If your hope in British comedy has dwindled in the past few years, with the last episode of The Office having aired ten years ago this December, there are still a few comedies out there acting as beacons of hope. A man whose name can be found next to many of today’s most popular and successful comedies is Robert Popper. Working as a producer on Peep Show and script editor on The Inbetweeners, The IT Crowd and Him & Her, Popper has won many awards for his contributions. Furthermore he is the author of the highly popular ‘Timewaster Letters’ under the pseudonym Robin Cooper. But perhaps what he is best known for is as the creator and writer of the channel for sitcom Friday Night Dinner.
It presents the Goodman’s, a Jewish family coming together every Friday night for, (you’ve guessed it) dinner. The show rarely leaves the family home, but the relationships between all the main characters is so real and engaging that it never gets boring and you’ll be wondering where the last half an hour has gone. The family of four is made up of mother and father, Jackie and Martin, (Tamsin Greig and Paul Ritter) and two sons, Adam and Jonny (Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal). Obviously all established and accomplished actors except perhaps Tom Rosenthal who fits in with the brilliantly high standard effortlessly.
There is an unspoken understanding between the characters that acts as a bond between them all aiding them in combating the outside world when it manages to infiltrate their family. Whether it be the never ending practical jokes between the two brothers, or the unfounded nicknames they all share for external characters, such as “Bitch Face”, “Crazy Tits” and “Horrible Grandma”. Similarly the guaranteed consistency of the characters and each of their idiosyncrasies makes returning to the house every episode very comforting and inviting. Such as Martins inability to retain his shirt on account of being “boiling”, the main course being referred to as “a lovely bit of squirrel” and the arrival of the dessert of “crimble crumble”. Furthermore the weekly appearance of Mark Heap’s neighbour character Jim, offers a limitless amount of possible comedic outcomes and perhaps this ingenious comic creation offers enough incentive to return to the show every week alone.
The performance from all the stars are seamless allowing all of the quirky characteristics and unusual circumstances they all find themselves in perfectly believable and relatable. Whether that is to our own families or of others we may know. And it’s this ability to be able to see aspects of your own life in a sitcom, or similar characteristics in a character to someone you know that makes it comical and in turn successful, seen brilliantly in The Inbetweeners.
With two series, a Christmas special and a third series expected in early 2014 I would highly recommend you get up to date with this particular sitcom. As after watching one episode you’ll be left wishing you could spend just one Friday night at the Goodman’s for dinner.
Have you watched Friday Night Dinner? Let us know what you think in the comments section.