I’m not Irish, so maybe I shouldn’t comment, but if I was from Ireland, I might suggest that the Irish writer of this show is dancing some alcoholic, religion obsessed, stupid, swearing Irish caricatures about for the enjoyment of the predominantly English audience. If an English person wrote this show, they’d stand accused of racism.
The first episode of London Irish introduced the characters: a group of hard-drinking 20-somethings living in London. One of them decided to organise a pub quiz to raise money for an old friend in need of a prosthetic limb.
The show is very irritating. Nobody stops talking. It’s fucking constant. It just will not slow down for a second. And the performances are incredibly annoying, especially from Sinead Keenan who will not stop gurning and shouting and swearing.
And speaking of swearing, the writer seems to think that swearing and vulgarity are a substitute for jokes. Just having a character talk about her shit isn’t funny – you need to put some actual jokes in there. Neither is it funny to have another character swear mindlessly with every single sentence. The Thick of It illustrates how humorous swearing should be done; like any form of writing or humour, there needs to be creativity involved.
The jokes that are in the show are all incredibly signposted. ‘There is absolutely no way we are going to that quiz,’ one character said. ‘You can win a three litre bottle of vodka,’ another replied. Cue the punchline response: ‘Three litre bottle of vodka? What time does it start?’ It’s sitcom writing by the numbers. And none of the characters feel real; they often speak in monologues or without any naturalism. You can see the writer standing behind every line.
There’s also some nasty humour in the show. I think the writer is probably influenced quite a bit by the American show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which similarly features characters who are terrible people. The problem is that while in that show the joke is on the characters themselves, in this show the humour seems genuinely mean in places. At one part this episode, a character is brought to the verge of vomiting from realising that she slept with a guy with only one hand. If you’re going to make jokes like that, you need to handle it appropriately or it comes across as cruel. London Irish isn’t deft enough to use offensive humour.
It’s pretty awful all round, London Irish. Not funny, irritating and mean. The Guardian’s review succinctly summed it up, commentating on the show’s potential to offend the Irish, saying that ‘the entire human race might want to start distancing itself’ from the show. It really is that bad.