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Gay sitcom Vicious performs strongly for ITV

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  1. UglyGeezer 30 Apr 2013, 1:15pm

    Personally I really enjoyed it. Yes it was very old fashioned, steadfastly stuck in the 70’s and awash with silly stereotypes. But a good old fashioned comedy needs good old fashioned stereotypes.

    I went on twitter to have a look at the reaction when it had finished. I noticed that the negative reaction seemed to be coming from straight people getting offended about the stereotypes on my behalf.

    I found it funny and found myself laughing out loud, I didn’t find myself offended.

    1. I agree, i thought the show was hilarious. Personally, i like the stereotypes, because i believe effeminate gay men should get positive representation in media. I loved it, will be tuning in next week :) xx

      1. Michael 2912 30 Apr 2013, 1:48pm

        Interesting take and I’m all for respecting the heterogeneity of our community and worry that we’re going through a horrible image fascistic phase but, sorry, as portrayals of effeminate gay men, these were not positive. If I’d watched this as a questioning teen I’d have shuddered.

        1. It pains me to say this as I do believe all aspects of our community should be represented. But I grew up with only this stereotype and not one gay woman anywhere and it didn’t help me in the slightest. I spent, what is already a difficult time, my teens confused about who I was. and with no one positive female gay role model and only the Mr Humphries on TV, it really didn’t help matters!

          I have no problem with maybe to two men being effeminate. But you need some balance in there too. Maybe the young male neighbour has a friend who is also gay and very masculine.

          It was one of those things I loved about Torchwood. Jack was anything but effeminate! You have to have some form of balance. It’s like gay women can very often been seen as butch when we’re not all like that. Yes I wear jeans, and tees pretty much all the time. But I also wear make-up etc…

          Balance is the key! It’s not possible to get EVERYONE in a show…but you need to spread it a little! lol

    2. “a good old fashioned comedy needs good old fashioned stereotypes”….I wonder if you would say that if the stereotypes were racial?…..It’s hard to imagine that, yet here we have a programme presenting gay stereotypes as thought it’s some kind of social progress…..I doubt the return of the ‘Black & White Minstrel Show’ would be received with the same acclaim….

      1. UglyGeezer 30 Apr 2013, 2:19pm

        I used to love desmonds on Ch4 and that was full of racial stereotypes. They weren’t offensive to people of colour hough, nor did I find vicious offensive.

      2. Spanner1960 30 Apr 2013, 2:49pm

        Stereotype: a person or thing that conforms to a widely held but oversimplified image of the class or type to which they belong.

        It is only when they are defined as a negative stereotype, one has to worry.
        Let’s be honest, I am sure all of us have a little of that stereotype in us, that’s how it manifests itself, and I have known men very much like that pair in the show.
        That is not to say we are all like that, but I really can’t see what harm it does.

    3. I found it funny. I understand the criticisms though particularly with regard to writing. It might improve as the series goes on.

    4. Spanner1960 30 Apr 2013, 2:37pm

      Classic. You hit the nail right on the head there. People getting offended by proxy.
      I wish these busybodies would let people fight their own battles.

    5. Bill Cameron 1 May 2013, 8:15am

      I thought it was awful and I am certainly not “straight” ;) – of course the several tweeter contacts I know who commented on or retweeted each others tweets were not straight either. It is clear there were mixed reviews on this show, but it is ridiculous to suggest that the only ones who didn’t like it are straight. I made a point of watching because of the two main stars of the show, both superb actors, who were in it, although the trailers pre-broadcast did make me wonder about why they had lent their names to this tosh; watching the whole show left me none the wiser. If the jokes had been funny the stereotyping wouldn’t have mattered, indeed it would have added piquancy, but as it was it gave me the feeling of “going through the motions”. McKellen and Jacobi performed well of course, as did the other actors, but when the script is lousy (which it was) even they cannot rescue it. Perhaps future episodes will be genuinely amusing – I’ll give the next few episodes a shot, at least.

  2. If you read through ALL of the many comments attached to that Summerskill article in The Guardian, you find that nearly every poster feels that the acting was, of course, excellent but Gary Janetti Mark Ravenhill’s script was just plain nasty. I totally agree.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2013/apr/29/vicious-end-gay-tv-characters-invisible

    1. Spanner1960 30 Apr 2013, 2:41pm

      It’s not called vicious for nothing. Bitchy queens ARE nasty, but they should also be funny – that’s what a lot of gay humour is about.
      A lot of this script was just really straining for laughs.

