DVDs in Review #86: Two Pints of Lager & A Packet of Crisps: Series 1 & 2

Category: , , , , By Rev/Views

Boasting to contain "The Beers and Tears of Twenty-Something Life" Two Pints of Lager & A Packet of Crisps has been running for so long that I can barely recall a time without it on the screen. In actual fact it's only been around since 2001, but this particular Brit-com can be considered to be an institution of the BBC - it's due two specials this year and a ninth series in 2010. (Wow, doesn't 2010 sound incredibly futuristic? Where's our flying cars?) But by reaching all the way back to 2001 we can find the first two series - which remain as entertaining and funny as when they were first released.

Two Pints is a fairly low brow comedy which derives a lot of it's humour from the low social state of it's characters, stereotypical reactions (especially the male ones) and their tendency to drink for recreation. It's part of the slight minority in British comedy due to it's working class feel, many other British sitcoms like , My Family, , and so forth tend to feel more middle class (even when they're actually about working class people - Only Fools and Horses is a great example of this). I don't know exactly what it is which causes this, perhaps in Britain the vast majority of writers have parents who are Teachers, Doctors or Bureaucrats.

Whatever it is which does cause this distinctive feel to the comedy it's something which makes Two Pints an endearing and exceptionally British show; it's as British as the pub, chip shops and headbutts. And exceptionally funny to boot.

The first two series hold together as one story set over twelve episodes; I always appreciate sitcoms which have a sense of on going events and the passage of time. It's one of the reasons I love so much, and it's something I do like about Two Pints. The following episode will normally build on or continue the storyline from the preceding one, which makes things feel more seamless and also causes 'just one more' syndrome when watching on DVD - it's an exceptionally hard show to put aside.

Over the twelve episodes which make up the first and second series we're introduced to Jonny (Ralf Little), his girlfriend Janet (Sheridan Smith), his best mate Gaz (Will Mellor), Janet's best mate Donna (Natalie Casey) and the resident oddball Louise (Kathryn Drysdale) who embodies all things detestable about students, especially middle class female ones. The episodes themselves deal with a wide range of subjects, from strained bollocks and pregnancy through dogs and marriage all the way to infidelity and S&M with plenty of references to farting and drink along the way. Sophisticated Frasier type humour this is not, but it's still dead funny.

Performances across the board are fantastic; Ralph Little is superb as Jonny effortlessly playing a slightly bewildered man-child who barely manages to handle life at times. Will's performance as Gaz is so good I've almost forgiven him for appearing in not just Casualty but also Hollyoaks, and I've completely forgiven Natalie Casey for her stint in Hollyoaks as she's so lovely in this. Kathryn is wonderfully annoying as Louise - but I still can't forget the fact that she appeared in Love & Monsters (the worst Doctor Who Episode of all time). Finally there's Sheridan Smith, who's just so amazingly fantastic as Janet - she clicks perfectly together with Ralph Little, but that's not surprising as they played boyfriend and girlfriend on The Royale Family as well (A comedy show I've never gotten along with).

If I had one criticism it would be that both Ralph and Gaz are a lot less rounded than Donna and Janet (Louise is essentially a walking single punch-line), they often react in very stereotypical ways, especially from the point of view of a woman. But this series is written by Susan Nickson, so the slightly shallower moments can be forgiven - the fact that they're often funny as well helps.

Still, Two Pints is a show which remains laugh out loud funny even though these two series airred at the start of the decade, perhaps things haven't changed enough in our society as the vast majority of the jokes remain relevant and fresh even to this day. I do know it's one of the few shows I can watch alone and still laugh at, which makes it unusual because I normally only laugh when watching something with company. And that's a ringing endorsment for a great show.


4 comments so far.

  1. Dan 31 August 2009 at 10:56
    *checks calendar* No, it's not April Fool's Day. I have just found the first positive review of Two Pints, ever. :) I find this show tragically bad, although I'm willing to assume the very early series were at least watchable. But these days it's one of the BBC's biggest embarassments, if you ask me.
  2. Aaron 31 August 2009 at 11:49
    The fact that this show is constantly renewed is proof that there is no God.
  3. Rev/Views 31 August 2009 at 13:02
    LOL. :)

    I think the fact that my father loves this show certainly influences my opinion of it as I watched a lot of it when younger,

    I don't know about the later series - but I certainly enjoyed the first two.
  4. Dan 31 August 2009 at 17:52
    Also one of the few shows where the bloopers are funnier than anything that happens in the script, and appear to last several hours.

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