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Friday Night Dinner, “The Sofabed” (1.01)

The central family around the dinner table for a meal.

The Signal sometimes takes a first look at new series, including those across the pond. A review of the new Britcom, written by Robert Popper and directed by Steve Bendelack, after the jump…

“Crap. Crap.” – The boys.

The most aggressively unfunny thing I’ve ever forced myself to sit through.

I definitely understand where the writer of Friday Night Dinner was coming from: the inanity of real life, and the humour that comes from the daily bits of ridiculousness we face within our families. Perhaps, to someone whose family more resembles the one shown here, this might have elicited a laugh. But I doubt it. Not since The Line have I wished the entire cast of characters a quick and painful death. The comedy was obvious, frustrating, and obnoxious. The characters were paper-thin caricatures of the most annoying people you’ve ever met. There was very little cleverness here, and what was there felt like it came from the crew, rather than the script.

To the pilot’s credit, for what it was, it was well-constructed and consistent. The jokes about mum’s love of Masterchef, dad’s obsession with old magazines, and the sons’ pranks on one another intermixed with the suburban bits about old sofabeds and creepy neighbours. From the first five minutes you could predict 90% of what would happen (though the sofabed guy’s dad dying was a pretty good twist, compared to the rest). I suspect there’s an audience for this who find it hilarious, true-to-life, and worth twenty minutes every week.

Me? I’ll stick to Parks and Recreation.

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