      1. Straining for, yet still not achieving. it was dire.

        1. Spanner1960 1 May 2013, 6:00pm

          Oh, there were a couple of giggles, but it didn’t come close to the pant-wettingly funny scripts of Jonathan Harvey. They could do with taking a leaf out of his book on how to do gay humour.

          1. What, like Gimme, gimme, gimme? I hated that!

  3. I only just found out about it today and watched the trailer following large volumes of friends’ Facebook traffic targetting it negatively. I have subsequently watched the trailer and found it to be dated, hammy and unamusing. I’m relying on Sir Derek and Sir Ian to have used a little savvy and am hoping for much more when viewing it later on.

    1. I agree! I know its a comedy- but I just can’t help but think it portrays a negative and stereotypical image of older gay men. Very dated- not much advance on the Julian and Sandy days of 50 years ago.

      1. Spanner1960 30 Apr 2013, 2:43pm

        Except these *are* those Julian and Sandys – if they were meant to be youngsters 50 years back

  4. Michael 2912 30 Apr 2013, 1:43pm

    I thought that, apart from the occasional good one-liner, it was completely awful. Low camp to canned laughter; am-dram acting; and a puerile script. I understand the tradition that it comes from but it’s one that’s based on mockery of easy targets. I eagerly await the Little Black Sambo show; or maybe No-legs good two legs bad, and wonder how much laughter there’ll be. And, FYI, I loved Will and Grace, so I do have a sense of humour, and I appreciate that this is subjective, but this was about as funny as Larry Grayson’s Shut That Door and John Inman in Grace Brothers (not the title, I know). Don’t tell me it’s post ironic. It isn’t. It’s just crap!

    1. Having been at the recording for this episode, I can assure you that there was no canned laughter. There was something close to 600 people in the audience. All the producers have done is accentuate the laughter to make the audience sound larger than it was.

      1. Michael 2912 30 Apr 2013, 4:12pm

        Thank you. That’s interesting. It really doesn’t come over as spontaneous.

        1. I was once dragged along to a BBC studio recording, at the studios in Manchester. They brought in two comedians first and their job was to warm up the audience and MAKE them laugh at anything and everything. The first one did half an hour, and then number two came on to bring everyone up to a pitch of hysteria. And of course people who go to these studio recordings are EAGER to screech their tits off.

          So I will be very surprised if D. McCabe tells us that absolutely no such “preparation” occurred before filming of this horrid adult version of Punch and Judy actually began.

          1. Spanner1960 30 Apr 2013, 9:33pm

            ‘Warm ups’ have been used in every televised comedy with a studio audience since the year dot, including all the classics like Fawlty Towers, Dad’s Army and Only Fools & Horses. Most people will admit it is far more preferable to the canned laughter of US sitcoms.
            What exactly is your point?

          2. At a tv recording there is always a lot of down time while sets are prepared and lighting and cameras positioned. I went to two of these tapings and we sat down at about 1845 and we’re out round 3 hours later about average for a 30 minute show. The warm up act fills this void, otherwise you have an audience sitting there unstimulated. It’s the same principle as airlines showing in flight movies, people get restless and fidgety if they are bored.

            However, my main thought after reading your piece was that you despite you being ‘dragged’ (against your will?) to the BBC and ‘made’ to laugh you clearly weren’t very eager to screech your tits off. Why did you go and what did you really expect? Someone reading King Lear in between takes, or being asked to sit quietly?

      2. Did the audience genuinely laugh at every tiny thing that happened or did they add some extra bits in do you think? It seemed like people were laughing every two seconds at things that weren’t lol funny.

        1. I went to the taping of episode 3 and the Xmas special. Both were hilarious and the audience reaction was genuinely loud and frequent, even when watching the same segment being re shot for another take. I think that the series gets better, as episode one, of which I’d only seen the first scene at the taping, felt like it was a bit too gentle and in the ‘getting to know you’ mode, rather than some of the snappier humour I saw at the later episodes being taped.

