Episodes is the new quirky comedy by
writers David Crane (Friends) and Jeffrey Klairik (Class)
for the BBC that propels two British writers into the world of bad US TV sitcoms.
The series begins when two British writers, Sean (Stephen Mangan) and
Beverly (Tamsin Greig) get poached by an obnoxious American TV sitcom
producer called Merc (John Pankow) who wants them to translate their
highly popular British comedy series to US TV. Their series is about a
40-something history teacher in an illustrious British private school who has
the hots for the unattainable lesbian library. That's the idea anyway...
Sean and Beverly are also happily married
and what turns out as the dream job for Sean, soon becomes a nightmare
that is on par with a Greek tragedy as even Beverly knows it's the wrong
move for them. Sean is a happy go lucky writer, however Beverly is quite
prim and proper and when the Americans begin to change their original
story, she finds it quite difficult to become involved in the process.
Beverly's life is soon about to be turned upside... literally. To
compound the situation, the star of the British series is to be replaced
by Matt LeBlanc who plays "himself" and unlike the UK series, his
character is a Hockey Coach as opposed to a History teacher. Matt
LeBlanc plays the a-hole perfectly! There's
even some great Joey Tribbiani (Friends) references thrown into the
series which is quite amusing. Of course seeing Matt LeBlanc take the piss out of
Matt LeBlanc is worth the entry alone, including skits about self-penis
blocking and Matt being hung like a horse.
However in order to Americanise the series, the
female librarian who was originally a lesbian has been turned into a
straight "babe" which is as far away from the British version as
possible. The librarian is played by Morning Randolph (Mircea Monroe)
who has a shaded history in the entertainment business and looks
considerably younger than she actually is. Morning has also made a sex
tape. Another clever aspect of the series is this strange postmodernist
twist which has two of the main characters, Matt LeBlanc and Beverly are
in actual fact mirrors to the protagonists of the sitcom.
The star of Episodes however is Matt LeBlanc who
plays this womanising and demeaning man who literally bumps heads with
Beverly due to his bad behaviour and the bastardisation of story. To make
matters worse, Sean and Matt have become best friends as the former
Friends star attempts to corrupt his British Producer pal. Matt even tries
to hook Sean up with Morning and although he is happily married to
Beverly and refuses Morning's supposed advances, he is caught one
night masturbating to her sex video. Without spoiling the series,
Episodes is a quirky BBC comedy like The Worst Week of My
Life and the series really makes fun of the American TV industry
which uses just about every stereotype.
The biggest letdown to Episodes is the
revelation at the end which really throws a spanner into the works.
Fortunately a series two of Episodes has been made and let's hope
the stars of this series can continue this amusing and quite smart