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The Mitchell And Webb Situation
cast: David Mitchell, Robert Webb, Gus Brown, Olivia Colman, and Susan Earl

director: David Kerr

142 minutes (15) 2001
Eureka DVD Region 2 retail
[released 20 February]

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Alasdair Stuart
Best known for the superb, and cringe making, Peep Show, Mitchell and Webb have actually been around for a great deal longer than that. This is a welcome release for a show they produced in 2001 and it's fascinating to see how their work developed.

Following a similar format to The Fast Show, The Mitchell And Webb Situation throws a lot of comedy at the wall and sees what sticks. Some characters recur, some characters don't, but there's such a volume of them that it's almost impossible to not laugh at something. Some of the best material on display here is the silliest; most notably the pair of tramps that close every episode. They sit, or lie, on a near a wall as the credits roll and then deliver a single line. Arguably the best is the moment where one stretches, looks around, sighs and says:
You know, I could get used to this.

It's an easy laugh but nonetheless impressive for that. However, the real gems are when the two let their imaginations run away from them most notably in the scriptwriter sequences. Initially little more than Mitchell and Webb bouncing ideas off one another these are a perfect example of the 'repeat until funny' rule, as they discuss progressively wilder ideas with the same slightly bemused enthusiasm. The same applies to the recurring sketch featuring two barmen who torment their customers, and get into a war with one another. I defy anyone to get through all these sketches without giggling at least once.

Whilst there's nothing particularly deep on display here there's no reason for it to be. This is a sketch show designed to make you laugh, then it leaves the stage, and it succeeds admirably. Some jokes fall flat, some absolutely soar but overall this is a very funny collection of early work by two of England's best comic writers.

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