Friday Night Dinner a bit hard to digest - Channel Hopper
New Channel Four comedy one of worst ever opening episodes of a sitcom
'In the best traditions of Channel Four comedy, it successfully marries the ground-breaking with the familiar and best of all, it’s really, really funny.’ Grand claims made there on behalf of Friday Night Dinner (Channel 4, Fri 25 Feb, 10pm) by a very creative type with an extremely wild imagination in the C4 press office. Can ‘groundbreaking’ also be ‘familiar’? Surely to break ground, you have to split from the familiar? As for ‘really, really funny’? Well, while you wouldn’t judge a novel purely on the basis of its first 50 pages, you should still be enticed into its world sharpish. Similarly with the first episode of a six-part series, and as opening 24-minute episodes go, this is a pretty puny effort.
Simon Bird does his confused-sardonic thing, followed by that appalled look he’s perfected in The Inbetweeners while anything remotely reminiscent of a guffaw is produced by laughing at a man with impaired hearing. There’s a worm-infested Alsatian called Wilson that sniffs around his owner’s genitalia. That’s quite amusing. At one point a sofa bed gets frustratingly stuck halfway down the stairs. That might be funny if you’ve never seen Laurel and Hardy or Fawlty Towers or that Eric Sykes short film, The Plank. You could be kind and say this isn’t much good. Or you could be honest and declare the first slab of FND (as someone who likes this might dub it) one of the worst opening episodes of a sitcom since Big Top defiled the genre.