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19th October 2011 09:00:00
Posted by Nick Bryan

Fresh Meat: Series 1 - Midway Review

As the Channel 4 comedy-drama Fresh Meat gets halfway through term, it seems a good time to give it an exam and assess its progress. Although if the content of the show is anything to go by, it'll probably try and sleep with the examiner, and I’m not sure how that will work, metaphorically speaking.

Conceptual intercourse aside, I wrote a very upbeat review of the first episode, so I was excited to see where they would take this. And, four weeks in, a lot like the university experience itself, at first it seems awesome, and then, once properly underway, leaves you thinking: “Was this it? Is that all there is?”

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That sounds horribly negative, and I apologise. Fresh Meat is not a bad television programme, and if you don’t believe me, go and watch ITV2. But I hoped this was the next great Channel 4 show, following in the footsteps of Black Books and Green Wing, and it isn’t quite there yet. There’s still time, of course, and I’m definitely going to keep watching it.

The strange part is the “comedy-drama” remit. Half the characters (Kingsley, Josie and Oregon, to be precise) are happily starring in a mildly amusing flatshare drama, whilst the other lot (JP, Howard and Vod) are fairly sure they’re in the student version of Peep Show. Green Wing did something similar, but interlaced the two genres much more successfully.

Personally, I’d rather they up the silliness, as the comic characters are very funny and deserve more ambitious farces. Jack Whitehall’s JP, in particular, is a great sitcom monstrosity and considering how many people on Twitter ranted about not watching Fresh Meat due to Whitehall’s presence, it amuses me that he’s turned to be the best bit.

So there are flaws, but I’m determined to end this on a positive note, because every episode of Fresh Meat has a few laugh-out-loud scenes, it’s an interesting endeavour with a huge amount of potential, and if they get a chance to ride out the adjustment period, it could be a really good show. Check it out if you haven’t.