9 February 2014 | SceneByScene
Superb characterisation. Humour; but also great pathos & the realism of humanity. Plus great interludes of original music as mock pop/rock band videos !
This is a super new comedy.
Funny, but with great pathos too. Not a situation comedy; more a character comedy.
I hadn't heard of Nick Helm before this programme. He's well worth watching.
Yes, "Uncle" has similarities to other current comedies about 'loser blokes over forty with no life' (e.g. "Man Down" with Greg Davies) - and the viewer feels for the 'loser' lead character in this programme, just as with the lead in "Man Down" - but, still, it stands its own ground. It's sadder, calmer, & less frenetic than "Man Down", with the characters more believable. "Uncle" touches on reality far more: hence the evoked sympathy with the lead character.
Nick Helm gives a depth to the character of 'Andy' the uncle, that other comedians might avoid, or indeed not be capable of eliciting from the character. We see elements of 'Andy' that are likable, as well as the predictable moments when we cringe away from him. From the very first episode there are moments of darkness to his portrayal - tinged of course with just enough of the required humour. Helm builds a solid character in 'Andy', who never veers too much towards, or away from, the 'loser' aspect of the uncle. It would have been all too easy to have become a caricature.
The other characters are also nicely played as 3-dimensional & fully human: with the flaws of the average human being, but also the plus-points and all the spectrum/grey areas in between.
Con O'Neill is hilarious as the father of 'Andy's' main love interest. His owner of a rock bar with a gay clientèle, and a cross-dressing bewigged owner at that, is so on point. He manages to convey the hilarity of such a character whilst also making us believe his ominous threats to protect his daughter from Nick's repeated advances.
Daisy Haggard is also excellent as Andy's sister: a very 'real' portrayal as a committed but isolated single mum.
'Andy's' young nephew - played by Elliot Speller-Gillott - is a budding talent. He plays a nice balance of a little bit geeky & a little bit cute; again a blend that mirrors a genuine 12 year old. In fact, the programme served to remind me that we were all that gawky, difficult age once! Not many comedies bring in that amount of scope.
There hasn't been much good new comedy on TV for years, IMHO, so 'Uncle' is happily welcomed. (Too much rubbish "reality TV" is broadcast these days, & the broadcast schedule is sadly getting even more overloaded with these gross & dross programmes. But I digress . . . !) All in all, this is a programme well worth watching.
Plus there is the appeal of the quirky musical elements: mock videos - in the style of pop/rock bands - that are performed by 'Andy' and alternating members of the rest of the cast. They are cleverly put together, and - a delightfully surprising bonus! - are a truly musical interlude. A particularly fetching aspect of each episode. The music in the 'videos' being original just adds to this appeal. Not to mention Nick Helm's pleasant voice! An original touch to a comedy programme.
In the 'drama' part that is inherent to this comedy, the viewer gets to see the reasons why 'Andy' is not so successful in life, but also we see his kindness - towards his sister, and his growing fondness for his nephew. He is truly a diamond in the rough. Plus the way he shines when he sees the teacher of his nephew, the full-bodied personality of 'Andy' - that otherwise seems to lurk in the shadows - can finally be seen. 'Melodie' already likes him, but can he see what light she is already bringing out in him?! A truly appealing & witty man is there somewhere . . . But 'Andy' does not seem to see how he naturally comes alive around her. The sparks are clearly there. The question is, will 'Andy' also eventually sense this?!
I have only seen as far as episode 4 . . . so roll on the next episode; maybe we'll find out if 'Andy' ever realises with whom he truly becomes alive!
~ by SceneByScene (UK) ~