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Brian Sewell attacks ITV’s Vicious as ‘spiteful parody’ with audience down by 2 million

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  1. Sewell would know all about being spiteful wouldn’t he.

    I actually thought that the second episode was better than the first and there is space for improvement.

    I think what we need to remember about this show is that there are older guys out there who are like the characters in the show. I used to work in a gay pub in North London where a lot of the clientele were like Freddy & Stuart.

    1. I might give it another try then. I couldn’t watch more than about 10 minutes of the first episode without cringing, but more because the caricatured stereotypes (and many other elements of the show) came across as shallow, boring, cookie cutter 90s style sitcom than intentionally malevolent. I was quite disappointed, given the talent of the actors involved.

  2. I’m the very sensitive about the Media portrayal of LGBT people and I kind of like “Vicious.”
    Vicious is the story of two men who rally love each other. Maybe that’s why Sewell doesn’t like it.
    Sorry for my English.

  3. Never seen the programme but laughing at the irony of Brian Sewell commenting on something reminding him of a less progressive period for gay people

    1. I remember a dinner party I went to many, many years ago at which Sewell was also in attendance – far from the 3 second ‘get her’, we were treated to a full three hours of it from him. That was, though, a long time ago.

      However, notwithstanding the enormous irony, I for once find myself agreeing with Sewell. We have moved on, as has our sense of humour.

  4. If people are entertained by old-fashioned stereotypical comedy, that’s fine, but I’m not quite sure why Ian Mckellen and Derek Jacobi are the ones doing it.

    I would have liked a sitcom where the leading characters just HAPPEN to be gay for once… where the comedy derives from something else, not the fact that they are gay.

    We’ve had quite a few shows and movies where the main characters are gay, but the focus is always their homosexuality. Isn’t it also time for a show where the sexuality of the character is mostly an irrelevance?

    1. I don’t think the focus is their homosexuality. They are an old grumpy (but loving) couple who just happen to be gay.

      1. The focus in the first episode (I haven’t seen the 2nd yet) was very much their sexuality. They also spent the entire show trying to guess the sexuality of the man upstairs, which as Sewell says, belongs to an era where, “homosexuality was so much against the law that a man could not even ask the question of another man”. To be honest I think that was part of the joke, the punchline being the end of the show when the guy turns round and says “I’m straight by the way”. They seem to be two old men who are trapped in that era and therein lies the humour, however it requires that the audience understands the joke and isn’t also trapped in that mindset. If the audience doesn’t get the joke then the show will just reinforce prejudice.

        It would be nice to see a TV show where characters are just gay and funny and not funny because they’re gay.

        1. I just watched the second episode, it didn’t focus as much on sexuality and stereotypes and was a lot funnier than the first. I think they would have been better to scrap the pilot episode and begin with this one.

          I think those who really hated it last week should give it another go and forget the first episode.

    2. Try reading Michael Sutherland’s novel Invisible Monsters then. Now there’s a book that will make you laugh out loud without needing to refer to anything gay.The word gay, or any derivative of it, does not appear anywhere in it. . And being gay isn’t the central issue either. In fact, it isn’t made an issue of throughout the entire novel. The couple central to the story just are and that’s it.

      1. Forgot to add, Invisible Monsters also has lesbians in it, as well as transvestites and transsexuals. And none of these things is made an issue of in the novel either..They’re all just treated for what they are for a change – human beings.

      2. That’s your example of fair representation of LGBT people in the media, really?

        1. The monsters in the title of the book Invisible Monsters do not refer to the LGBT characters in the novel at all. The LGBT characters are the only ones in the story who are not the monsters.

  5. I like it, and I love the two female characters . I think it’s getting better each week.

    1. Steady on! “Getting better each week”? It’s only been on TWICE!

  6. I’ve always though Sewell rather pompous, but I have to say that it appears that his review of “Vicious” in the Evening Standard is right on the mark!

    And I’ve had a number of emails from friends over the last week saying much the same sort of thing that Sewell has said.

  7. If only Mr Sewell habitually showed the same level of community solidarity.

    On 16 March 2012, he wrote in the Standard, ” I am as queer as any of them but I do not much care for my brethren in crass, demanding mood. By all means dress in ridiculous togs, exchange rings and kisses, guzzle Laurent Perrier, bake a cake and dance the night away, but call it a wedding, an Old English term of even older German origin, with nothing theological about it — and leave marriage to those who still believe in its sanctity.”

    When he now writes “ageing homosexuals who were… art critics do not behave like pantomime dames at an audition, are not an endless source of venomous barbs, are not constantly falling into limp-wristed attitudes and are not all too ready to huff and puff in pretended hurt” I do wonder if he owns a mirror.

    Vicious is a young programme, which may learn from its mistakes. What’s Mr Sewell’s excuse?

    1. I am part of the LGBT Community and I very much like the show, with it’s simple sets and simple characters. Yes it looks old fashioned and stereotypical but in a way, it’s fun and I have to say I am looking forward to see how the characters progress. Critics have their opinions, but the best critic is ourselves. Don’t let some art critic who does nothing better than complain that ‘there’s too many gays on television’. How many hetro’s are there? To be totally honest there are more gays in real life than they portray in these poxy soaps. Find a hobby. When you get the guy at the Hairdressers to cut your hair, do you think is he Gay? Does that mean there are too many gays in hair dressing? Just a thought!!

