It isn’t often that the British Comedy Central channel actually bothers to produce some of its own TV shows, and often seems more satisfied with showing Two and a Half Men fifteen times a day. However they have decided to break the mould and make a show that is (I imagine) highly relevant to their viewing base.
A show about a guy who went to university got a degree and then realised that there are no relevant jobs and it was all a waste of time and money. Now, in Britain today this is an all too relevant story and one that I know far too well…. You almost couldn’t have hand picked a better channel for this show to appear on than Comedy Central, it has the exact viewers that will be able to relate to the main character Ben and his layabout friends. The concept of Big Bad World is excellent, and is very recognisable and relatable to people who are in their late teens and early to mid-twenties.
The cast in Big Bad World is excellent, and is led by Blake Harrison (of Inbetweeners fame) who shows that not all of the Inbetweeners do the same act every single time (I’m looking at you Simon Bird and Joe Thomas). His character Ben is a classic example of someone who has come out of university and thinks that they are a hot product and will easily walk into a job, only to discover that apparently not everyone thinks you’re as good as you do (wish someone had told me that). The show is set in the seaside town of Great Yarmouth (which like all seaside towns, looks a bit shit) and Ben has that air of superiority that only someone who has lived in the big city and has moved back to a small town can have (trying to bring culture and the like back with him).
Along with Ben we have his group of small town friends of David Flynn (who I liked in Pete vs. Life) as Oakley the friend who seems to have went into some sort of trade out of school, Seann Walsh as Eggman the friend who is just a layabout and doesn’t seem to do anything at all and Rebecca Humphries as Beth who similarly to Ben is struggling to get a real job so does charity begging. You also have Scarlett Alice Johnson as the girl that Ben fancies but is clearly a bitch (who also can’t get a real job). Add on to that Ben’s parents Caroline Quentin and James Fleet who have moved on thinking their son would never come back but are super excited because he has, and you have a really good cast. Big Bad World has hit with the characters, being able to convey many different areas of the post university lifestyle and that sadness you feel when you realised your life isn’t quite going as you had expected. The actors also put in good performances and play their parts well, which isn’t a shock when you have a good cast.
So where’s the issue with the show I hear you scream (I have good hearing), well it’s just that the show should and could have been funnier. The writing is pretty basic, with the boy chasing a girl but he’s actually chasing the wrong girl formula, only to find out in the big finale. Meanwhile the other characters don’t really do anything and are just there as characters for the main character to bounce off of. It isn’t really the basic storyline that was the problem, but rather that it wasn’t that funny. They have the talent there, but it is as if the writers are scared to pull out the big guns. All the characters are either a bit crazy or in an odd circumstance, and it should in theory bring out the laughs but it never goes beyond the level of being a nice show. The funniest character is probably Dean (the cook) who is very much a minimal role, but his interactions with Ben are very strong (the being mature guy against the total fanny guy). The thing is Eggman should have created these feelings as well, but never took it past the looking sleepy look.
Sometimes when you watch a show you want to like it but you just feel that something is missing, and that is Big Bad World. It could be an excellent show and it has all the pieces in place, but it manages to somehow come up with the wrong picture. It won’t take much for Big Bad World to be considered a hidden gem, and it is definitely deserving of a second series to see if it is able to mature into the comedy that it could potentially be. Hopefully they will get that chance and give all the university dole queuers (apparently not a real word and Quavers was suggested as a replacement….there you go) hope that maybe one day they will become a successful…..anything really.
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