I’m back! After a year-long hiatus. 2016 was a depressing year for me, both professionally and personally. Though I did read a lot of books, the target of 52 wasn’t met. That was one of many disappointments. By the end of last year, my book reading had become non-existent and writing for pleasure had ceased. But I’m back and intend to stay. So, here’s my review of The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.
You read it right. I’m talking about Sunny Leone, the pornographic actress.
When television was introduced in India Doordarshan was the only channel available. At that time it created shows that were simple and clean and have thus stood the test of time. These shows are popular even today. One such show is the classic, Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi. A comedy series that aired in 1984 and continued on for over 50 episodes. That’s right. Just a little over 50 episodes.
The show revolves around the trials and errors of Ranjit (Shafi Inamdar), his wife Renu (Swaroop Sampat) and his unemployed brother-in-law Raja (Rakesh Bedi). Later episodes introduced the character of Chachi (Farida Jalal) who comes to live with Renu and Raja while Ranjit is overseas. Chachi is brought there by her daughter Rashmi (Reena Wadhwa) who wants to work in Bombay. Supporting characters involved Bhattacharya (Vijay Kashyap) and Mandira (Sulbha Arya), the Bengali couple next-door.
The USP of the show lies in the characters played by Satish Shah who played a different role in each episode. No two characters were repeated. He was the neighbour, the salesman, the friend, the servant, the shopkeeper, the co-worker, the detective and many others. His characters play a central role in each episode.
Storylines involved the daily life of these characters and the hilarious ways they endure and move on. The series is notable for it clean humour and simple characters. If you ever get an opportunity to watch it please do.
Today there are more than 100 channels showcasing different shows (most of them with the same storylines) and rarely do we enjoy them. At times we need to look back at such shows that used everyday situations to create a fresh approach to comedy. It gives you an insight into the undramatic world of humour. Take it from me. Once you catch the Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi bug, you never recover.
The good thing about British sitcoms is that they are insanely funny. The bad thing about British sitcoms is they don’t last long. Every season has about 6 to 8 episodes. Not enough for me. They are too good to have such a short stint. Coupling is one such show.
Coupling (2000) centers around the lives of six friends. Steve (Jack Davenport), Susan (Sarah Alexander), Patrick (Ben Miles), Sally (Kate Isitt), Jeff (Richard Coyle) and Jane (Gina Bellman). Steve has commitment problems. Susan doesn’t mind committing. Patrick has huge problems. Sally has a huge thing for Patrick. Jeff and Jane just have problems.
Though it has been compared to “Friends”, it’s different. In Friends, it was about being friends and their separate lives. Here, it deals with the characters’ relationships with each other. Everyone stands out in their roles. But the best is, without a doubt, Richard Coyle as Jeff. His theories on the female form are hilarious. The show lost some of its touch when he left after the third season. Richard Mylan took his place as Oliver. Being funny is one thing but being creatively funny is another. The episode “Split” is my favourite. It narrates events from the girl’s and guy’s perspective simultaneously. The episode with the meeting of Patrick and Sally for the first time is another laugh riot.
The American version was not successful partly because of the casting. Jay Harrington as Steve, Rena Sofer as Susan, Colin Ferguson as Patrick, Lindsay Price as Jane and Christopher Moynihan as Jeff. While I agree with the Steve and Susan casting, the others felt like a mismatch. Christopher Moynihan as Jeff was the worst casting I had ever seen. It also lacked originality because it used the same script as the British version. Every dialog was the same yet spoken differently (read:badly) and that was another reason it failed.
I would recommend Coupling, the U.K series to everyone. It’s not just funny, it’s crazy. It guarantees to make you laugh your socks off.
Aired: 2009 – 2010
Starring: Portia de Rossi, Jay Harrington, Andrea Anders, Jonathan Slavin and Malcom Barrett.
Better Off Ted follows a group of characters working for a conglomerate called Veridian Dynamics. It documents their daily life from their work perspective. Veridian is a typical Fortune 500 type company where it gets the maximum work out of employees by putting them through bizarre situations.
Ted Crisp (Jay Harrington) heads the Research & Development wing of Veridian who also narrates the story. He has a thing for Linda Zwordling (Andrea Anders), a tester in his department. His team also consists of Phil (Jonathan Slavin) and Lem (Malcom Barrett), two socially awkward but genius scientists. These four are headed by Veronica (Portia de Rossi), a beautiful but cold woman feared by her subordinates.
Most of the humour is dead-on. It is a funny take on how companies treat employees, corporate laws, business tactics and lots of bending-the-rules. Another funny aspect of the show are the mock commercials that are shown in between. In the end, the message is clear, “What the company wants, the company gets”. People like me working for a huge company can relate to the characters.
It was cancelled after two seasons despite garnering critical acclaim. Better Off Ted suffered, not from the lack of talent but from the lack of “stars”. There were no Jerry Seinfelds, Teri Hatchers, Donald Trumps or Paris Hiltons for it to go on. All it had was a very talented cast who gave it their best. If you ever get a chance, please watch it. It’s a relief from all the crap that is being aired now. Yes Jersey Shore, I’m talking to you.