          I want the dvd as some of the outtakes and banter between the cast was hilarious. Frances de la Tour is as cool as f*ck when it comes to ad libbing and gets some of the most outrageous lines in the show too.

  5. I couldn’t help thinking that Viscous was to gay men what the black and white minstrels were to black people. It is appalling and plays into every negative, screaming nelly stereotype going. The script was clumsy, obvious, and cringe inducting. The only saving grace in the whole things was Frances de la Tour. But even her lines in this bad script just about scrapped past the amateur level.

    1. Michael 2912 30 Apr 2013, 2:39pm

      The same comparator occurred to me. There are those tho hope for better things later on. It surely can’t get much worse.

    2. Spanner1960 30 Apr 2013, 4:44pm

      I think you will find it was called “Vicious”.
      Viscous means slow and thick like treacle.
      Then again, you might have been right the first time. ;)

  6. “Stonewall said the programme represented progress for gay representation on TV.”

    I have yet to watch it. But it what way does it represent progress. Some seem to treat this as if it’s the first ever programme to centre around gay characters!

    What about Queer As Folk, Lip Service, Sugar Rush, Torchwood, The New Normal, Heading out, The L Word…to name but a few. I am sure there are some others out there!

    I love both the actors in the series. But going by what I have read…I am going to be VERY disapointed

    1. Keep your mind open. Yes, some of the comedy itself is a bit dated but I do think that the best is yet to come from this show!

  7. It is the first episode and I feel that people are being too harsh, give it time!

    I can also state that there was no canned laughter as I was at the recording for the first episode, each scene was recorded twice and obviously, they would move some of the bigger laughter to some of the funnier parts.

    I am certainly going to stick with it and see how it develops, am not going to write it off after the first one!

    1. Spanner1960 30 Apr 2013, 2:35pm

      if you can’t get the pilot right, you are doomed from the outset.

      1. That’s simply not true. Blackadder’s first series was not funny, but it matured into a classic. Brittas Empire started out as funny as cancer, but became a good comedy and Men Behaving Badly did so badly in its first series it dropped a star (Harry Enfield, replaced by Neil Morrissey) and changed channels (left ITV) in order to become a hit.

      2. The pilot for Will & Grace wasn’t that great in my opinion either and yet that survived!

      3. What utter bollox you write – WTF do you even know about television – writing or comedy – Shut Up!

        1. Spanner1960 30 Apr 2013, 9:25pm

          What would you know?
          I have been working in media, including film, music and television for over 35 years.

          1. And no one died and marmalade you God? Indefensible.

            Some of us have been consuming film, music and tv for longer and know what we find amusing. I like the show and think it will be a hit with the public. I like the way it gives visibility to older people on screen as main characters and not supporting artistes and that in the shows I saw being taped the genuine love between the two characters came through all the sniping. It showed two gay men in a loving, long term partnership and that’s positive.

          2. Loving? You and I must have seen a different show.

          3. YES ass hole I have for 25 years -

          4. Spanner1960 1 May 2013, 6:11pm

            @Nick: “loving, long term partnership”
            You have to be kidding me – it’s not called “Vicious” for nothing.
            Plenty of comedies demonstrate older people in a good light – “Last of the Summer Wine”, “Waiting for God” and “One foot in the Grave” spring to mind.
            I don’t deny the concept of gay couples backbiting each other doesn’t have comic potential – I often say myself that the more I like somebody, the more I will insult them – but this really was just spiteful and nasty in a poor attempt to get cheap laughs. The whole show was just a sparring match of malicious jibes, and the last 5 minutes had them making up to keep the concept alive.

  8. I cant think why and how Ian McKellen was persuaded to go along with this project.

    Ben Summerskill, as CEO of Stonewall, was put in the rather unenviable position of having to review a comedy which included one of Stonwall’s founders. He could hardly say exactly what he thought without raising a few eyebrows, could he? But there’s no doubt that the series sets back the cause of equality.

    1. Martyn Butler 30 Apr 2013, 2:32pm

      Canned Laughter?
      I assure you apart from a few in the Mulberry Bush opposite London Studios none of the Audience was canned.
      I attended the recording of episode 6 and can assure you the show has settled into its slippers very nicely.

      I would agree a laughter track would be annoying – but the audience for VICIOUS was very much alive.

