It is difficult to find comedies that elicit genuine laughter these days and The Thick Of It distinguishes itself. A cold open format demands attention right away before the humor seeps in; by the time you realize what your gut is in for, the crays in Department of “Social Affairs” have crept their way into your system. Every preemptive political misstep creates so much hysteria and disaster it’s impossible for bystanders not to find amusement in the absurdity and idiocy of it all.
I am rather cautious about over hyped programs. Especially after feeling disappointed with The Office (UK), Little Britain and The Peep Show. But the lyrical filth snaps and pops too delightfully in this one to look away. Par course for the comic timing seized with perfection by Malcolm Tucker and Hugh Abbot.
Although The Thick of It functions as satirical commentary on the British government, I find that anyone with a soft spot for political feuds and human nature will relate to it, and thus enjoy watching. Unless plot points and character device are specifically designed to allude to real life figures/events in each episode (in which case, I’m too uninformed to “catch”), you don’t need sound knowledge of UK’s current affairs to “get it”. Much like how you don’t need to be black or American to acknowledge the simple premise behind The Wire—classic institutional dysfunction and media consumption. Only difference between the two being the latter is a slow-burning novelistic tale layered with stoic horror, while the former flips like a sprightly comic book punctuated with wags and wit.
Issues such as uninspired leadership, reluctant lackeys, chasing ranks, falsifying stats and information are things that guide and obstruct real progress within any system. In this sense, I think the appeal of The Thick Of It is universal. That the self-involved, self-defeating, borderline-sociopathic qualities harassing its spin doctors promptly blow up in their own clueless faces is just icing on the cake. Dry humor in maniacal proportions with accurate insights into the bureaucratic condition are worth the viewership.
Three seasons in and I think The Thick Of It is absolutely winning and hilarious.