Badults is the type of show people will describe as ‘fun’, before claiming that anyone who doesn’t like it doesn’t like ‘fun’. It’s the television equivalent of people doing Gangnam Style at parties, which makes me the equivalent of the guy who sits immovable at a pub table and refuses to take part.
And I’m okay with that. Because Badults is…not very good. It is not terrible, and has some decent ideas and an admirable willingness to weave call-backs through the script, but it is just not particularly good. It is a show in which the audience start laughing literally two seconds into the episode, at the sight of a man singing a song. It is, to put it mildly, broad.
Episode one introduced the three main characters – a straight man, an idiot and, er, another idiot – who accidentally withdrew thousands of pounds from the bank, before spending a few days trying not to lose it, failing, and then struggling to make the money back using whacky business ideas.
If the show has a major strong suit it is a willingness to play with the TV format, at one point adding a woman signing for the deaf at the bottom of the screen, at another breaking the fourth wall and referencing their own flashbacks. The episode also built into farce in an enjoyable way, starting with the characters playing board games and referencing Les Miserables, and ending with one character enslaving the other two before a revolution and an execution at a makeshift guillotine.
The problem is that the jokes are really lame. Double meanings and puns; jokes confusing financial stocks with gravy stock or a character awkwardly describing a murder-mystery as ‘period’ so another can make a weak menstrual joke. And the audience laughing over the top at every. single. line. is incredibly annoying. I’m not completely against live TV audiences – it works in Father Ted for instance – but when a hundred people laugh uproariously at a bad joke it makes that bad joke ten times worse.
The main characters are also pretty clichéd, the straight man and the fool, and the sensible woman who cleans up after all the fun hijinks of the boys.
I read that the three comedians who star in and wrote Badults used to perform this material as a stage show – Pappy’s – and I can kind of see how all this nonsense would work in that environment. It’s live, and this type of thing can be great fun if you see it live. That’s why panto is so successful, or a Punch and Judy show at the beach. But on TV? Surely we should be striving for something better, and spending the limited pool of BBC cash on something cleverer than slapstick and funnier than jokes confusing Oxo Cubes with the stock market.
Some people will love it though, I’m sure. Maybe I’m just miserable. Feel free to leave me here at the table with my drink, and go do Gangnam Style.
- ‘Moldy Chop sink unblocker – More powerful than an eagle fucking the world.’