The Great Indoors, ITV2 | reviews, news & interviews
The Great Indoors, ITV2
The Great Indoors, ITV2
Limp US inter-generational sitcom starring an out-of-place Stephen Fry
The main attraction of this new US sitcom for a UK audience is that two British actors - Stephen Fry and Susannah Fielding – appear in it. The basic premise is that Jack Gordon, a famed reporter, has led a thrilling outdoorsman life, writing about his adventures for the magazine Outdoor Limits. But then his editor, Roland (Fry), recalls him to the office in downtown Chicago and tells him the publication is going web-only, and that he will now be writing about the great outdoors from, well, the not-so-great indoors.
Jack (Joel McHale, pictured below with Fry) is, in best sitcom fashion, a fish out of water; his new colleagues are two decades younger than him, surgically attached their phones and tablets, and whose experience of outdoors life stretches only to wearing cool-brand hiking boots and watching cute nature videos on YouTube.
There's tech nerd Clark (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who's a little bit in awe of Jack's masculinity, Emma (Christine Ko), the magazine's social media expert who is incapable of engaging in real conversation and thinks Jack is “the human version of dial-up”, and Mason (Shaun Brown), a “digital conversation specialist” with fluid sexuality who can't believe Jack has no digital footprint. Completing the line-up is Roland's daughter, Brooke (Fielding), who is managing editor and with whom Jack once had a fling (which is referenced ad nauseam).
The comedy, such as it is, makes fun of the generational differences between macho Jack and these snowflake millennials, whose feelings are easily hurt, who expect a promotion within weeks of joining the company, and who are rewarded with little trophies by Brooke just for trying to complete a task, however poorly. And Jack may only be fortysomething, but apparently he's baffled by clickbait, listicles and swiping right. Really? If creator Mike Gibbons's comedy is stale and stereotype-laden, at least it's an equal opportunity offender.
Fry's presence is a mystery as his character doesn't move the story along, and appears to be there just to fulfil another stereotype – the bumbling Brit who drinks neat whisky before noon. Actually the one funny running gag in the show concerns him calling Jack into his office to tell him some sad news about their “seafaring pal Captain Morgan”, or the sad passing of their 25-year-old friend Glen McKenna (ie they are about to empty the bottle of whisky). Overall, McHale elevates the lame writing with some withering scorn, but the cast can do only so much with poor material.
New sitcoms often take time to bed in, but The Great Outdoors is so lacking in funny lines and is so full of clichés that I fear it won't get any better. I watched the second episode and it was no funnier than the first; I've saved you the trouble.
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