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24 December 2011

Spaced - Series 1 (1999)

Momma Uke: You do know that you're 10 years behind everyone else?
King Uke: 12 years!
It's a well documented fact that I'm late to most parties. It's a knack I have... my special super power. Hold this thought...

Homage-a-plenty
Spaced, Channel 4 1999

I'm pleased to announce that I have just finished watching the first series of 'Spaced', the British comedy that aired in 1999.

That's only 12 years behind the curve! One of my better attempts!

'Spaced' is the seed that finally grew into 'Shaun of the Dead'... or at least episode 3 was.

Shaun... oh Shaun...
Spaced, Channel 4 1999

The show follows two likeable layabouts as they bum around, bicker, and get into unlikely scrapes. Simon Pegg stars as Tim Bisley a wanna-be graphic artist alongside Jessica Stevenson, who plays Daisy Steiner, a wanna-be writer. Episode 1 opens with the two posing as a 'Professional' Couple in order to rent a flat... and it all shoots off at tangents from there.

Daisy and Tim rumbled?
Spaced, Channel 4 1999

Along the way we meet and fall in love with Mark Heap, playing the confused and deeply thoughtful artist Brian Topp. Mark's had a long and varied career. You might also know him from 'Lark Rise to Candleford' where he played the confused and deeply thoughtful postman. Brian's constantly being chased by Marsha Klein (played by Julia Deakin) who adds a Gothic shadow as the chain-smoking landlady, but his heart really belongs to Daisy's air-headed friend Twist Morgan (played by Katy Carmichael).

Brian and Marsha do that thing with their lips...
Spaced, Channel 4 1999

And there's Nick Frost... Frostie! The Frostmeister! Nick plays Mike Watt, Pegg's soldier-obsessed best friend. It's only a bit part at first, but it isn't long before he's stealing scenes and shining like the hairy star he is. He reminds me a bit of a tame bear, but of course that's all an act... he isn't tame at all. If you don't believe me... check out Episode 6 to see Frost directing proceedings at a Rave to the A-Team theme. Hardcore!

"Only for the, only for the, only for the hardcore UK raver!"
Spaced, Channel 4 1999

Having watched this after 'Shaun of the Dead' and 'Hot Fuzz', it's hard for me to view the series as anything other than a springboard for bigger and better things. Edgar Wright displays some fantastic directing skills; Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson have a go at writing comedy; And we see the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost love affair blossoming. Fantastic stuff!

Brian asks Twist out on date
Spaced, Channel 4 1999

The script itself doesn't have much of an agenda. The 'will they/won't they' relationship between Tim and Daisy is a constant as is Brian's sidestepping of Marsha's advances and his emergence from his artistic shell. Everything is done against a backdrop of a bored life enhanced by music, films, games, drugs and alcohol. It's casual, throwaway, and often quite brilliant. I might be stretching it a bit, but it kind of puts me in mind of a 90s version of 'the Young Ones'.

Art is serious business
Spaced, Channel 4 1999

If I have any complaints about the show, I would probably start with the characters. They're all very stereotypical. But then, what else would you expect with a comedy, and a show that's just starting out? Efforts are made to break down the stereotypes... but it takes a while. And that leads me onto my next complaint... the show's too short. I'd only just started to get to know the characters and it was all over!

Seven episodes just aren't enough!

Paintballin'
Spaced, Channel 4 1999

So, did I like 'Spaced'? I certainly did! I was on the interweb buying the second series before the first series dvd had stopping spinning. They're cheap as chips! You know how much I love a bargain!

On the Triple-B I'm going to show off by placing 8 rocks in my rucksack instead of the regulation 5. Now for the Eskimo Roll...




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