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"The Jingle" is missing at Friday Night Dinner

Friday Night Dinner poster

Written by : published Monday 1st August 2011

Please click here to watch the latest Friday Night Dinner episode online.

     Friday Night Dinner is BBC America's newest sitcom. The series begins with episode two, "The Jingle," with episode one set to air next week. As you may expect from the title, the series is about a family getting together to dine at the end of the week. The main characters are the Goodmans, a Jewish couple and their two grown sons. "The Jingle" finds an excited Adam (Simon Bird, The Inbetweeners) eagerly anticipating hearing a jingle he wrote on the radio. Brother Jonny (Tom Rosenthal) doesn't make the wait easy, sending mean text emssages from their mother's, Jackie (Tamsin Greig, Episodes), phone. Meanwhile, the father, Martin (Paul Ritter, Vera), keeps slipping away to check on something in his underwear with a magnifying glass, an act not lost on his sons. Plus, Jim (Mark Heap, Lark Rise to Candleford), the annoying neighbor, won't stop dropping by.

     As sitcoms go, this one is fair. There are some real laugh out loud moments, such as when Jonny texts Adam from Jackie's phone, saying Adam is a failed abortion. Or when the whole family crams into the bathroom as Martin tries to instruct Adam on how to look for girls on the internet. Of course the porn jokes flow freely, though not in an obscene way. But many of the other bits, such as the brothers salting each others' waters, or anything with Jim in it, fall flat. Perhaps the writers are trying to cram too many jokes into the half hour, and overall quality suffers because of it.

     The characters are a bit better than fair. Greig brings the same wonderful talent that she brought to Episodes, though in a completely different character. Instead of being a smart and confident career woman, Jackie is the supportive mother. It is interesting, and realistic, how each parent favors one of the sons. Sibling rivalry is spot on. The family's interaction feels authentic, and makes for a pretty believable half hour, if nothing else. Even Heap, who doesn't get any actually funny material to work in "The Jingle" seems to be on his game. As this is the first episode that airs, it is likely to get better as the performers take over more forcefully the roles they inhabit so well.

     What really hurts Friday Night Dinners is that it follows Outnumbered, another family-based sitcom that is superior in humor, and has the draw of young kids saying the darndest things, almost always a winner if done properly. If Friday Night Dinner stands alone, it may fare better, as there wouldn't the immediate opportunity for comparison. As it is, Friday Night Dinner is worth watching, but I recommend using your DVR to reverse the order you view the BBC America sitcoms in.

     Friday Night Dinner airs, strangely enough, Saturday nights at 11:30 p.m. ET on BBC America.

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Article first published as TV Review: Friday Night Dinner - "The Jingle" on Blogcritics.

About the author JeromeWetzelTV


Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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