You know the deal, each Thursday Shefali and Rebecca pick a piece of media that reminds them of the monthly theme-- in today's case it's TV for "Exposed."
Probably an obvious choice, but what could be more exposed than a show that’s partly narrated by the two main characters’ inner thoughts? That’s the gimmick behind Peep Show, a British comedy shot from the point of view of Mark and Jez as they navigate life as old pals, roommates, and generally bad people played by the iconic comedy duo David Mitchell and Robert Webb.
Peep Show is cringey af. I like to watch it when I feel like my life is going off the rails because it makes me think hey at least that's not me, and yet Mark and Jez remain depressingly relatable. Despite the characters making bad, selfish decisions all the time which spectacularly blow up in their faces, and despite Mark and Jez being people I wouldn’t want to spend time with in real life, their inner monologues are not too far from my own. I'm guessing that's true for most people, which is why we're taught to think before we speak.
A current of harsh reality underlies all of Peep Show, revealing the drudgery that comes with living an average, unglamorous life. For me, it’s an antidote to the influx of comedies that are loosely based on the real lives of already successful comedians, and the buffed and polished archetypes that presumably inhabit the world of Young Sheldon and beyond. Peep Show's characters are immensely flawed, they’re not living their dreams, but they also don't show signs of changing, revealing the state of arrested development adult men often get away with along the way. It’s not pretty, they’re not pretty, and it reminds us we’re all kind of bad people, so of course it’s hilarious. Obviously I'm itching for the show to be rebooted with two femme leads. (Sidebar: Shefali talks about two Brit-coms that basically achieve this in the best way, and I highly recommend them too).
HELLO flawed female leads. I live in a post-Broad City world and most shows pale in comparison. If I'm given the option between Snarky-white-straight-male-nerd-man-babies versus badass femmes, Asian American foodies, and animated horses--I pick the latter. These two shows are about ladies who lay it all on the line and truly ~expose~ their innermost thoughts and desires no matter how undesirable it makes them seem.
I like to think of these two shows as the House of Cards of British comedy--despite both having nothing to do with political intrigue and possibly solely to do with the fact that titular characters “Fleabag” played by writer/creator of Fleabag Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and “Tracey” played by writer/creator of Chewing Gum Michaela Coel, break the fourth wall constantly. Oh yea, did I mention both shows started out as plays written by the starring ladies themselves that were then developed into shows so HI hello I am now writing a play please everyone come star in it. They are also both very British which just goes to show how much I still wish I grew up wit’ an’ accent mate! Sorry I’ll see myself out. Anyways--
It’s so incredible how horrible she can be on this show and I still root for her. I guess cause it's all so god damn relatable? Her relationship with her sister, her comments on the trash men that waltz into her life. The best part is that she is so unapologetically herself. It’s probably the closest I’ll feel to how white men I know “relate” to Leo in Wolf of Wall Street or think they’re as bad, but also redeemable as Bojack Horseman. Like I love both Wolf of Wall Street and Bojack Horseman--but getting to see the female lead be a total tyrant W O W. It’s similar to how I felt seeing Wonder Woman after years of seeing Marvel Super Heroes and finally realizing--oh this is why men feel so attached to superhero movies like I feel so powerful--I GET IT.
But seriously Fleabag is an incredible show I can not recommend it enough the writing is genuine, funny, and sometimes downright heartbreaking. Dark comedies are my kryptonite.
Another lady telling it how it is. This show is about a girl in her 20s trying to navigate dating, losing her virginity, maintaining friendships, dealing with her crazy religious mother. It’s crazy how both of these shows are so realistic while at the same time SO ridiculous. I guess that’s just what makes good comedy. Michaela Coel is also so incredibly funny and unafraid to be weird.
Frick. Talking about these two shows just reminded me that I also wish I had talked about Mindy Project, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Wonder Woman, and Jane the Virgin. I could write a N O V E L. We really are in the Golden Age of TV despite how much society hates women. So I have to thank the gods (sorry goddesses) for at least some good in the world.