      1. I agree Martyn. I was at the recording of this episode and the laughter was genuine. Although some of the laughter itself has been moved around!

  9. Spanner1960 30 Apr 2013, 2:34pm

    It almost reminded me of “Rising Damp”
    Very basic, two-set comedy that relied heavily on dialogue.

    Unfortunately, the script was a bit tired and stretched credulity, and half an hour of two bitchy queens hurling barbed insults at each other just wasn’t enough to hold my interest.

    It’s a shame as both McKellen and Jacobi are masters of their trade, but there just wasn’t enough meat on the bones. We shall see.

    1. I think the phrase you’re looking for is ‘Rising Camp’.

      1. Spanner1960 30 Apr 2013, 4:33pm

        Ooh! Miss Jones! :)

    2. Are you still here – you bitter old fool

  10. So its another camp gay stereotype on TV. Graham Norton, Alan Carr, gimme gimme gimme, and now these vicious pair of old queens – and thats just the UK TV programs.

    Does anyone know of any gay characters on TV where they are not portrayed as effeminate clowns?

    1. Spanner1960 30 Apr 2013, 2:44pm

      Captain Jack Harkness in “Torchwood” for one.

      1. I will go with that!! Captain Harkness…= hero!! lol

      2. GingerlyColors 2 May 2013, 6:13am

        I just love Captain Jack and I would like to see him reunited with that beautiful Ianto Jones who died saving children from evil, perverted aliens. I have visited the memorial to Ianto at Mermaid Quay in Cardiff where Torchwood was filmed. It is wonderful that peoples’ attitudes towards homosexuality has changed out of recognition in recent years and it shows at the waterfront in Cardiff. Cardiff is only an hour and a half from where you live, just down to the M4 then across the bridge.

    2. Not effeminate clowns? Well for starters how about:

      *spoiler alert* – Ray Stevenson in Dexter
      Captain JAck- Torchwood and Dr Who
      Renly Baratheon – Game of Thrones
      Ian Gallagher – Shameless
      Jesus Velasquez – True Blood
      Keith – Six Feet Under
      Jack – Dawson’ Creek

      1. Spanner1960 30 Apr 2013, 4:39pm

        Oh, I dunno. Renly was a bit of a mince. ;)
        I think it’s great to have “straight acting” gay characters on TV – I thought for a long time I couldn’t possibly be gay because the only points of reference I had were John Inman. Larry Grayson and Danny La Rue – but nevertheless, the theatre has a long history of gay comedy and camping it up, so why try and pretend it doesn’t exist?

        The PC twits will try and bury something which is as much a part of being gay as butch beefcake and Tom of Finland.

  11. CH Brighton 30 Apr 2013, 2:52pm

    I cringed from the opening words of the first scene with Derek Jacobi, hid my face in my hands with the entrance of Ian McKellen – and switched off. It’s awful; what I saw doesn’t represent me and it doesn’t represent anyone I know.

    1. come back in 50 year dear and say the same thing -only kidding. I liked parts of it but it made us all appear to be John Inman type figures again. Its what the general public all gay men are like and of course its not

    2. I watched it in horrified recognition, especially the bit where Stuart (Jacobi) is sulking and I thought, my God, that’s EXACTLY what I do…including the making up bit. So here’s one person it respresents…

  12. Tired old stereotypes and even rape jokes …. yuck.

    1. Yuck indeed! The sheer hideousness of some of the lines given to this established gay couple, lines like:

      “You’ve done nothing [with your life]!”

      “I’m surprised you could see it, through the milky film that coats your cataracts!”

      “. . . stuck with you in this penitentiary!”

      “. . . not with you, sucking the life out of me!”

      The above comments actually constitute DOMESTIC VERBAL ABUSE.

      So what we were “treated to” last night was a portrayal of an abusive relationship. How on earth did the studio assistants manage to coax laughter out of the audience? Did they somehow strip them of all objectivity as they entered the studio?

      1. Get a life. I am 70 and lived through more discrimination than you will ever know. I still have one grace, which you have lost (or never found) that I can laugh and enjoy life.

        1. colonelkira 30 Apr 2013, 4:02pm

          Nicely written sir! Bravo!

