece should have been given the same chance.
There are several clips from Outnumbered on Youtube for those unfortunate enough to have missed it. The children are a revelation. With no actual 'jokes' and no laughter track it is refreshingly naturalistic. I look forward to a rerun at a proper hour and hope for a second series.
... the answer from me too is "No", especially if it ever clashes with
Every now and again the stars line up. This week we have had "Outnumbered" and "Gavin and Stacey". Two sitcoms that are the best since "The Office". In my view they both jump straight into the Top 10 BBC comedies.
I've never been the biggest fan of Hugh Dennis. Always thought he was part of the safer, slightly unfunny half of the Mary Whitehouse Experience with mate Steve Punt. How things turn around. David Baddiel seems to be in a vacuum, Rob Newman is now a single issue eco mega bore. With "Outnumbered" and his witty contributions to "Mock The Week" Dennis has come through with this fantastic funny performance.
Claire Skinner is also brilliant and the children .... well words cannot describe how good they are.
So it may seem odd when I say that I hope they never make another series of "Outnumbered". This series has been so perfect, such an accurate natural snapshot of a few weeks of one family's life that I want us to leave them and wonder how they turn out. A second series often has elements of the contrived.
Well done Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin and all the cast. A gem !
I came across this series by chance, after browsing the BBC I-player
site. What a discovery.
The whole thing is so true to life, it's scary. Parents who are so involved in their own world they mostly overlook the gems of information their kids come out with. Kids who actually behave like real life kids rather than the usual spoilt little brats (or worse, sugar sweet fakers) that most shows portray.
For me, the star of the show is Karen. The brilliant Ramona Marquez deserves every TV award going..she steals the show every episode. (Her impression of Fiona Bruce in series 2 is hysterical!!) For someone so young she very clearly understands her character, and makes the most of every scene she is in.
IF you haven't seen this show yet, please please please take the time to watch..and then set aside a whole day to watch the full 2 series as I promise one episode won't be enough.
This is just a terrific series. Why the BBC saw fit to bury it with no fanfare is totally mystifying. It is beautifully put together by the writers, actors and director and works just about as well as it possibly could. Hugh Dennis and Clare Skinner are great as the long-suffering parents and are beautifully matched. It is the children though that make this unusual sitcom work. They deliver their lines with fantastic timing and a real sense of reality. Ramona Marquez is just wonderful and so funny - annoying and sweet at the same time - a very difficult thing to pull off. Daniel Roche and Tyger Drew-Honey (what a name!!) are just as good as seasoned professional actors twice their age. I am so glad a laugh track was not added - it makes the action seem so much more real plus it is so funny it does not need one. it needs to be promoted properly and it would achieve a greater status with the viewing public - the BBC are notorious for poor promotion, unless it is another sodding cookery programme!! Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkins are to be congratulated on the creation of this marvellous piece of work.
Outnumbered is a sitcom orientated around family life - it is very accurate and very, very funny. The kid's lines - especially Ben and Karen's, are absolutely hilarious, and are something that a child would actually talk about. It does remind me of life as part of a family - though I'm only 17, I remember asking the kind of questions and explaining how I felt about the situation these children were in when I was their age. It's both realistic and hilarious. I'm glad I found this show, and was lucky to do so - I don't remember seeing any adverts on the BBC for this series. Which is a shame - the BBC have produced a sitcom that is of the same quality of Channel 4's Spaced. I believe it's one of Britain's sitcoms, and destined t be a cult classic, like Spaced. If the BBC showed more adverts for it, they'd have a bigger audience - this is the best show they've produced in years, comedy or otherwise.
Stumbled across this on an Australian catch up TV website and was just so delighted by the whole series I have recommended it constantly to family and friends. All the characters are beautifully drawn, the children, so normal and so extraordinarily gifted in their portrayals, the adults all flailing helplessly under their skewering questions and inconvenient presence and trying desperately to manage the minutiae and constant throb of everyday "adult" issues. This is a fond and gentle study of a real family where irrational squabbles, thumps and bumps happen regardless of adult conversations and concerns. Unlike any other family sitcom, British or American, the grown up issues and conversations are not "encapsulated" in some weird vacuum where every room in the house is spotless and looks like it has sprung from the pages of a magazine, and where background noise is non existent and problems and issues are all sorted in under 30 minutes. I am a mother myself, and have had a "Ben" of my own, so I completely get the bemused and frustrated love of Dad, Pete, the tired and gentle patience of Mum, Sue, who is also coping with a rat bag sister with no sense of responsibility and a father drifting off into a world of dementia. I just want to give young "Jake" the biggest hug as he tries valiantly to support Mum and Dad quietly and carefully, whilst still needing to do a whole lot more growing up himself. And then there is Karen of the lively intelligence and the never ending quest to see clarity and certainty in a world where grown ups use words like "never" and "always" and just don't follow through. This is a real gem of a series and the writers have captured the real essence of modern family life for lots of parents and have been assisted faultlessly in their portrayal by gifted and intelligent actors who know when not to labour the point. Well done and can I have some more, please?
Don't listen to that t*** who gave it 1/10 this is an amazing sit-com and it is one of the reasons I am proud to be British. It may be predictable and clichéd but that is part of its charm. Karen and Ben (the younger ones) are the best part their clashes are so funny and their logic is insane. What I mean by that is Karen is so literal and Ben is borderline nuts and thats great. The fourth series is on soon (When this review was posted) and I for one can't wait to see it and if you see this before Friday WATCH IT. Oh and one more thing that guys says it 'depressing' but it's not it deals with issues that any English family would face and I think it is a good mould for parenting you will not believe how much stuff my parents has taken from it (except they don't work cos we know how to get around them)
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