Catching the latest three episodes of the BBC 2 sitcom Grandma’s House made me sorry that I missed the first season.
Simon Amstell. an openly gay struggling actor from a Jewish family, plays the part of an openly gay struggling actor from a Jewish family. No prizes for guessing how he and co-writer Dan Swimer came up with the idea.
It’s got all the makings of a boring, safe comedy or a self indulgent mess but works because, like in Mike Leigh’s plays and films, you cringe in recognition of the characters .
Simon isn’t a great actor but manages to work this handicap into the part – “I’m stiff in real life”, he says at one point. He comes over as vulnerable and likeably dysfunctional.
Rebecca Front is particularly good in the role of his mom Tanya, defending him (“he’s rich in soul”) while wanting him to be more sorted out and assertive. There can’t be many moms who tell their sons they should masturbate rather than meditate.
It’s good to see the BBC take a chance on a comedy with bold themes where the expletives and sexual references acknowledge that we have entered the 21st century. Here’s a good clip about wooden acting:
- Simon Amstell: ‘Dysfunction is my career’ (guardian.co.uk)