A Brief Entry In Lieu Of A Proper Post

The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn – not the kind of ungainly title you’d expect to see at the start of the post on a comedy blog. (I imagine the film is no laughing matter either, though I have no plans to find out.[i])

But digging through some of the ridiculous internet sturm und drang that has blown up around the film, I discovered something worthy of note, if little more. The latest Stephen Speilberg project, produced by Peter Jackson, is written by a Scot and two Englishmen who are, to all intents and purposes, comedy writers: Steven Moffat (writer of various sitcoms, and co-creator of last year’s Sherlock); Edgar Wright (director of Spaced, co-writer and director of Shaun of the Death and Hot Fuzz); and Joe Cornish (one half of Adam and Joe).

Is this the future for the animated blockbuster? Should we brace ourselves for Pixar movies scripted by Graham Linehan, or Dreamworks commissioning Chris Morris to write yet another Shrek sequel? Will this influx of British sitcom expertise revive a slumbering giant, or will these writers become lost in the labyrinthine bowels of the Hollywood system?

The real mystery, of course, is how Stephen Moffat, a man who co-created the latest version of Sherlock Holmes and wrote the excellent first episode, could also have been responsible for Coupling, one of the most wearily formulaic sitcoms I have ever seen. Something for an intrepid Belgian boy journalist to investigate, perhaps (if he ever makes it back to the big screen).

[i] I did see the trailer, so let’s say it felt like I saw a whole film, and leave it at that.


  1. Interesting, I thought Coupling was one of the best UK sitcoms to come out in recent years.

    I really liked the established character traits, deliberately 2D and stereotypical without trying to hide it (Not Going Out employs a similar tactic but falls flat on its face in the process).

    I thought the real genius was juxtapositioning the characters with intricate tightly written plotlines. It was also gifted at using callbacks to maximm effect.

    Moffat's exceptional at employing a Rashomon style, with the episode Nine and a Half Minutes deserving to be regarded as one of the finest sitcom episodes ever made.

    That said, I could see how you could easily reject it on sight, the tone is very unusual and at a glance looks a lot like Two Pints of Lager and Nine Seasons of Shit.

  2. It works! I can post on my own blog!


    Alex, you may be right - you seem more familiar with the series than I am.

    Having said that, when I first saw an episode, I made a point of watching a second one straight after, just to see if that would be as bad as the first. It was.

    I found the 'deliberately 2D' characters you mention grating in the extreme, and the standard of dialogue to be pretty shoddy. No matter how tightly plotted and scripted a sitcom of this sort is, if the lines aren't funny it's not going to work (in fact, the undoubted slickness irritated me further).

    But in light of your post, maybe I should revisit it, see the light and proclaim Coupling the Great Lost Sitcom...

  3. Revisiting it probably wouldn't make you change your mind, you do have a good case. The format is shoddy, intentional or not, and though I think Moffat's writing makes it work in spite of itself, it'd have been preferable if he went a more traditional route.

    I also wouldn't put too much weight on my biased view, after all Community is my favourite sitcom and it's a quite brazen meta club on in-jokes and comedy nerdism.

    Planning to look at Life's Too Short? I've not seen it, but I'm hoping it's good enough to shake my quite jaded view of contemporary UK sitcoms. The 6 episode, 30 minute, 2 season, 2 writer, 4 character, 2/3 setting blend of eccentricity, culture clash, and misery is becoming tiresome.