Wednesday, 8 June 2011

An antidote to vapid modern culture

An antidote to rushed modern culture

I needed cheering up last night, so I watched half an old episode of Not Going Out on Dave then the whole of Lead Balloon on BBC2.

Amazingly, this worked! I tittered out loud at the antics of Lee Mack and co in NGO – as I usually do. A studio-based sitcom, it is packed with razor sharp gags, and Mack’s timing is spot on. The strength of the writing team (there are 12 scribblers credited) makes this the best show of its kind on TV. I’m glad it’s been re-commissioned.

I was entertained in a different, more sardonic manner by Lead Balloon, starring Jack Dee as struggling writer and comedian, Rick, who managed to stumble into a job as a holiday relief presenter on a TV shopping channel.

The lampooning of shopping channels, as the bland, worthless, soulless entities they are, was very slyly done – then hammered home in those stumbling conversations Rick regularly has with his surly East European maid and the supercilious restaurant owner – not to mention the scorn of Rick’s writing partner, Marty.

And as ever there was a neat reflection on the vapidity of contemporary youth as Rick chatted to his daughter and her jobless boyfriend.

I like the lack of energy and the slightly mournful tone of Lead Balloon. It stands as a sign of contradiction to all the mad rushing and flapping and over-communication of our era.