Quick Cuts review – Episode One – BBC Four

Quick CutsQuick Cuts is pretty awful. It’s cartoonish and full of broad, stupid jokes and features characters that do things and react to things in unrealistic ways purely to serve some rubbish joke, usually with a punchline unnecessarily underlined by the directing. I laughed once in the 30 minutes it was on.

Episode one introduced us to the employees of a hairdressers. One suspected another of theft, one had a blind date, and Sue, the owner of the shop, took some internet drugs for no real reason, the effect of which conveniently varied depending on what any particular scene needed; Sue high doing funny things or Sue straight and acting normally.

One of the characters, Marianne, is transgender, a fact introduced in a really awkward scene where it was brought up by a customer who apparently ‘heard a rumour.’ This guy spends the episode stalking Marianne and apparently hanging around outside the hairdressers for an entire day and evening. The character was played by PhoneShop’s Tom Bennett, who has seemingly based his entire comic acting style in this and in other shows on David Brent and other Ricky Gervais performances.

All kinds of ludicrous things kept happening in the episode. Sue shaves a big chunk of her boyfriend’s hair off without anyone reacting, one character tips another’s handbag over the floor (no problem, no one cares), another steals someone else’s bracelet (still best of friends!) and hairdryers get thrown at people without anyone batting an eyelid. It is all very weak.

The only scene I liked was the blind date Annie went on, which had an okay Michael Jackson joke, but one which was drawn out and repeatedly underlined in a little microcosm of this show’s overt writing. Jessica Gunning was good as Annie though – understated – and the guy playing the date was decent.

The acting in general isn’t bad. Doon Mackichan is always good, though given poor material here, and Lucinda Dryzek, as the youngest employee, has some pretty good comic timing and delivery. Another PhoneShop alumni Javone Prince showed up at the end and gave a nicely delivered speech.

As for the writing, if I was to praise anything, it’d be that the episode had a lot going on, a lot of different plot points, and, unlike some shows, it actually did things with the characters, shading them and fleshing them out a little. It wasn’t funny though, the humour was broad, clumsy and obvious, and the characters and plotting cartoonish. For instance: a slapstick scene at the end where a character uses a fire extinguisher on an imaginary chipmunk, or a character swallowing random pills that have ‘sudden death’ as a side-effect. Without realism or humour in either plot or characters, there’s just nothing to engage with, and nothing to make me want to watch any more episodes.

Choice lines:

  • ‘This was in 2008.’ ‘Oh.’ ‘I’ve sort of been in a coma until two months ago.’
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