A new female-fronted sketch show started on BBC2 last night, and I feel obligated to write about it, because that’s what this blog is supposed to be for… but I know I’ll just end up moaning about the same things I always moan about. In truth, the first episode of Watson & Oliver did make me laugh… just not very often, and not very hard. And I don’t really understand why it was scheduled for a post-watershed slot, when all the sketches were swear-free, and the jokes and performances were pitched at a totally mainstream, family audience. I mean, having a Question Time parody where a daffy woman asks the assembled political experts childish questions like “Why doesn’t the moon marry the sun?”, isn’t exactly spitting in the face of the establishment, is it? And there were a couple of sketches whose sole purpose seemed to be mocking the way working class people talk: “Sometimes they address total strangers with the sobriquet of ‘darling’! Isn’t that hilarious?” Yeah, yeah… brilliant, cutting-edge observation there. What century is it again? Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who remembers when comedy shows were aggressively weird and confrontational… or artistic… or aspired to be something more than just inoffensively amusing. Did I dream it? Am I crazy? Gah!
I don’t know what else to say… Lorna Watson and Ingrid Oliver seem like perfectly charming and lovely people, and if I met them in real life I’d be too busy crushing on them to say anything mean, but they don’t really bring anything new to the table, do they? I was watching WOMEN! (aka Vous les Femmes) again the other day, and that show is simply leagues ahead of this one.
Oh, and to answer a question posed in the introduction to a recent article from The Independent: “Has the BBC found the next French & Saunders?” No. No, they haven’t.