Archive for Mark Heap

Top Ten: British Comedy #3 – Spaced

Posted in Advertising & Television, Top Ten with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2013 by innothingwetrust

Spaced

My, my this top 3 was hard to place. It illustrates how much I love each of these shows how wrong it feels that Spaced, Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes’s sitcom about an amiable bunch of twenty-somethings struggling to come to terms with adulthood, is only 3rd. I am sorry. In fact, I might tie all of these top 3 in 1st. No, that’s just wussing out…

Tim Bisley (Simon Pegg) and Daisy Steiner (Jessica Hynes) are two strange strangers brought together by the common interest of house-hunting in London. Lying about being a couple (the ad said ‘professional couple only’ thanks to an error by cameo performer Ricky Gervais), they manage to secure a flat in Meteor Street from their nosey new land lady, Marsha (Julia Deakin). Here they meet their new neighbour Brian (Mark Heap), a (probably) insane contemporary artist, whose favourite topics are… well, you know what they are. Just not watercolours. Throw into the mix Tim’s best friend Mike (Nick Frost), a military-minded, gun-toting, rough-rambling maniac (and fan of Eddie Murphy), Twist (Katy Carmichael), Daisy’s best friend and incorrigible fashion bitch, and Colin (Aida – may she rest inn peace), Daisy’s Miniature Schnauzer and part-time Elizabethan dancer and there you have it.

Pegg and Hynes have said numerous times that the characters in Spaced were based on real people and this is why they work so well together. Spaced is essentially, for anyone who grew up a geek in the 80s or 90s, a show about yourself and the weirdos you called your friends. Having been raised in an age of television, movies and the internet, people of this generation have pop culture indelibly imprinted on their everyday psyche, and this is another thing that the show captures brilliantly. At every given opportunity a pop-culture reference is thrown in to reflect how these familiar characters view the world. Star Wars, The Matrix, Fight Club, Jurassic Park, Pulp Fiction, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Shining, Scooby Doo, The Evil Dead – each reference is a joy to behold for anyone who recognises them and is weaved into the prose effortlessly. A show so clever it’s almost as if it’s… self aware…

And then of course there is the on-going ‘will they, won’t they?’ saga of Tim and Daisy which is executed with more care and genuine affection than I’ve seen in any other production.

Simon Pegg has since moved very much onto the big screen with Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz (certainly to my mind his third best film), Star Trek, Paul et al. Jessica Hynes has stuck mainly to television, although periodical forays into cinema have seen her pop up in Son of Rambow, Bridget Jones 2 and even providing a voice for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Neither, however, have ever reached the heights of the show which kick-started their careers back in 1999. It is an absolute classic and the referencing of other films, TV shows and games which are also classics will ensure that the comedy remains timeless. In short, I absolutely love everything about this show. I love it like a best friend, someone I can always rely on to make me feel better. Putting it on is like turning on my childhood. Or at least my teens. Well, maybe my early 20s…

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