Wednesday, 7 July 2010

The ghastly Rev

Just watching the utterly ghastly "Rev" on BBC. It says on the blurb it is "entertainment" and "comedy". I've a feeling it could be done under the Trade Descriptions Act for that.

Tempted to throw a shoe at the telly, but would much rather throw a BBC scriptwriter out of a stained glass window.

I'd sum it up as the Vicar of Dibley does (church) politics with a bloke.

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  1. That's the first review of this that made me laugh my socks off...thanks.

    I haven't seen one episode and now know I'm probably all the better for it :)

  2. I actually liked it. Clearly of a liberal leaning, this is the BBC, but it is very human and I find that to be the most endearing aspect to it.
    A vicar that people can relate to, who actually prays properly (as opposed to the prayers you saw in Dibley).

  3. I enjoyed the first episode but the second was a straightforward glorification of lust of various sorts. Hard to think of a character that didn't spend the entire episode with sex on the brain. And if it wasn't sex it was money.

    Oh how I miss Father Ted with its blatantly evil-or-insane catholic priests!

    Well, I suppose 'that would be an ecumenical matter'!

  4. The thing is, Father Ted was genuinely, uproariously, funny. Rev wasn't funny but, ironically, it was 'preachy'.

  5. Oh I love Father Ted, I still watch it online on 4OD

  6. I personally found the Rev & Archdeacon standing up to the other vicar to be inspiring — I am sure that moments like that show a more human and caring side to the CofE than most people outside of it would usually perceive. I'd say that can only be a good thing for the CofE

  7. But DBD, that 'other vicar' was just a lazy caricature. What about him was there not to dislike? The moral lesson of him being 'stood up to' was like the moral lesson of Popeye beating Bluto.

  8. Truly. Ghastly. Didn't. Raise. A. Laugh - as well as being needlessly offensive. And the writer clearly hates HTB.

    Father Ted was genuinely funny. So was - going back now - 'All Gas and Gaiters'.

  9. I enjoyed the first 2 episodes and thought it was a gently funny exploration of issues within the cofe. Of course, as a comedy some of the characters will inevitably be a bit overcooked. I wonder whether it is disliked because it isn't as wildly unrealistic as Ted or Dibley and as such reflects aspects of ourselves that we find a tad uncomfortable? The wider audience for such a show may not understand (or care about) the politics of service styles or the issues surrounding parish share etc they just want to laugh.
    I agree with comment 2 above - it does show someone praying 'properly' without it descending into a farce.
    Sitcoms often take an issue and distort it for comic effect - we can see that with the 'bullying' charismatic in this weeks episode. They also dealt with sex in an open, humorous way. Last week it was middle class parents and schools. Next week it'll be something else. Real issues couched in humour is often the best way to make people look at their attitudes and consider whether they need to adjust their worldview or not.
    I hope the show is a success however uncomfortable it makes us feel.

  10. Anonymous, (WHY ARE YOU ANONYMOUS?? He says in frustration ...)

    The thing is, a situation comedy is primarily about comedy, not an exploration of issues.

    Dad's Army managed to be pretty funny without ever exploring the mistakes that led up to the Dunkirk evacuation, or the politics of deploying Polish squadrons during the Battle of Britain. Of course, it relied on a background knowledge, and it used caricatures (including a caricature vicar), but first and foremost it aimed at being funny (and generally succeeded).

    If "Rev" is, first and foremost, about 'making people think', so be it - but if that is the case, it failed catastrophically last night by simply being bad 'journalism'.

    Ironically, as I've already observed, "Rev" is actually preaching at us, and personally I could do without it. Give me The IT Crowd, Black Books, even Friends!

  11. I'm sorry the anonymity is frustrating. I freely admit that I'm not currently comfortable naming myself for a number of reasons - cowardice perhaps being one of them (inserts smiley face). I hope it doesn't prevent you from commenting further.
    I'm not sure I understand to whom it's preaching and what about?
    I appreciate your comments about Dads Army and see that as a classic sitcom. I wonder if Rev is one of those new fangled comedies that places the situation quite close to home and therefore it's harder to see the divide between situation and comedy. 'The Thick of it' seems very close to the Westminster village and yet is a great critical success whether you view as a political animal or not (Malcolm Tuckers swearing does seem to get all the glory though).
    Without necessarily wishing to draw to a neat and tidy conclusion on the whole subject I suppose that just like in every other area of life, including religion and the media, you can't please all of the people all of the time.
    As you rightly say there are plenty of alternatives.

  12. Being fair to the series, the advance publicity did describe it as not being laugh out loud comedy, more the smiles and nods of recognition style. There is certainly a place for the latter, and I did quite enjoy the first episode. There was also a slight frisson of excitement in the reader community when we saw a blue scarf on the trailers and realised one of us was going to be portrayed in the series.

    The big problem is that the Rev and his friends get sympathetic character comedy while the others get unsubtle, inaccurate charicature. Father Ted wasn't exactly sympathetic to RC bishops, but it sent up everyone, and was laugh out loud funny.

  13. "A vicar that people can relate to, who actually prays properly (as opposed to the prayers you saw in Dibley)" [Phil Taylor, above] - Yes, tv praying is indeed ghastly. Did you see the recent one with the girl in Dr Who, praying, hands together, to Father Christmas? Presumably Richard Dawkins is adviser to that programme's writers. Personally, I feel up to it, currently, to stand seeing yet another BBC stereotype Chrtistian, so I shall be sitting it out with this one 9and as for "Liberal"). Yes, know what yer mean about Fr. Ted. It was actually the old fashioned (ie better) idea of mock the humans, but not mock God (and, of course, Dad's Army also); the further back you go, the better (less snide, sneering) it is. The stereotype Christian in Lark Rise to Candleford (the postman; bumbling, but also "bigoted" as they say) did it for me, with BBC "Christians".

  14. What an excellent programme Rev is, showing a real insight into what inner city life can be like for clergy in the CofE and the pressures that sometimes bear on the them and their families. It also shows the ironic funny side of things that often happen in these places. It's just a shame that some of you obviously just don't get it.

    Having worked in an evangelical inner city parish myself, so many things in the programme resonate with me.

    I haven't spoken to one clergy person yet who didn't identify with some aspects of it and they all found it amusing too.

    It even gave me a great sermon point for this morning and by the smiles and nods of agreement from members of the congregation, it is being enjoyed by people.

    It isn't trying to be a Father Ted or Dad's Army, just like The Office wasn't trying to be Only Fools and Horses. You may prefer to watch old videos of "Oh Brother", it sounds more like your cup of tea 8O)

  15. Graham, my abiding problem with "Rev" is not that it isn't nicely observed but that it isn't funny (or at least, the episode I watched wasn't - I'm willing to try again) and that it is "preachy". My 'cup of tea', as you appropriately put it in this context, is Father Ted, which is also nicely observed, but 'laugh aloud' funny and manages to criticize without preaching.

    If you want another example of humour about religion, try Garrison Keillor, who is funny, and also deeply moving, when he writes about Christianity and Christians - not least, I think, because he loves them both, something which did not come across in the script for "Rev".

  16. I'm not sure that Rev is trying to be a laugh out loud comedy though, it's more subtle than that. Perhaps it's been wrongly labelled "sitcom"? That said, I found myself laughing out loud at several bits in it.

    I do like the way it makes you think though. Like last night when he was concerned about a lap dancing club opening near the school, then seeing a member and father from his congregation in another club. How would I react to that? How should I react to that? It wasn't "preachy", but it made me think, in a gentle, humerous way.

    I enjoyed "Lake Wobegone Days" very much & listening to "A prairie home companion" when I visited the states.

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