2 April 2018 | nearlymellow
Nice Intentions and Watchable.
My father caught me watching this and sneered. It's one of those programs that remains 'meh', hence the 5/10 rating. An 'alrighter'. An 'it's decent, yeah' one. The acting is what you'd expect from a bunch of comedians: they behave as they usually do, being humorous over deep. Sometimes there are moments of character building, but the amount of care put into them is shallow. Alan Davies was surprising, as he managed to play quite a different character than his QI persona, and, out of all the team, I'd say he was the most interesting.
The saving grace of this one is the fact that Jo Brand has had experience with social work and the greatest pits of human suffering. When watching, you get the impression she may have pulled this from reality, which makes Damned more touching to watch. The scenes expressing mature or morbid lives in less fortunate households do work, and the viewer finds themselves rooting for the poorly funded, barely functioning team.
The plot, whilst working when it needs to, does often feel bare, with reality somewhat being prioritised over interest. There's a lot of filler, so to speak. It relies on the banter to keep it going, which is moderately humorous, but nothing above what you'd hear two strangers on a bus laughing about. I think for Damned to have been more successful, it should've really taken control over the resources it has, since the setting is that of room of sweating, miserable people. There was room for a darker sense of humour, true gallows, mischievous stuff. It might've retracted from the message, but that's precisely the problem.
Damned is a social commentary, and that's respectable, but it's not educative ENOUGH for it to work, and nor is it risky enough to be truly comical. It's in a grey area, and it had to push one way or the other to be anything above 'decent'.