The Thick of It: you need to watch it

I looked for a thread on this, but there was none to be found.

This is the greatest political comedy since Yes, Minister, and you need to see it.

Here are the first ten minutes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIzx_Z-TGe4&NR=1

It reminds me of that mockumentary about the Sydney Olympics “The Games”.

I haven’t seen that, but I will check it out.

Excellent suggestion, daedalus! I loved every one of the main season’s episodes (my favorite probably being episode 4, with the visit to the factory). It’s worth noting that these are the creation of Armando Iannucci, who co-wrote the Alan Partridge series with Steve Coogan. The similarities are apparent, with the show’s delight in uncomfortable situations and spot-on comic timing. The Office style camera work is a welcome addition and it fits the subject matter wonderfully.

It’s also worth noting that Chris Langham as Hugh Abbot is absolutely aces, anchoring the ensemble cast much as Coogan did with Alan Partridge. His avuncular incompetence is utterly endearing. The two hour-long follow-up shows don’t hold up very well without Langham.

However, Peter Capaldi’s performance as Malcolm Tucker is pretty damn unforgettable. That guy has sheer ruthlessness bubbling out of the lines in his face. I loved the scenes in the Number 10 Downing Street office, portrayed as a den of Scottish wolves!

 -Tom

Not that it directly impacts the work of fiction on screen, but apparently Chris Langham has a child porn problem.

On a completely different note, I discovered something that amused me. Terri Coverley reminded me hugely of Alex Borstein in the first scene I saw her.

I just now read that the guys behind Arrested Development did a pilot for an American version of the series, and the equivalent American character was played by…Alex Borstein.

I tried to watch this a while back, just couldn’t get into it. Also the fact that the main actor is a convicted pedophile put me off a bit.

Holy crap, I hope someone picks it up. Christopher Guest directed the pilot. It’s got a great pedigree, and if it’s done in that Office/Waiting for Guffman mockumentary style…

Of course, if it DOES get picked up, it’ll be on a premium channel I don’t get, which will relegate me to torrents and/or DVDs.

Gary, that’s not quite accurate. FWIW, Chris Langham is a registered sex offender, but he’s not a convicted pedophile. He was arrested and charged with downloading kiddie porn. Later, sexual assault charges were filed by someone under 16-years-old, but he was acquitted. He only served time on the kiddie porn charges.

I didn’t find out until after I’d see Thick Of It. It explains why he’s not in either of the hour-long follow-up episodes. I still think he’s brilliant in the show, but I can’t certainly understand how it would color the experience.

-Tom

I’m glad you enjoyed it so much. The series has a very specific satirical locus (New Labour under Blair, Malcolm is very transparently based on Alastair Campbell etc), but the writing is so fucking brilliant that I think it manages to be relevant even if you’re not intimately familiar with contemporary British politics. Capaldi’s performance is unbelievable, but I agree that the ensemble is definitely weaker without Langham.

The Langham child porn stuff is really regrettable, but I can’t say it affected my enjoyment of the series really. I mean, T S Eliot was probably an anti-semite, but that doesn’t really detract from the fact that he wrote some of the most fantastic poems of the twentieth century. I’m mainly angry because we’d almost certainly have a second season of the show by now, if it wasn’t for his conviction.

Yeah, Mitch Hurwitz did a pilot, but I am pretty sure it wasn’t picked up. This kills me, because that combination is essentially my ideal Fantasy TV Show.

Exactly. Much of the time, I had no idea what the heck was going on. But it was easy to just go with the flow even if the incidentals were lost on you, or the occasional accent was impenetrable. It was a bit like watching one of Shakespeare’s history plays!

I still have no idea what all the hullabaloo was about with the PM resigning, or what all that business was about “standing”. It just goes to show that with a good enough cast and writers, the subject matter is almost irrelevant.

I can’t help but wonder how Hurwitz Americanized it. Was it a White House story? A Congressman? Local politics? And while I love Oliver Platt, I can’t see him channeling Malcolm Tucker’s raw fury.

-Tom

A low level congressman, according to Wikipedia.

Weird. So they made Ollie a chick, Malcolm is another Congressman, and John Michael Higgins, who normally plays it starched-shirt straight, is the lead as a newly elected Congressman rather than a weary career politician? Hmm.

-Tom

I can see Oliver Platt working quite well in that role. He’s got that ability to say/do absolutely horrific things while remaining utterly charming. Still though, I think the character would have a hard time translating completely. Brits just do vitriol better than Americans.

And I think a Cabinet secretary, like in the original, would actually work better than a Congressman.

I watched three episodes on Youtube, and even if you have no understanding of British politics, some things cross over the pond just fine, like making policy on the fly not because it’s good policy or necessary but because you have to tell the press something.

I loved that bit. Struck me as a thousand times more plausible than the passionate, high minded discussions you always see them having on The West Wing.

Outside of his role as Mentok the Mindtaker, I can’t stand this guy, even when he was on Arrested Development.

The two follow-on specials showed very well that they could continue this show without Langham very well. I think Malcolm Tucker was the star of the show anyway. Although, a lot of the specials did turn into Scot-vs-Scot one upsmanship in how [wide/disgusting/deadly] a[n] [foot/ipod/iphone/other object] would be forcible inserted [in/up/down/through] the [arse/eyes/throat] of someone - but I still enjoyed it.

Argh. Thanks to the OP, I got sorta hooked on this show, but I’m tired of watching it on Youtube and the only available DVDs are PAL format. I know a region-free DVD player will defeat region encoding, but PAL v. NTSC is something else entirely, right?

Grr. Blockbuster Online doesn’t carry it for rental either.

Courtesy of Armando’s Twitter feed, as of yesterday.

Awesome. Also, I’d recommend people pick up The Armando Iannucci Show, if they can. It’s a sketch show, but it’s very twisted.

Wow that last episode was amazing -

“The one about the fucking hairdresser, the space hairdresser, and the cowboy. The guy, he’s got a tin-foil pal in a pedal bin. His father’s a robot and he’s fucking fucked his sister. Lego. They’re all made of fucking Lego.”

“Star Wars?”

“That’s the one!”