Saturday, 5 November 2011

SPY, 1.4 - "Codename: Bookclub"

Saturday, 5 November 2011

It's still lame and ill-conceived on so many levels, but I hope someone recognizes Jude Wright's skills as a young actor and gives him a sitcom to headline. He could be the British answer to Frankie Muniz, or something. Beyond that thought, Spy continued to drag its feet through another useless half-hour, trapped in a bizarre universe where an automatic door playing the Countdown theme tune made it through a first draft.

To be fair, the last third of "Codename: Bookclub" wasn't too shabby by this show's standards, and I liked the bonkers idea that Marcus (Wright) runs a Book Club from his bedroom that's a front for a children's casino. Tim (Darren Boyd) wearing a see-through T-shirt to Caitlin's (Rebekah Staton) life study art class also raised a smile, as did a brief moment when The Examiner (Robert Lindsay) electrocuted an employee connected to a lie-detector machine. But such moments are still few and far between. Spy has yet to even justify the promise of its own title, as Tim and Caitlin do precious little spying and might as well be working as accountants for a megalomaniac. The show would probably be improved if Tim was still a simple shop assistant and it was singularly about a single father coping with a live-action version of Family Guy's Stewie. Robert Lindsay's poised and eager to steal scenes, but the scripts just have him spending each episode brandishing a different weapon at his desk (this week a bowie knife) and giving Tim misguided speeches and bad advice.

I'd love to know how something as poor as Spy got made, or what people who enjoy it get from it. I can only assume expectations are low because it's on Sky, or taste in British comedy has hit rock bottom after a very weak post-Office period. Someone explain to me why Philip (Tom Goodman-Hill) and Chris (Matthew Baynton) brayed like imbeciles to blow their cover when Tim almost caught them in Marcus's casino. And why would Tim think leaning at an extreme angle against a wall would impress Caitlin? He's not a moron. I wouldn't be surprised to discover the actors, out of sheer desperation, perhaps half-improvise a few scenes, just to try and give the show a boost. If so, you can't blame them for trying, but I suspect it's all thoroughly scripted and writer Simeon Goulden really does think this is hilarious.

I like to end on a positive at times like this: I like the theme tune.

And here's Simeon Goulden putting his perspective across. He seems like a nice fellow, which makes it even more frustrating Spy isn't funnier and doesn't use its MI5 backdrop in an interesting way.

written by Simeon Taylor / directed by Ben Taylor / 4 November 2011 / Sky1