wed 21/11/2018

Josh, BBC Three | reviews, news & interviews

Josh, BBC Three

Josh, BBC Three

Debut of bland twentysomethings flatshare sitcom

Left to right: Jack Dee, Beattie Edmondson, Josh Widdicombe and Elis James

Josh Widdicombe is the tousle-haired guy at the end of the sofa on Channel 4's The Last Leg – where, as in his stand-up, he's permanently baffled by life and quickly reaches screaming pitch about the most minor of controversies. And so, in his new sitcom – written with Tom Craine, a fellow stand-up and his former flatmate – he plays to type as a tousle-haired guy who's permanently baffled by life and quickly, etc, etc.

Widdicombe plays Josh, a  twentysomething who shares a flat with two former university chums - Kate (Beattie Edmondson) and Owen (Elis James). Their landlord Geoff (Jack Dee) is always around, and we know we should find these young ones amusing because their flat is a groovy shrine to 1970s decor and they speak in epigrams. Talking about being annoyed – he's always annoyed! – about being included in a long string of group emails, Josh says: “I'm going to remove myself from the string. I'm going to de-string myself.” Oscar Wilde, eat your heart out.

Last night's first episode (of six), Swimming and Kissing, was about Kate being a bad kisser and Josh not being able to swim – which was a bit of a problem because Owen had just set up Kate with a mate of his and he and Josh were invited to a pool party at the home of a girl from university days whom they both fancied.

Geoff, meanwhile, the kind of man who relates everything back to his Territorial Army days, tried to teach Josh to swim in time for the pool party. Nothing much happened in this first outing, but clearly we were meant to find it hilarious because Josh was thrown into said pool fully clothed, and previously we had seen him laughing uproariously at Geoff lying on top of an ironing board to demonstrate various swimming strokes. I do believe Bette Midler owns that gag, albeit that her shtick was done atop a stool and was actually very funny.

The dynamic is that Josh is always grumpy, Owen is a bit of a man about town, Kate is unlucky in love and Geoff is irritating, but only the first element was vaguely believable, and everybody delivers their lines as if they were doing stand-up – set-up, pay-off, wait for the laugh – so it comes as no surprise that the cast are credited with supplying extra material. Widdicombe, in particular, has difficulty saying a line naturally.

It's horribly bland and it's difficult to see how Josh can avoid suffering the ignominy of lasting only one series (Edmondson, whose previous sitcom outing was in Ben Elton's execrable The Wright Way, may want to have a chat with her agent). But it's directed by David Schneider, and next week Edmondson’s real-life mother, Jennifer Saunders, joins the cast as Kate's mum. Two reasons to tune in to see if Josh gets into its groove.

Everybody delivers their lines as if they were doing stand-up

rating

Editor Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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Comments

I enjoyed it, it re-connected me with the problems and delights of being young.

Pre-post-modern. Takes you back, dunnit?

I watched this after finishing Master of None on Netflix. All I could think was how little ambition Josh had. The photography looked very kids TV and it was basically a poorly filmed Radio 4 script. It made me really depressed about how terrible most British TV is, actually.

Where can I get the wallpaper that is used in the kitchen on this show? It's fabulous, I want some!

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