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TV Review: Gavin & Stacey

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The course of true love never did run smooth.  Such is certainly the case in the new ("new" in that it hasn't aired in this country yet) BBC America comedy Gavin & Stacey

Premiering on August 26, the series follows the relationship 20-somethings in the United Kingdom, one in Wales and one in England.  As the series opens, Stacey (Joanna Page), who resides in Wales, and Gavin (Mathew Horne), who lives in England, have been having a long distance relationship for several months without ever actually meeting one another.  However, that is all about to change as the couple (along with one friend each) have agreed to meet for a day in London. 

Gavin and Stacey's friends, Smithy (James Corden) and Nessa (Ruth Jones) respectively, think the couple is slightly odd, and are just as trepidacious as the couple about the meeting, but go along anyway.  As for the couples' families, they are, surprisingly, very supportive of the meeting.  Though it is somewhat obvious (the show is, after all, entitled Gavin & Stacey) things go well at that first meeting and the relationship continues. 

Though they play second fiddles in the show, it is actually Corden and Jones who are behind the entire endeavor.  They are the creators of the series and the writers of all 13 episodes.  That may explain why theirs are two of the funniest characters on the show.  They are, however, by no means the only funny ones.  Each character, even if they're not quite three dimensional gets their share of funny lines.  Most notably in the first two episodes, Bryn (Rob Brydon), who is Stacey's paternal uncle, proves truly hysterical. 

In one of the funniest moments in the first two episodes, Bryn patiently explains to Gavin how to use the internet to find directions from Stacey's house (where they currently are) back to Gavin's.  Bryn refuses to acknowledge the fact that Gavin has actually made the round-trip before and is well aware of the route.  Gavin, trying to not make waves with his girlfriend's family briefly suggests that not only does he not need the map because he knows the route, but that he has a rough idea of the internet and the ability to create maps as well, before settling in for Bryn's lecture.

There are other, more lewd and almost equally funny, moments in the show.  Some of them certainly may make it uncomfortable for teens to watch with their parents (or vice versa), but they are undeniably funny.

In fact, there is much in the first two episodes to find amusing, from Gavin and Stacey themselves, to their friends, family, and the situation they find themselves in.  Though they may just be "regular" people, everyone's actions in trying to help the relationship keep going are just over-the-top enough to be funny without ever losing plausibility (usually). 

As with so many comedies these days, Gavin & Stacey doesn't just attempt to be humorous, it has a serious core around which the comedy is built.  Forming long distance relationships over the internet or phone are relatively commonplace today, and to have a show explore the difficulties with such relationships certainly makes for a different sort of comedy. 

BBC America will be airing the two UK seasons of the show together as one single season of 13 episodes.  Gavin & Stacey begins Tuesday, August 26 at 8:40pm and is well worth a look.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.
  • Enjoy it while you can. NBC has picked up the rights and is about to ruin it with an American version.

    It’s hard to know what makes Gavin & Stacey so delightful. It’s not dark, it’s not gritty, it’s not edgy and it’s only ever so slightly smutty.

    I suppose it’s because it’s just realistic. Everyone who’s ever got married and brought two disparate sets of families and friends together will be able to identify with these characters, all of whom manage to be immensely likeable without being sappy or dysfunctional.

    The BBC has commissioned a third series, but the filming is up in the air at the moment due to the prior commitments of the writers and some of the principal cast members. Let’s hope it’s soon and meanwhile, let’s enjoy the remainder of what we already have!

  • Veronica from Philly

    I love, love, love this show. I laugh out loud through the whole episode and it has been added to my DVR for a series recording. I only hope that NBC does it justice when they showcase their version in the states. I wish there was a season 3, but the writers don’t have time to write it. And I hope BBC America will show the Christmas special that is planned.
    And I am in love with each and every cast member–they are just all so excellent.
    If you are not watching this show yet you best get on board!