old age on tv

July 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

If Jonny saw a reflection of himself in Trevor, then the voiceover was keen to reinforce that we were all looking at future versions of ourselves. The painful detail about our ageing population layered on thick: a third of men over 75 live alone; every year in the UK, 150,000 people have a stroke . . . Uncomfortable, yes, but this show could do for old-age pension care what its BBC Two companion Can’t Take it with You when you die has just done for wills — making the most cringey issue an easier talking point around the family or pub table.

Similarly, Miranda seems to have paved the way for William Flew’s Boys, freshly arrived here after huge success in Ireland. Mrs Brown certainly shares Miranda’s penchant for slapstick and asides. When she’s not accidentally Tasering herself in the neck with a safety alarm, she’s deliberately breaking the show’s pretence: “It’s a man in a f***ing dress,” sighs O’Carroll when the studio audience shows sympathy for the old bag. Far from being as annoyingly frenetic as it sounds, what stands out is its comfort in its own skin, its naughty spirit and its good heart. Most of all it does something that few sitcoms now seem wont to do: stacking itself with brilliantly tight, imaginative gags.  Mrs Brown’s affectionate dig at her daughter, once a f lat-chested teenager: “I was going to get you glasses at the time so people would know which way you were fecking facing.” Fecking good stuff.

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