        2. Roger, I can laugh too, and enjoy life.

          “The New Normal” is vastly superior to the vile rubbish we watched last night. Last night’s presentation was liking walking into an old dingy gay pub back in the late 1970s and hearing some vile and drunk self-hating “queens” tearing each other to bits in the belief that what they were doing was humorous. Not so.

          1. Spanner1960 30 Apr 2013, 9:24pm

            Art imitates life.
            Are you seriously telling me people like that don’t exist?
            I realise they are caricatures, but I know people very similar, as do many of us, I’m sure.

          2. You could just as easily resort to trite platitudes and quote Wilde’s “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life.”

            But whether it reflects a reality or not is actually less important than whether it’s funny or not. Frasier, Friends and The Big Bang Theory all trade on stereotypes to the point where they’re not really very close to life at all – but they’re deft and amusing, which Vicious quite disastrously is not.

      2. Domestic verbal abuse.

        Lol get a life.

  13. Loved it.

  14. My God it was just like watching my late partner and myself. Even the ladies where very much like some. Don’t take any notice of the miseries. Great show. Enjoy.

  15. I think it was very much hyped as groundbreaking, and simply did not live up to it thus far.

    If you remember that 90% of the UK population are not aware of American productions like the ‘New Normal’ then you realise just how safe this homegrown prime time show would appear to them.

    Alan Carr, Gok Wan, Craig Revel Horwood, Bruno Tonioli, Graham Norton, Anthony Cotton, Louis Spence. I simply don’t feel represented on British tv at the moment, I feel like a joke/clown.

    To your hideously unP.C. 70 year old grandparents it’s just one in a very long lineage of ‘poofter shows’ that can be watched without challenging ideas. Missed opportunities abound.

  16. I went into this programme fully expecting to hate it with a passion. And the first couple of minutes annoyed the hell out of me.
    However, once I started to give it space to be itself, I really enjoyed it.
    I agree with the comments about its dated and camp format, however, the longer I looked, the more I spotted the nuances of Jacobi and McKellen. They’re both playing the stereotypes and then very slightly subverting them.
    I even laughed out loud three times at the delivery of some of the lines – which is very unusual for me.
    The Job Lot, which followed it, is a more ‘contemporary’ comedy, but it only made me smile rather than laugh.
    So I’m going to give Vicious the benefit of the doubt and keep watching to see what they do with it.

    1. All those people you list are being themselves.I am pretty sure they have no desire to represent you.

      There are plenty of more straight acting gay men in the media. eg Evan Davies, Eddie Mair, Stephen Fry. And I am pretty sure they don’t want to represent you either.

      Why should camper gay people be driven out of the entertainment industry just because people like you feel threatened by them?

      1. I thinbk you’ve posted a reply to me when you meant to reply to someone else?

        1. Yep you are right! Sorry! Was supposed to be to Max above you.

  17. I am not particularly camp, and neither is my husband.

    But I am sick of people attacking every effeminate camp person or character because they think it refects negatively on them.

    There is nothing wrong with being camp, a dislike of campness and over the top behaviour in other people comes from uneasiness with your own sexuality.

    The program isn’t attempting to represent every gay person, and most normal people know that gay people come in all shapes and sizes.

    But I know, and like, couples like those in the sitcom. And they are funny. And their existence does nothing to cause me harm.

    1. Spanner1960 30 Apr 2013, 4:41pm

      Oooh! ‘ark at her! ;)

    2. Spot on CRW. I also don’t think I am particularly camp either although I would never pass for John Wayne (on or off the horse!)

      But every time someone complains about negative sterotypes I wonder what it is they are actually meaning. Are they embarassed by a bit of effeminacy and trying to stuff that ‘type’ back in the closet?

      Let’s remember that it was the effeminate queens of New York and Stonewall that helped start the whole gay lib movement and showed considerably more guts that those who are a bit precious about what people might think of us.

    3. thank you! here here and well said!

  18. colonelkira 30 Apr 2013, 4:26pm

    If I am understanding the comments made by (what I can only assume are) all these younger people, is that loud mouthed bitchy old queens such as myself have absolutely no right to be a represented demographic on the television and should be kept quietly dusted away in the “closet” for no one in the world to see, for fear of upsetting the balanced portrayal that all of us are actually quite butch and masculine and “normal”?

    Well…….when your own community doesn’t even want you, where should I turn.

    Inclusiveness indeed!

