Monday, 11 February 2013

Verdict: Fresh Meat Series 1

Premièring on British television in the autumn of 2011, Fresh Meat is a fantastically witty and entertaining show about the horror of student life. Featuring an ensemble cast that includes stand-up comedian Jack Whitehall, ex-Inbetweener Joe Thomas and the perky Kimberley Nixon, Fresh Meat is more like a breath of fresh air that proves the quality British sitcom isn't an endangered species.

Following the lives of six students who house share at Manchester University, Fresh Meat is one of the best new shows that I have seen in a while. A little slow on the uptake, I finally got around to watching the first series (eight episodes) of this delightful show over the last month.

What the show captures so perfectly is the varying personality quirks and traits present in the diverse social group. There's pompous and arrogant public school poshie JP (Jack Whitehall), the oblivious and unlucky in love Kingsley (Joe Thomas), the apparently prim and proper Josie (Kimberly Nixon), socially-bakward geology geek Howard (Greg McHugh), the desperately trying to be cool and funky Oregon (Charlotte Ritchie) and the straight-talking and head-strong Vod (Zawe Ashton).

Usually in a show like this there is an obvious weak link in the group that brings it down. Not so in Fresh Meat, with each and every cast member given their time in sun. Over the course of the eight episodes certain characters begin to steal the show (Josie and Kingsley's awkward will-they-won't-they pairing blows hot and cold across the series) but the writer's ensure that the focus is very much on the group as a whole. The observed writing is sharp and cool, each character being entirely believable and relatable, the charm of their idiocy and naivety evident from the get-go.

Supporting cast members add to the show's charm, Robert Webb's hilariously desperate geology teacher a particular stroke of genius. Whilst at first, the show may be comparable to The Inbetweeners or even Skins, over time the heartfelt and touching strands begin to come together in a much more serious way. Episode 6 for example touches on the idea of death and grieving, something we all have, or will have, experience at some point.

It's at this point that Fresh Meat singles itself out from the crowd and begins to elevate itself above the initial slapstick or cartoon comedy. By the end of the season, both the writers and the actors have gotten the delicate balance between drama and comedy just right, making for some pleasing results.

Fresh Meat is a real gem that is just waiting to be unveiled and cherished. Get onto it!

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