What I loved.
- It won’t happen very often, but is a clear sign where this is going.
What I liked.
- Barry Humphries.
- I’m not quite sure why Barry Humphries thought it would be a good idea to appear in this, but he was a rare bright spark in a show that well was shit. He played the head teacher of the school and actually did his best with what was a very weak script.
- However he only appeared in two episodes (with very little screen time), not ideal for someone who was the best character in the show by a country mile.
- Very odd to see him not in a dress.
What I disliked.
- Everything that annoyed me really annoyed me…..it’s pretty clear where this is going.
What I hated.
- Pretty much everything.
- I will expand, but you get where this is going.
- Awful character that is meant to carry the show as the main character of the group of three yet is so unlikeable that it just isn’t happening. One of the major problems with him is that he hasn’t joined the forces because he has flat feet….ok….is he not posh? So you would think he would have had private education, and if you know anything about the British military, you know they love nothing more than to put posh boys in high positions. Now the point I am making is that regardless of whether or not he has flat feet, the army/navy would still have taken him in and used him for administration purposes. It is actually more likely that they wouldn’t have let him in because he is a total prick, and I couldn’t blame them for that.
- Bert/Jonny Sweet.
- This character could have been excellent, yet a combination of poor execution and writing meant that instead of coming across as a lovable numpty, he came across as a total prick. His whole act of not knowing the war was on is so stupid it is untrue, and to do the joke once is meh, it isn’t then helped when they did it another (what felt like at least) 8 times.
- The funny thing is that Jonny Sweet talks exactly like the character Bert, so really he wasn’t acting too much, just doing a poor impersonation of what he would have been like in 1914.
- Simon Bird.
- I have watched four Simon Bird shows, and in each of those shows he has done the EXACT same thing each and every time. He is good in the Inbetweeners (the worst of the four main guys though), but then again the Inbetweeners is an excellently written show. Chickens however is a very poorly written show, and it shows his inability to actually act. It then doesn’t help that you get the feeling that in a Hugh Grant sort of fashion he isn’t actually pretending to be a character, but rather just being himself when he gets acting jobs. Which then leads me to think that Simon Bird must be an absolute twat in real life, because all his characters in TV are twats as well. You really have to wonder how much longer Simon Bird will be able to ride on the coattails of the Inbetweeners, because he isn’t going to get anywhere on his acting talent. The sooner he stops getting acting (term used loosely with him) work the better.
- What makes it worse is that you would have thought with writing it he would have made himself a character that isn’t exactly the same to everything else that he has done……but he didn’t.
- Blatant historical inaccuracies.
- People in 1914 didn’t refer to the First World War as the First World War; they wouldn’t have even referred to it as the Great War yet.
- Monopoly wouldn’t have been available in the UK in 1914.
- People wouldn’t have used the term shitting as a substitute for kidding.
- It is highly unlikely that people would use the word bullshit to describe someone who is lying.
- Conscription didn’t come into force in the UK until 1916, so although people wouldn’t maybe be happy about them going, they wouldn’t be ostracised.
- You would not need to be a conscientious objector in 1914 because there was no conscription yet.
- Why would an entire village have only four men left in it? Where are all the old men that are too old to go to war?
- The men from an entire village wouldn’t get leave at the same time.
- People who joined up in 1914 wouldn’t have seen action as early as 1914.
- It is highly unlikely that three men would live on their own as in a modern sense, it is more likely that they would still live with their mothers.
- It is highly unlikely that a posh boy would have been thrown out of his house by his parents regardless of whether it was embarrassing or not.
- It is incredibly unlikely that the gentry would fraternise with the plebs.
- This could go on forever and if I had written down everything that I had seen that was factually incorrect it could have went on for another 2 pages. Essentially (if you haven’t got this already) it was an incredibly poorly written historical piece, and if you are going to write a period piece you have to be accurate about these things otherwise you lose credibility.