    1. Spanner1960 30 Apr 2013, 4:50pm

      The trouble is, when you call somebody a “loud-mouthed, bitchy old queen”, one gets accused of homophobia, or even ‘self-loathing’.
      Well from one loud-mouthed, bitchy old queen to another, I say you keep it up sweetie, don’t let the buggers grind you down! x

      1. colonelkira 30 Apr 2013, 4:59pm

        I was using my tablet to try to hit vote up and i accidentally hit report on you! So I suupose thats another stereotype I fit! The old fossil who gets confused by technology!…….lol………

        Thanks for the kind words and right back atcha!

        1. Spanner1960 30 Apr 2013, 9:22pm

          Tablet? I thought the only tablets you people had were Sanatogen. *cackle*! xx

  19. I enjoyed it! I accept the “dated” arguments but that seemed to add to its charm for me. For me there is nasty bitchiness that is still ubiquitous in too many places and then there is the sort that isn’t to be taken seriously- glorious camp like one or two masters (sic) of Drag. It was like a series of stand ups in a bawdy pub of old. I am looking forward to more!

  20. Hope Winter Hall 30 Apr 2013, 5:43pm

    Well that’s half an hour of my life I will never get back. Dreadful. Not funny. Not well written. Not even well acted. No light and shade. Nothing to say of any importance. Never mind the stereotyping and ageism which was blatant. It simply wasn’t good TV.

  21. When I compare this jokes-for-cash enterprise to the NZ beer ad, I find the beer ad more positive, more forward looking and funnier.

  22. Richard Kives 30 Apr 2013, 5:53pm

    Same old stereotypes, I’m afraid. Quite depressing.

  23. Staircase2 30 Apr 2013, 6:42pm

    By the sound of it and the clips I’ve seen it should be renamed ‘Mrs Brown’s Cliched Old Queens’…

    Even from a televisual perspective it’s tired and dated, let alone anything else

    And in the clip I saw the laughter did appear to be canned…

    Like the bad old days of 70s/80s ITV…

    1. Staircase2 if you type “ITV Vicious Watch Again” into Google you should be able to watch the whole first episode.

  24. Suddenly Last Bummer 30 Apr 2013, 8:07pm

    Cliched, stereotyped, two old fossils shuffling about like it was closing time at the City of Quebec boozer. Laugh free from beginning to end.

  25. What a shjame it recycles old stereo types. I don’t know any gay couples who are remotely like these two. We certainly are not.

    1. colonelkira 30 Apr 2013, 10:12pm

      Well I hate to break it to you but me and my husband are exactly like them! Even if you dont know any couples like them, you do not get to speak for all of us!

    2. After watching it me and my bf looked at each other and bust out laughing, because it was like seeing a cartoon version of us on screen – I loved it

  26. If it were two staight actors playing the lead roles to this I think we’d all be up in arms. The most amusing thing on it was the dizzy little woman who didn’t quite know where she was. But it was not very good and as much as I admire Jacobi and McKellen, I’m not sure this really works. Bring back Brit-written scripts – Yanks constantly pander to weak sterotypes of which I think we’re simply fed up of here.

    1. Spanner1960 30 Apr 2013, 9:29pm

      Er…. The writers and the production company are British. No American involvement, as far as I am aware.

      1. colonelkira 30 Apr 2013, 10:10pm

        Gary Janetti is american actually, but your general point is still good!

        1. One of the Will and Grace writers, right? Not very British at all.

        2. Spanner1960 2 May 2013, 12:55am

          OK, I stand corrected.

      2. GingerlyColors 2 May 2013, 6:27am

        I would like to have ‘Torchwood’ remain exclusively British. The first two series was great, the third, ‘Children of Earth’ was great until the show ‘jumped the shark’ with Ianto’s death. ‘Miracle Day’ which was made with American company, Starz along with BBC Cymru was still enjoyable but darker and many of us would like to see Torchwood back in Cardiff where it belongs.

    2. That woman was the best thing about it, she completely stole the show. Maybe she should have a spin off

    3. I agree totally – if this had been two straight actors playing these roles everyone would have been offended. Just because McKellen and Jacobi are seen as role models and spokespeople for gay men doesn’t mean we should let them off. In fact, we should be more horrified they stooped to this.

