DVDs in Review #45: Marion & Geoff: Series One & Two

Category: , , , , By Rev/Views

"I don't feel like I've lost a wife, I feel like I've gained a friend. I would never have met Geoff if Marion hadn't left me!"

Rob Brydon as Keith Barret

The Show:

Starring and co-written (with Hugo Blick) by the brilliant Welsh treasure Rob Brydon and shown between 2000 and 2003, Marion & Geoff is a bittersweet comedy about one man's life, as told by him. The show is an exercise in minimalistic programming and has a only single character physically present. Keith is a separated husband and father now working as a taxi driver. His life, his experiences and his thoughts are told to us via the medium of a single video camera sat on the passenger side dashboard.

The show really is storytelling stripped to it's minimum, Rob gives a wonderfully honest, open and human performance as the likable, every man Keith. Keith's experiences, both present and past are related to the viewer via his video monologues. He takes us through the end of his relationship, his current situation, his thoughts and emotions with nothing more than words. You could almost relate it to sitting down with a friend and listening while he tells you about how things have been for him.

The show is a wonderful example of how little it actually takes to make for a captivating experience. There's so little actually happening on screen, mostly just Keith's talking head and the scenery behind, but the dialog takes you away from it all and lets you experience Keith's life as he tells it. You'll learn all about Marion, Geoff, Keith's little smashers (his children) and as he tells his stories you'll also come to realise there's a lot more going on than Keith himself realises.

Keith is, to be honest a bit simple and almost unable to see the bad in people. And this is one of the most brilliant parts of the show, because while you're watching and listening to Keith tell his stories and experiences you'll be able to read between the lines and see the bigger picture, a picture that Keith himself is unable to see due to his kind nature. I do very much appreciate shows that realise the viewer doesn't need to have everything spoon fed to them slowly, I like a show which leaves you to join up the dots yourself and come to your own conclusions and Marion & Geoff is one of these shows.

Providing a mixture of both sad and funny moments in that quintessential manner which is a hallmark of so many British comedy shows Marion & Geoff will whisk you away to a fantastically ordinary world, a world told to you by a man who is so honest, so kind and so sympathetic that you won't be able to help but like him and hope to see him get the best he deserves.

The Other Stuff:

The Packaging:
There's nothing clever or flash about the packaging used for Marion & Geoff, both series come in standard DVD cases with stills from the show used on the front and back. Both sets use exactly the same layout and fonts so they look good when placed on the shelf together, this is always a big plus in my book as I dislike it when a set of DVDs switches up it's design between releases. The artwork on the DVDs does vary a lot in style, the first series goes for a simple lilac colour while the second series uses the same shot as the cover picture. But that's no big quibble.

The Start Up and Menus:

The DVDs themselves are a joy to boot up thanks to their simplicity in design. The start up process simply includes the BBC logo and then the menu. One thing to be aware of with regards to the menu is that rather than using music it plays short clips from the show, so if you haven't seen the show before I'd advise skipping past it quickly. The menus include episode selection and the almighty 'Play All' button.

The Extras:

Series 1:
Commentary from Rob Brydon and Hugo Blick
18 Minutes of Out-takes (with Commentary)
Comic Relief Special
Photo Gallery
Option to view all programs as originally transmitted

Series 2:
'A Small Summer Party' Directors Cut Version Of This Special 60 Minutes Films With Guest Appearance By Steve Coogan

The Details:
Language: English
Sound: Stereo
Regions: 2 + 4 PAL UK
Aspect Ration 4:3 (Series 1) 16:9 (Series 2)
Number of episodes: 16 plus a special
Runtime: 88 mins (Series 1) 168 mins (Series 2)
Rating: PG
Subtitles: English SDH

The Prices:
Series one and two can each be had for £4.99 from HMV. That's 5.7 and 3ppm respectively.

The Final Word:

There's several strong reasons why I feel Rob is one of the best actors to come out of Wales in recent times and Marion & Geoff is filled with them. This show is a a wonderful example of how much that can be done in televisual storytelling when you strip away all of the flash but keep the brilliance. It's a genuine feel good experience.

I really can't recommend it enough.


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