Blake Harrison's turn as the Rodney Trotter of our generation continues in this 'sitcom'. He plays Ben Turnbull, a post grad in Norse Poetry who returns home because he can't find a job. So far, so typical. Sadly the 'com' never appears despite the quirky friends, the batty parents and the unrequited love interest. One wonders if the writers completed a box ticking exercise similar to the one that Ben goes through at the volunteering office. Feeding orangutans may have been a better use of their time too. Caroline Quentin is wasted and Sean Walsh walks around looking and acting as grubby as ever. I'm not even sure why he is in it at all...somebody needs to phone Dave HD and tell them to take him away. The episode tries hard but ultimately is too contrived for a comedy connoisseur. And though, Blake Harrison works the innocent, wide eyed stare to its maximum, he just ends up looking a bit camp and gawky. Like Neil in the Inbetweeners.
Big Bad World
Wed Aug 21, 9-9.30pm, Comedy Central
Wed Aug 14 2013
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5
Work, love, friends and family. The four pillars of sitcom, you could argue, and ones without which ‘Big Bad World’ would collapse entirely. As it is, this Blake ‘Inbetweeners’ Harrison vehicle is amiable if inessential, following Ben (Harrison) as he returns to his dead-end hometown after years at university studying Norse Literature.
Only one thing has changed: while his parents (James Fleet and Caroline Quentin) smother him and his mates are locked into old routines, his ex has shacked up with a hunky-yet-sensitive copper. And guess what? He still holds a candle for her. Amid the standard-issue faux pas and idle banter come a few flashes of inspiration – notably the box-ticking job interview – but surprises are generally few and the laughs gentle.
If the Inbetweeners gang were Blake Harrison’s band, their recent motion picture his ‘Greatest Hits’ album, then Big Bad World marks the comedy star’s solo tour. Unfortunately, this new Comedy Central show has hardly got off to a memorable start. There are lighthearted laughs to be had, sure, generally at the expense of Harrison’s innocent and ever-optimistic Ben, but they’re hollow in comparison to the most iconic moments the actor has spent in the company of his Rudge Park peers. It’s great to see The Vicar of Dibley’s James Fleet back on our screens with a few show-stealing one-liners. At the same time, though, it’s telling that Fleet’s gags are superior to any of those Harrison is afforded. Perhaps aptly, this is a comedy that’s neither Big enough to stun nor Bad enough to warrant an early cancellation- it’s simply somewhere Inbetween.
You can usually tell a good comedy show by the first five minutes. Laugh and there's a very good chance its a winner. Easily distracted and it'll have to work twice as hard to get you back. I can't deny Big Bad World has a good cast of British comedians but personally I feel as if they are trying too hard to be serious yet funny to the point where it feels forced. The storyline is simple and you can feel for him If you too have A) had to move back home B) have cringe worthy parents or C) a combination of the two. By all means worth a try, I may even give episode two a chance to see it if it can redeem itself. Just don’t go in with any major expectations for you will be left feeling a little flat. Well unless you like the image of a man pooing in a bin.....
Subscribe to Time Out London on Spotify for daily playlists and recommendations from our Music team.