Green Wing series one review
As we established earlier nobody who works in a hospital ever really does anything, particularly the nurses. No Angels has shown that the woman giving you your drugs is likely a drunken lush, House proved that your consultant is a twisted misanthrope who hates your guts and will get his team to break into your house and Bodies has demonstrated how the man helping you through your troubled pregnancy makes Harold Shipman look like Albert Schweitzer. Seriously, if you fall ill – stay at home.
"Its first-season blazed a trail for sexual deviance, visual gags and surreal set-pieces."
So the goings-on at East Hampton Trust on Green Wing seem less like comedy, more like docu-drama. Created by Victoria Pile, the woman behind the excellent Smack The Pony, its first-season blazed a trail for sexual deviance, visual gags and surreal set-pieces, making it one of the few uncomplicated joys of last year’s terrestrial telly.
"Few women rise to positions of power in comedy. This is largely because they’re not funny."
Much is made of Victoria Pile being the most powerful woman in British comedy. This is understandable enough – few women rise to positions of power in comedy. This is largely because they’re not funny. Men possess an innate sense of comedy which women don’t. If I were in a courtroom I’d be calling Catherine Tate to the stand about now. Thank God I’m not, eh?
Anyhow, Green Wing season two begins with revolting public school Lothario Guy (Steve Mangan) – recovering from inadvertently fucking his own mother and discovering he’s the half-brother of Martin. Also in recovery is Dr Mac (Julian Rhind-Tutt) who now resides in coma land after plunging off the cliff that constituted last season’s cliffhanger.
"We walk through the corridors with the sexually deranged staff as they career from one personal crisis to the next."
Once again, we walk through the corridors with the sexually deranged staff as they career from one personal crisis to the next. Patients rarely get a look-in as the hospital is primarily a playground for the criminally immature staff.
We encounter memorable characters like aforementioned fuckedmother Joanna Clore – played fabulously by Pippa Haywood. The ageing, chain-smoking glamourpuss of Human Resources, Joanna has her appearance debased persistently in the series, requiring a strong stomach for an actress in her late forties. Her affair with the frenzied sex apocalypse Dr Statham (Mark Heap) was the most consistently funny element in season one.
"She is truly a magnificent beast with the legs of a thoroughbred racehorse, the eyes of a cobra and the personal manners and grace of Daffy Duck."
There is a remarkable performance from lovely Bobfoc Michelle Gomez as Sue White – the foul-mouthed Doctor Mac obsessed staff liaison honcho. She is truly a magnificent beast with the legs of a thoroughbred racehorse, the eyes of a cobra and the personal manners and grace of Daffy Duck.
Gomez is a great comic actor and it’s a shame we don’t make more of her. Her physical comedy is brilliantly executed, she knows where she is every second the camera is on her and owns every scene she’s in.
Season two starts well enough but they should really have had a shake-up of characters including the culling of Sarah Alexander‘s utterly pointless Angela Hunter character who serves no comic purpose and is a weak foil for Tamsin Greig‘s engagingly ditzy Dr Todd. After the success of a first season it’s a little too easy to fall in love with your ensemble cast and not see where they need to be pruned.
"Victoria Pile still has an unerring eye for absurdity along with a ruthless grasp of the comedy of cruelty."
But Victoria Pile still has an unerring eye for absurdity along with a ruthless grasp of the comedy of cruelty. A lesser producer would have pulled back from the brink with the mother-son incest and ended with a "hilarious" Benny Hill underwear scene but she pushed the envelope and made Guy the motherfucker everybody said he was.
"As an audience we’ve got to like it rough. We’re here to laugh at their misfortune not coo over a happy ending."
I guess it boils down to how hard a time you’re prepared to give your characters. As an audience we’ve got to like it rough. We’re here to laugh at their misfortune not coo over a happy ending.
So well done Vicky. Now run along and make us lads a nice cup of tea.
The best thing about it: Sue White stalking the corridors like a hormonal gazelle.
The worst thing about it: Angela Hunter – simply no need.
The verdict on Green Wing:: If Carry On had ever been funny.
Marks out of 10: 8