Last night, BBC Three launched Way To Go. a sitcom in which Blake Harrison (Neil from The Inbetweeners) launches an illegal euthanasia-enabling business.
That looks like the start of an OTT Guardian satire piece, doesn't it? The next line would be "... and then Will Mellor stars in a gritty drama about cannibal hairdressers". But no, it really happened. Banter about Nando's, jokes about dogshit and putting terminally ill people out of their misery with poison. Was this strange cocktail any good? I'm not going to drop many spoilers, but check it out on iPlayer first if you want to remain pure.
Inbetween Life And DeathHonestly, the BBC are just trying to piss off the Daily Mail now, aren't they? Killing for comedy? WITH LICENCE PAYERS' MONEY?????
Well. I can get behind pissing those people off, to be honest. But apart from righteous controversy, is Way To Go actually good? It's not bad. Blake Harrison is playing against his own Inbetweeners-type here - he's the sensible and sensitive one, while his two sidekicks are coarse and/or stupid. In fact, he's basically playing the Simon Bird/Will role, if you want to push this comparison. But it turns out he's good at that too - he's still got that lovable, hopeful look, making him hard to dislike even as he does quite grisly things.
And although the subject matter is quite dark, it's treated with enough respect to work, for me at least. The comedy is all drawn from the three main characters, their assisted suicide "client" is more or less treated seriously. They might start slipping a few more jokes into those sequences later, but to ease us into the dark topic, this is probably the way to go. (Ba-dum.)
Way To Go Dark, GuysLike a lot of funny shows nowadays, this often resembles a drama with jokes, rather than a comedy. With the hanging threat of death and the risk of being caught, there's definitely stakes. It's going to be tricky to thread the line between these two for a whole series, but this is a good start. The ending is a bit odd - I was expecting a huge play for poignancy, but there was only a little one. Still, plenty of time for that.
So, an interesting start. This comes across as a BBC stab at one of these quirky US comdies like Weeds, in which a well-known actor indulges in a dark subject and threads the comedy/drama needle. This could end up being one to watch, and I'll certainly be back next week. Way to go, Way To Go.
Way To Go is on BBC Three, Thursdays at 10PM. See the Official BBC Way To Go site, see the first episode on iPlayer, see the world on a budget.