Sunday, 11 July 2010

Retro Monday: Spaced (Tv)

OK, so not technically 'Retro', but at 11 years old I like to think that the influence that Spaced has had on comedy is very great indeed. We wouldn't have even seen a lot T.v shows or films made.
This sounds extreme but its true, if you need proof I'll be talking about that later.

Right lets start at the beginning, an unknown channel 4 sit-com first aired in 1999 starring a group of unknown comedians/actors. It's set in a south London suburb about two failing twenty-some thing's Tim Bisley and Daisy Steiner and their Zoo of odd friends. Their constant struggle to meet with life's curve balls gives them a chance to get into some colourful adventures, throw in a tonne of rapid fire pop culture references mixed with the often surreal cartoonish flashback sequences and ...dingdingding We've got a winner!
A writing team of Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes (then Stevenson) and a shit hot director Edgar Wright saw this show elevate above most standard British sit-coms. One of the reasons for this as an inclusion to my Retro Monday choice is the fact that 'it got me.' I'll explain, the characters talk about movies, they play games, get pissed/high enough to think that everyone is a zombie and they're in "Resident Evil", they give full detail backgrounds on the history of star wars and why the gunner on the star-destroyer is responsible for the whole thing, they drink, take drugs. Its pop culture at it's very finest, unbelievable amounts crowbar'd in to each lovingly crafted episode. 14 were made and 14 is enough, very much like The office did always leave them wanting more.
So lets take a (brief) look at the characters and story, I wanted to blog about spaced and talk what its done for the industry not so much a list of character and episode intricacies. Simon Pegg plays lovable loser Tim Bisley, who happens to meet the equally lovable Daisy Steiner (played by Jess Hynes) in a local cafe. On the off-chance, their both looking for somewhere to live and over a little persuasion they decide to pose as a couple to rent a local flat. Problem solved? right?
Marsha (the excellent Julia Deakin) is the landlady of said property and needs to stay convinced that Tim & Daisy are a couple or its out you go. Living below them is the artist/painter and social outcast Brian (played superbly by Mark Heap) who becomes friends with the new duo on the day they move in. Invited to a house warming party we get the first taste of Army obsessed Mike Lewatt (Nick Frost) and Twist (katy Carmicheal) a friend of Daisy's. This ragtag group of geeky, awkward, fashion obsessed army nerds somehow form a kind of family. A strange dysfunctional opposites attract kind-of family. And we loved it!

OK, my fellow bloggers will agree with me here that without this program we wouldn't have some very delicious comedy morsels to chew on. As i was mentioning at the top of this blog Spaced's knock -on effect is like a pebble in a pond. In particular Edgar wright, Simon Pegg and Nick frost's careers have gone from strength to strength.
No spaced means no Shaun of the Dead, Hotfuzz, or Scott Pilgrim (well, looking that good anyway.) All 3 of them are now in the super leagues - starring in Spielberg's TinTin bigscreen adap and writing Antman along with fellow funny man scribe Mr Joe 'Cornballs' Cornish.
Tv wise Nick Frost was in Man stroke woman, hyper drive, and the recent Money. He's also writing and starring in 'Paul' with partner Simon Pegg, can't exactly hurt one's chances can it.

For me, I can re watch Spaced over and over and never get bored with it, it's not that i see different things each time no, it's the genius of the character flaws that keep me hooked and of course its now infamous machine gun style editing. The surreal mixed with heart is at the shows centre, Tim & Daisy's will they/won't they romance is at the core of Spaced, of course their complemented with a man who once dressed his dog up in period costumes to take pictures. a man who once stole a tank and tried to invade Paris and twist, a woman so shallow that working in a laundrette is working in fashion.

So dust off that old VHS copy (yep, i had it on video) or collectors edition DVD and re-watch the 14 episode pop culture laced classic that started it all. Great soundtrack too.

Peace and love,
Dr Lucian Sanchez

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