Thursday, 13 October 2011


Thursday, 13 October 2011
The show's been on a gentle slide in quality since episode 1, but thankfully the decline hasn't been too steep. But that still means episode 4 was the least appealing hour so far, despite storylines revolving around sex (one of the richest sources of comedy in the world). It's become typical to enjoy two storylines and tolerate the rest with Fresh Meat, and that proved to be the case again: it was great to see Oregon's (Charlotte Ritchie) affair with Professor Shales (Tony Gardner) develop into seedier territory, as it became clear Shales is just a horny middle-aged man who can't believe his luck; and there was fun to be had when Josie (Kimberly Nixon) discovered Kingsley's (Joe Thomas) still a virgin and resolved to help him pop his cherry. But the rest? Take it or leave it.

It's frustrating, because putting JP (Jack Whitehall) and Howard (Greg McHugh) together—in a search for drugs—was something I've been looking forward to since their toilet standoff in episode 1, but writer Keith Akushie didn't run with the suggestion they'll be quarrelsome competitors. And Vod's (Zawe Ashton) "storyline" was more like a stray event, as she read and enjoyed a book she's supposed to write a report and found she could therefore write a review from the heart.

There was just a sense of the show flagging here, with less inventive camerawork (Nick Wood replacing David Kerr as director) and a script lacking in big laughs (last week's writer Penny Skinner is credited for "additional material", which suggests she came in to add jokes). Who knows what went on behind-the-scenes, but I just know that 50% of this week's story wasn't of interest, and it was the least amusing episode aired so far. It's common for the weaker episodes of comedies to be scheduled halfway through a series' run, so I'm hopeful Fresh Meat will recover for its remaining episodes and this was the nadir. And if this is rock bottom, that goes to show how good this show is.

This certainly wasn't a terrible episode, just disappointingly mediocre. That said, the fact that Kingsley finally slept with inamorata Josie (under embarrassing circumstances), but only after he'd unexpectedly lost his virginity with drama student Ruth, adds a great wrinkle to their love story. I just hope characters like JP, Howard and Vod get some good storylines soon, because they've been left wanting for the past few weeks.

What did you think?

written by Keith Akushie (additional material by Penny Skinner) · directed by Nick Wood · 12 October 2011 · Channel 4