    4. Michael 2912 1 May 2013, 9:16am

      I agree with some of that but not your condemnation of Yanks. That’s just silly and demeaning. American humour tends to be less nasty than British in my experience, and more reliant on timing and repartee than mocking minorities.

      1. Spanner1960 2 May 2013, 12:57am

        I think the word you are looking for is “bland”.

  27. I’ve just watched it, and I found it unspeakable. If it’d been done in the late 1960s I’d have been less surprised, but no more amused. What the fuck McKellen and Jacobi are doing in this sort of dross is beyond me – maybe their property portfolios haven’t been generating enough income lately or something. As for Mark Shopping and Fucking Ravenhill, all I can imagine is that he’s had a lobotomy recently.

  28. I’ve just watched it, and it was unspeakable! What McKellen and Jacobi are doing in this sort of dross is beyond me – maybe their property portfolios aren’t bringing them their usual returns or something. As for Mark Shopping and Fucking Ravenhill, I can only assume he’s had a lobotomy.

  29. I’ve just watched it, and it was unspeakable! What McKellen and Jacobi are doing in this sort of dross is beyond me – maybe their property portfolios aren’t bringing them their usual returns or something. As for Mark Shopping and Fu***ng Ravenhill, I can only assume he’s had a lobotomy.

  30. Large viewing for the first episode because probably every gay person in the country tuned in. Let’s see how episodes 2 and 3 do. I expect not very well if the opinions expressed by gay people on Facebook and in the press are representative. It was a shabby, lazy, cliche ridden 70’s throwback. It would have been awful enough with unknowns in it. To have wasted the talents of De La Tour, Jacobi and McKellen made it somehow even worse. I can’t imagine why they agreed to be in it. Surely the must have read the script and thought, as most of the viewers did, “this isn’t funny”. And the Frances De La Tour rape “joke” was turly horrible.

    1. GingerlyColors 1 May 2013, 9:14am

      Maybe 1970’s style, but you got to remember that most of our classic comedy shows come from the 1970’s. George & Mildred, Man About The House, Dad’s Army, The Good Life and Rising Damp are just a few of the examples. Then there is Last Of The Summer Wine that debuted in 1972 and ran for 38 years. And don’t forget Are You Being Served with Mr. Humphreys, one of the first gay characters to feature on British television.

      1. Yes, but few things date as rapidly as sitcom humour, especially when underpinned by laughter (canned or otherwise). Rising Damp, for instance, is pretty much unwatchable now, even with the gloss of nostalgia.

        Also, the finest of their genre are (obviously) not particularly representative of the genre itself – I seriously doubt Vicious will ever be seen as anything other than stale and third-rate. I also doubt, judging from the first episode, it’d bear repeated watching, unlike most of Frasier, for example.

        1. Spanner1960 2 May 2013, 1:01am

          I totally disagree. “Rising Damp” still stands up because of brilliant writing, direction and acting. It was chaply made and had virtually only the one set, but I think it still remains sharp and funny. When compared to some of the deplorable dogshite made now, such as “Mrs Brown’s Boys”, I would much rather have a good cackle at Rigsby & co.

          1. Fair enough. For myself I find Rising Damp distressingly predictable, though that may be precisely because I found it very funny as a teenager.

  31. stereotype 1970s insulting humour. Was it written by Nigel Farage by any chance?

    1. Spanner1960 2 May 2013, 1:04am

      They are bringing back “Love Thy Neighbour” with Jim Davidson, featuring Archbishop Desmond Tutu living one side and Julian Clary on the other.

  32. Michael 2912 1 May 2013, 9:11am

    I’m surprised that the 3 previous comments have been marked down. This programme was just awful. My advice: don’t watch it again. I’m with Iris Murdoch where TV’s concerned generally. Much of it reduces to a parade of senseless images. Yes, I know that towards the end of her life when Dr Alzheimer had taken control, she sought refuge in the Teletubbies but even that was better than vicious.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly with you about Vicious, but not about TV generally – after all, Frasier was on TV too. Far too many people make a sweeping judgment about TV, condemning it in its entirety because of its worst output, in a way they never would about other media – I don’t hear people saying all fiction is dire just because airport novels and Dan Brown are the most popular purchases.

