Thursday

Having a Think About Count Arthur Strong

So the first series of CAS has been and gone and I'm left with some impressions.

Firsrtly, the thing that I'm reminded most of, is the technique of taking an established character and developing it for telly, and that's Nathan Barley. Because that achieved it in the same way, by adding a new main character who explores 'the world' of the person you're making the tv show of, who in both cases, takes the title of the show. and in both cases I felt that their role was a little over-blown.

But what Glinner has done, in turning a very successful radio show into telly, has been really slick. When I think of the CAS radio programmes, I remember them being piss-funny, but verging on the uncomfortable. The humor was slightly too close too a sort-of Mr Magoo, in that I wasn't sure how much of the humour was at the expense of CAS, who at times had clearly lost his marbles. The TV production has wiped that away with a really beautiful layer of pathos that has only added to the humour. Well, it's added to the humour that's there, but sometimes the episodes have felt a bit 'joke light', compared to my memories of the radio series.

For a first series, that's a bit strange. The great sitcoms have always veered just off tragedy; only fools and horses, at its best, was only so funny because the situation was so desperate. But I feel there's a lot of work and world building to be done before you can start dealing out the sort of pathos that CAS gave us in the first 6 episodes. Not that it didn't work, but it just made me feel 'well, this is a bit soon', like someone opening up about their ex on your second date.

So yeah, it was good. Well done Linehan.

But then, the laughs dried up half way through the IT crowd finale and I don't know why you just didn't make it funny instead of reference, and self-reference, heavy. It wasn't the kind of major-league sitcom that needed the sort of resolution you gave it. All we wanted was one more good episode, to go out on.

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