Friday, March 14, 2008

That Mitchell and Webb Conundrum

I can’t be the only person who, as a massive fan of Peep Show, tuned in eagerly to the second series of ‘That Mitchell and Webb Look’ only to find it utterly unfunny. Admittedly series one was no belter either, but it was at least stronger than most BBC comedy fare of late.

I like Mitchell and Webb. I first became aware of them on Radio 4 in ‘That Mitchell and Webb Sound’, which worked well on the older medium. It just doesn’t on TV. Much of the sketches are lifted from the radio show and they have already become tiresome. The lazy script writers sketch, for example, might’ve have seemed a good idea but in series two it's just too drawn out and badly written.

They were assisted in the writing of ‘Sound’, the radio show, by Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain, and, together, the four proved quite strong, although the list of writers at the end of ‘Sound’ was often very long. Later, with 'Peep Show', I have come to realise that they are more consistently at their strongest when they take a back seat with the writing duties. Perhaps Armstrong and Bain, who provide the majority of material for their C4 hit, have more of a talent for writing serialised comedy with strong established characters that the viewer cares for? I don’t know quite how much input Mitchell and Webb have in writing 'Peep Show', but it seems it's limited to the nuances that the characters of Mark and Jez add to each scene.

So why is 'Peep Show' brilliant, but 'That Mitchell and Webb Look' rubbish?

Here’s my suggestion (using a simple equation);

[surprisingly mathematical guest blogging by Dan]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So very true. So completely and utterly sad. I hope those four meet up again and I can just pretend all this in-between garbage just never happened. Hold strong Peep Show fans!