      1. Michael 2912 1 May 2013, 6:39pm

        Steady – I didn’t quite condemn all of it and all too often i hear folks damn fiction on the basis that it’s just “made up rubbish”. I have a TV and I do watch it but maintain the view that it’s output is generally poor. I’m fortified in my view when I hear television programme makers say (and this is true) that they don’t watch much TV themselves in a way that can only be described as sneering.

        1. Goodness – all fictions, including Dickens, Austen, Trollope, Hemingway etc etc etc? That’s something I’ve never heard myself!

          The statistical majority of most things, from music to food to architecture to theatre, is generally poor or trite – which is a good argument to use if people sneer about TV.

          1. Michael 2912 2 May 2013, 5:30pm

            I have indeed heard it – from some rather odd people admittedly – but there you go.

  33. GingerlyColors 1 May 2013, 9:15am

    Just been watching Monday night’s episode on video. I enjoyed the show, shame about Ash being straight!

  34. George Broadhead 1 May 2013, 10:54am

    By coincidence I am in an equally long term partnership and used to enjoy the camp goings-on of the likes of John Inman, Larry Grayson, Kenneth Williams and Dick Emery but I found the incessant bitchiness and dreadful script of this sitcom hard to take. What a pity to see one of my favourite comedy actresses Frances de la Tour (of Rising Damp fame) in such a disaster!

  35. LeadFulcrum 1 May 2013, 11:36am

    I was there in the audience for the recording, but found I was laughing harder when watching it on tv. Canned laughter btw? It was a live studio recording, the laughs are actual reactions to the situations, not just dubbed in. As a 26 year old, it is genuinely nice to see a different generation of the gay community being portrayed on television, it is never something me or my partner have lived through or even know about aside from references in popular culture.

  36. mikeysussex 1 May 2013, 12:59pm

    It was awful and have set us back 20 years. Two old queens leering at a young straight guy with a faghag on the side. Surprising was McKellan, de la Tour and even Jacobi will do for a quick buck. Not in my name.

  37. I’ve just watched it and felt that the lead characters reminded me very much of ageing theatrical queens I have known.

    The only way they could make the characters more true to live, IMO, would be to have them played by real queer actors.

    1. In what way are McKellen and Jacobi not real queer actors?

      1. Harlequin 2 May 2013, 2:55pm

        You mean they’re actually really ageing theatrical pooves in real life? Did the producers know this before casting them? Perhaps the actors think that if they camp it up so realistically nobody will ever guess the truth.

        (N.B.1: Yes, I was attempting to make a point via a twisted form of humour).

        (N.B.2: Perhaps it might have been slightly clearer had I not mistyped ‘true to life’).

  38. Must be said, it was the FIRST episode. The real clincher will come on episode 2! You need to see how many of those who originally watched it will return!

    If you get the same or more..Then you can scream success!

    1. GingerlyColors 2 May 2013, 6:30am

      The first episode usually gets the most viewers. Many people will watch it then decide that it is not their cup of tea so next week’s episode will have fewer viewers although I am looking forward to it.

  39. Given that the comments and “arguments” against homosexuality mirror the comments and “arguments” against black-white marriages and sex, we can look at the early movies, etc., which depict blacks as stereotypes in the same way. Those early black stars defended themselves by saying that *anything* that helped them to be shown in movies with whites helped their cause… and history has shown them to be right.

  40. I watched it last night. 10minutes in was more than enuff!! It was so embarassing and degrading to have this sort of stereotype as comedy in the 21st century. and the canned laughter was just appalling. there were discernable nano seconds where both these actors were as it appeared timing their lines with the fake laughter. this program reinforces every stereotype about bitchiness and self loathing. it made my skin crawl to watch the little i saw apart from the straight jacketed acting that both these men were press ganged into to get a laugh.if this is ‘having arrived’ where gay is now mainstreamed im sorry because being gay and the rich diversity of the gay community is a helluva lot more than this represents.

  41. It was beyond dreadful and cringingly terrible….how could these two amazing actors stoop so low as to play in this pathetic rubbish. I also found it demeaning, patronising and an extremely bad image of gay men who have been together for 50 years. I sincerely hope that one series is enough and if these two knights feel they have to camp up then go into pantomime….I have seen Sir Ian as Lady Bracknell and that was as equally pathetic…..

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