Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Ministry Of Cringe

So there have been at least a couple of occasions that I've been watching BBC America, and one or another member of my family has wandered by and asked, "Which one is Michael?"

Only I wasn't watching "The Office."

I was watching what is probably my new favorite show, "The Thick Of It."

British comedies -- not that I know that many -- seem to fall into two categories, acerbic or adolescent. Part of what made Monty Python so great was its ability to straddle and merge the two.

"The Thick Of It" is absolutely the most acerbic television show I've ever seen. It is the story of Hugh Abbott, the new Minister of Social Affairs (Social Affairs?), and his staff. The show revolves around their daily efforts to stay out of the papers, off the telly and especially out of the line of fire of Malcolm, the PM's chief politico and head torturer.

Now I'll admit that I've often had to watch episodes twice just to figure out what the hell is going on. As with any good Brit comedy, half the fun is figuring out what the hell they're talking about -- if you can understand the words themselves, that is. Malcolm is front and center w/r/t this. As part of the PM's "Scots Mafia" his specialty is the burr-inflected, profanity-laced tirade against whatever comes into his field of vision.

When the hurricane hits it is positively terrifying.

And hilarious.


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