Saturday, 29 October 2011

SPY, 1.3 - "Codename: Grades"

Saturday, 29 October 2011
I'm a glutton for punishment, you might say, but I'm fascinated by terrible shows that other people seem to like. Or perhaps just tolerate better because their tastes are "peculiar", don't care to see how something can be improved, or don't notice the many mistakes it's making. Spy's third episode was certainly the best of the bunch—so it's improving every week, which is something to be grateful for. But, seriously, why is this show called Spy? Tim (Darren Boyd) could have any number of jobs he's keeping a secret from his family, as it never feels like he's a government agent, and the show never allows him to do anything cool in his profession. In "Codename: Grades", Tim's being trained in computer hacking, which he seems quite proficient at anyway, and while that's certainly more plausible work for MI5 to be doing than fighting Russian assassins on a train, I know which would be more fun!

This week's story truly began when Tim abused his position to alter his annoying son Marcus's (Jude Wright) school grades, lowering them from A*'s to C's and D's. He also upset his son's dance-obsessed teacher Philip (Tom Goodman-Hill), who's also his ex-wife's new boyfriend, leading to Marcus being expelled from school as a very implausible punishment. Wouldn't Marcus's mother, Judith (Dolly Wells), have something to say about her boyfriend kicking her son out of school like that? Of course she would, but Spy's not concerned with developing any kind of reality—be it the family dynamic or Tim's job as a spy.

It was faintly amusing to see the studious Marcus become a tracksuit-wearing chav after a few hours spent watching Jeremy Kyle with Tim's friend Chris (Mathew Baynton), and I do quite like any scene where Tim's fellow spook Caitlin (Rebekah Staton) is around, but the rest can be painfully unfunny and, worse, utterly devoid of internal logic. After hearing that Chris is going to be looking after Marcus during school hours, Caitlin tells Tim "there are plenty of worse people you could leave Marcus with", implying she's know about Chris's character. But where's that come from? Have those characters even met yet?

Overall, Spy is just a huge mess, I don't care what its fans say. It's beneath Boyd, a particular waste of Robert Linsday (who's clearly having fun, but his character does nothing beyond brandish weapons while being a misogynistic idiot), and it's completely failing to do anything interesting with its derivative concept. You could remove every spy-related scene and the show would barely change one iota.

written by Simeon Goulden / directed by Ben Taylor / 28 October / Sky1