2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, TV

Toast of London (2012)

This is a very, very stupid show about an arrogant and not very good actor and his foibles trying to stay employed in London. But it knows it’s really dumb, and it leans into it fully; it can be very, very funny.

This is one of those shows that milks so much out of so little – the premise is pretty thin but they turn so much of it into effective comedy, whether it’s the voice innumerable and interminable recording sessions or his rivalry with Purchase. I’m not always a fan of catchphrases but this one has some really great ones, none better than “Yes I can hear you Clem Fandango!!!”, which I kind of want on a t-shirt.

Also, they make pretty good use of their cameos and guest stars. I think the Jon Hamm episode of these but I generally liked that aspect of the show.

One thing that doesn’t work is the musical numbers. The show writers just don’t have a knack for writing songs, though that could just be because I’ve watched too many episodes of Bob’s Burgers and maybe my standards are too high. Though the songs are too brief to really catch on, they also don’t seem to serve much of a purpose. More than in other comedies with musical numbers, they just feel completely arbitrary and superfluous.

And there are definitely episodes which work less well than others, where the shtick feels tired or the story doesn’t feel strong enough to hand the dumb humour on. It’s probably a good thing there are only 18 episodes because it’s hard to imagine them wringing much more out of this.

But, on the whole, I laughed out loud a lot, and I definitely enjoyed the rhythms of the show and its ridiculous characters, even when I wasn’t laughing as much in some episodes as others.


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