6 August 2016 | mmaggiano
The Art of the Scene in Character Comedy
Across twenty-four five minute episodes (each being one scene), First Dates with Toby Harris is consistently pitch-perfect, subtle and raw by the moment, amusing without being farcical, and well-balanced between the foibles of the main character and others. The variety across the episodes is satisfying.
The premise (a sad sack's first-date history) has been done in many ways, usually poorly, by other programs. Here it catches fire.
Genre-wise you might call this character comedy or social satire, since it's the sort of progress-free, learning-free repetition of human folly that is akin to Curb Your Enthusiasm, albeit in gentler and more realistic form. Points here for working in a perfectly natural genre that is severely under-used.