Make mine Moss!
Episode One: Jen the Fredo
Not being much of a Big Brother fan ( I will run screaming from the room), I end up avoiding Channel 4 for most of the summer – which is why I nearly missed the return of one the channel’s silliest, most loveable comedy shows. Moss, Roy and Jen are back at Reynham Industries, taking on the corporate world from the safety of their basement.
I was pleased to see that the basement still looks as though Forbidden Planet and Japan had exploded inside it. It’s full of references to everything from V for Vendetta to Zelda. Pehaps Moss (Richard Ayoade), the show’s uber-geek, is in charge of this scenery? Moss has always been the best part of the show, and is possibly the most deliciously awkward character on the planet, although he’s a little underused in this episode. I think he’s saving his geek powers for his appearence on Countdown next week.
Instead, the plot revolves around Jen (Katherine Parkinson), who wants a little more to her job than babysitting Moss and a lovelorn Roy (Chris O’Dowd) and applies for the position of Cultural Events Manager (the ‘Fredo‘) at Reynham Industries. Everyone says it’s not for her, and she soon discovers why – the businessmen aren’t interested in seeing Mamma Mia, they had something a little less disturbing in mind. They want ladies to, er, ‘dance’ with. So, naturally, Jen turns them over to the care of Roy and Moss. An emotional evening of playing Dungeons and Dragons awaits!
This show still loves its geeks, and the healing power of Dungeons & Dragons bonds everyone very sweetly. Jen has turned into a full on pimp by the end of it, but I think she’ll recover, even after she learned what happened to the Godfather’s Fredo. Douglas Reynham also survives a visit from the feminist lobby, who awarded him a very unflattering statue, and has to use his charms on Miranda (Dolly Wells), which goes rathr better than expected.
The series has shown steady improvement over the last few years – but it’s still very hit and miss. The last season relied heavily on its characters without really doing anything very interesting with them. It still does a good job of filtering topical ideas and making them into true sitcom situations, particuarly the one with the friendly German cannibal!
I felt this episode held together pretty strongly, with a sweet line in thwarted ambition and consequence free sexual harrassment. Of course it was obvious that D&D was going to be used to save the day, but I liked Jen’s Fredo payoff right at the end. This is still the best show taking the piss out of the insanity of work since the Office, (UK version anyway), and delights in sending up those who squat at the top of the corporate ladder and those who crouch below it.
A great start to the new season, and you can watch it smoothly on youtube right here!