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DVD Review: Reggie Perrin Set 1

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Reggie Perrin is going through a mid-life crisis. He hates his job. He and his wife Nicola (Fay Ripley) love each other, but never seem to be able to find time to spend together. To complicate things, or maybe because he can’t get any quality time with his wife, he has developed a crush on a new young woman at work, Jasmine (Lucy Liemann). Reggie’s life is at a crossroads — should he just suck it up and make peace with his corporate job, or should he chuck it all and run away?


Reggie, Facing another boring commute

Reggie: That’s the trouble with living for the moment. Buggers up the next moment.

Martin Clunes is very funny as the very dry Reggie, whose frequent fantasies of death and destruction aimed at his annoying colleagues or relatives add black humor and a surreal quality to the show and character. Reggie Perrin is an update of a comedy series from the ’70s, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, which starred Leonard Rossiter. The new series, which debuted in 2009, was written by Simon Nye and David Nobbs, who authored novels featuring the Reginald Perrin character and also wrote the original series. The DVD of Set 1 includes the complete series 1 and 2, featuring 12 episodes on two disks, with subtitles available. Disc 1 of the DVD also includes some production stills from behind-the scenes.

The series starts off slowly, but Clunes’s slow burn and rising mania make for a twisted, yet fun and engaging character. We sympathize as he contends with his always “27 minutes late” commute to work as well as his never-ending irritation at his dim but hyper-aggressive boss, Chris (Neil Stuke). Also funny are his goofy office coworkers — his secretary Vicki (Kerry Howard), “Wellness Person” Sue (Susan Earl), who is fond of giving out leaflets and likes telling Reggie he’s “a sad sausage,” and the dream team of Anthony (Jim Howick) and Steve (Nick Mohammed) who are Reggie’s “idea men” but clearly don’t have even half of an idea (or possibly brain) between them. On the home front, his tough-as-nails mother (Wendy Craig) and Nicola’s scrounging father (Geoffrey Whitehead) find love with each other, much to Reggie’s discomfort.


Sue tries to help others, but can’t even help herself

The episodes include:

Season 1:

Episode 1 – Reggie is Head of Disposable Razors at Groomtech and he hates everything about his job — or does until he meets his new coworker, Jasmine.
Episode 2 – Reggie and Nicola try to find some private time together, but their parents always seem to pop by at the wrong time.
Episode 3 – Reggie volunteers to do a career day at Nicola’s school and even invites her class to visit Groomtech for an on-the-job experience.
Episode 4 – Reggie suggests that he and Jasmine take a business trip to Finland, to help Groomtech “go global.”
Episode 5 – Chris has been tasked to develop a new product and Reggie is just the man to come up with the ideas he can take the credit for.
Episode 6 – Reggie and Nicola attend the annual office party, but Reggie may have finally had it with his job and his life — but what’s next?

Season 2:

Episode 1 – Back at home, Reggie decides to “live off the land,” while his mother and Nicola’s father make some very different future plans. Nicola has some disturbing news of her own.
Episode 2 – Reggie dabbles in some different home ventures while Nicola and all his old coworkers try to convince to return to Groomtech.
Episode 3 – Reggie’s back at Groomtech, in a whole new capacity, while Nicola tries to cope with being at home on her own.
Episode 4 – Regge’s got a new product — Grot — and Nicola makes a new friend.
Episode 5 – Grot is a huge success, but what about the rest of Reggie’s life?
Episode 6 – Wedding bells, marriage woes, and Reggie finds himself once again at a career crossroads.

Reggie Perrin is comedy, served very dry, along the lines of other British shows like The Office and As Time Goes By. Martin Clunes captures a burnt-out executive to a tee, and the quirky supporting cast make for an enjoyable show. It may even make viewers want to seek out the original series, to see if workday angst has changed much in 40 years,

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