- Incorrect dialogue.
- I’ve referred to a couple of times already above (shitting, bullshit), but the general show was written as if it was set today but they just happened to dress up like people during WW1.
- One of the best examples of this was when Cecil gets a girlfriend and she talks like a spoilt brat would today, something that you wouldn’t have even gotten in the 1970’s never mind 1914.
- One of the major issues that Chickens had from the outset is that the concept just isn’t good at all. They’ve tried to do something different by setting it during World War One, yet have decided to make it about the unsympathetic people who decided they didn’t want to go. From the outset they call their three main characters chickens, you’re meant to sympathise with your main characters because of the situation they are put in, but they aren’t in a position of sympathy. It’s why the show before it even aired was always going to struggle, combine that with everything else and you have a disaster.
- Above all else, writing is the most important part of any TV show. It doesn’t matter how good the acting or concept is if the writing just isn’t very good. The simple fact is that the writing on Chickens was atrocious. They got everything wrong; the dialogue, the historical inaccuracies and worst of all the funniness. The three main characters wrote the show, and you have to wonder why they thought this was a good idea or even more so why the show was even made.
To put it in the simplest form, Chickens is a laugh track away from being easily the worst comedy of the year (a crown held by the awful Badults). Everything about this show stunk, absolutely everything. I am sure that most people tuned in because they saw it was the two guys from the Inbetweeners and thought that it might be worth a look. The first episode however was atrocious (the low of the series), and they got the tone of the show much worse than the future episodes (which also got it wrong but not quite to the same extent).
What confuses me is why Sky thought it was a good idea to make Chickens at all. What did they see in the pilot that Channel 4 made before correctly deciding that this was not a good idea and that the writers and actors involved weren’t talented enough to pull it off, that made them think that it was a good idea to give them a full series? I have no idea, and can only assume (and I am pretty sure this is what it is) that they wanted to get involved on that sweet Inbetweeners love that is still flying around.
You have to wonder why Simon Bird keeps being given TV shows to showcase his incredibly limited talent, and highly unlikableness. He is one of the worst actors currently bouncing about British comedy, and has little to no acting ability. Joe Thomas basically does the same act every time, yet comes across as less of a dick so it isn’t as recognisable. The Jonny Sweet guy is hopefully one and done as far as TV goes, because he isn’t what is needed on the British comedy scene, we need talented individuals. It is funny to think that apparently they have had quite a successful comedy duo (Sweet & Thomas) which shows that an apparently good stage show doesn’t transfer to TV very often, that or people that go to comedy shows are drunk.
There are five areas that a comedy TV show must hit to be considered a good show; they are concept, writing, acting, characters and funniness. Chickens managed to miss on all four, which is quite an achievement in itself.
If Sky renews Chickens for a second series, then they seriously need to have their heads checked. It really is one of the worst and most inaccurately written comedies I have ever seen. Quite simply it was a pathetic attempt at writing a period piece comedy, and one can only hope to god that this is the last we see of a truly dreadful show.
British comedy does seem to be in a rut currently, with very few quality shows being made at all. It doesn’t seem that long ago that British comedy was hitting the heights with the Office, the Inbetweeners or Peep Show (when it was good), and now it is struggling along with very poor attempts at forcing the new young Ox-Bridge talent. All three of the guys from Chickens went to Ox-Bridge (no surprises there), and you have to question why in British comedy it is so hard for non-Ox-Bridge comedians and writers to break through into the mainstream? It really is concerning because the talent isn’t coming from Ox-Bridge like it once was, and you can’t honestly tell me that the funniest people in the UK all went to two universities, because we all know that isn’t true, but rather they are given opportunities that people less privileged than themselves will ever receive.
So what did you think of Chickens? Did you think it was the abomination to comedy as I did? Or did you think it was just pretty bad? Either way leave a comment and let’s hope we never have to see another episode of one of the worst comedies of the year again.