  8. While I’m not the biggest fan of the show for similar reasons, I gape at Brian Sewell of all people complaining about it

    1. This was my reaction too, I laughed at the headline, but he did make some good points though

  9. Graham S. 7 May 2013, 4:30pm

    Does anyone actually care about Brian Sewell’s opinion? If you don’t like, don’t watch it!

  10. Ooh, get her!

  11. I suspect viewing figures were lowers because (a) it was a Bank Holiday when people do other stuff than watch TV … and the weather was beautiful.

    1. Suddenly Last Bummer 7 May 2013, 6:16pm

      And the show is crap, don’t forget that fact.

  12. I am part of the LGBT Community and I very much like the show, with it’s simple sets and simple characters. Yes it looks old fashioned and stereotypical but in a way, it’s fun and I have to say I am looking forward to see how the characters progress. Critics have their opinions, but the best critic is ourselves. Don’t let some art critic who does nothing better than complain that ‘there’s too many gays on television’. How many hetro’s are there? To be totally honest there are more gays in real life than they portray in these poxy soaps. Find a hobby. When you get the guy at the Hairdressers to cut your hair, do you think is he Gay? Does that mean there are too many gays in hair dressing? Just a thought!!

    1. E. Manhattan 8 May 2013, 9:08pm

      If you are “part of the LGBT Community” I don’t think you can possibly understand Sewell’s commentary. The world he is talking about is the gay men’s world from the middle of the 20th century – and that has almost nothing to do with “the LGBT community”, a political construct from the end of the last century. All the individual words in his commentary undoubtedly make sense to you, but you do not have the experience of being a gay man fifty years ago, so the sense you make of the words is not at all what he is saying.

      It’s nice that you enjoy Vicious – but your enjoyment of it is based on a totally different view of the world, a totally different set of experiences from Sewell’s. I’m twenty years younger than him, but I am old enough to have the experiential references to understand what he is saying – and since I see the same things in it he does, I agree with him.

  13. Lion in Winter 7 May 2013, 5:05pm

    This from someone who smells like old tuna for one reason or another…

  14. I thought he was in the show…twice.

    It’s sometimes uncomfortable to look in a mirror and see oneself as other see us Brian!

  15. Normally I would ingonore a comment like this, but you have started to invade this site on a regular basis. The effort and time you spend here to try to tell us something that has been said so many times, that it has become beyond meaning, depth , vision , opinion and worth. We are immune to it now. It really is water off a ducks back, and says far more about you then ANYTHING you can say about us. But I can tell, that you are alone, unloved, unwanted and unliked. OH and a closeted self loathing HOMOSEXUAL, Come out , see the light and embrace the gay. Its fun!

  16. Oi – sin and filth, you forgot m*nge lickers. A*shole.

  17. Aunty Batty Betty 7 May 2013, 5:26pm

    I also felt it improved. Trouble is people will just base it on the first showing more than not. I enjoyed it. I also know characters like those tow guys.

    1. Aunty Batty Betty 7 May 2013, 5:26pm


  18. This is there is truth in all stereotypes, and I think we’ve all met men like this…sometimes the mirror shows an uncomfortable reflection..

  19. Camp old men aren’t PC it seems.

    1. Suddenly Last Bummer 7 May 2013, 6:17pm

      They’re not funny either.

  20. I was shocked ITV had this! Of all channels (well I suppose Five).

    It was really rather clever, the odd gay kiss, the straight charator saying he really liked the relationship the gay couple had and he wanted something like that one day. This is the trojan rainbow horse people!

    1. Suddenly Last Bummer 7 May 2013, 6:18pm

      Oh yeah Mithos, for sure. It was like watching a Benetton advert…. ;)

  21. Suddenly Last Bummer 7 May 2013, 6:14pm

    “Created by Will & Grace” writer. Well there you have it, stereotypes and cliches and very little else apart from canned laughter.

    1. …and the Will & Grace writer didn’t even include a Jack & Karen for us…just Frances de la Tour rehashing the character she played in Rising Damp in her youth…

  22. It was bland and not very funny and the title is as much of a misnomer as you can get. There again, it wasn’t obnoxiously unfunny and obvious the way the Job Lot was. Still, the former seems to be getting lot more stick from critics and fewer viewers. Shame.

    1. I liked the job lot although it seemed uncomfortably close to the bone

  23. Calm down, Keith my precious, you’re starting to froth again. Deep breaths, sweetie, deep breaths…

  24. I don’t often find myself in agreement with Sewell, but in this instance I agree with him 100%. Vicious is inexcusable.

  25. I hate the show, it’s its cringing, patronising, and portrays gays as pervy old men, we’re not all like this and it only helps to add to the negativity already being used against homosexuals. After reading the comments in this news feed it makes me realise even more that I’m very isolated in this “gay community” someone coined in an earlier, which does seem to be very divided with the “majority” who seem to think they’re right, and the “others” who seem to be portrayed as the nasty gays who don’t deserve to be gay. Gah..

    1. Harlequin 8 May 2013, 1:21am

      The characters are not meant to portraying every homosexual man on the planet; they are themselves and bear strong similarities to many people I and other readers have known. The time for only-ever-positive squeaky clean representations of gay characters on television was over last century and I was being sickened by it then.

  26. Spanner1960 8 May 2013, 12:13am

    I find it rather amusing that this pretentious old queen actually thinks it doesn’t match up to real life.

    Maybe he should check the mirror a little more often. The only difference is he has all the humour of a dose of the clap.

  27. Harlequin 8 May 2013, 1:23am

    Let him now and forever be remembered as Brian “Stuart” Sewell.

  28. It’s a turkey.

  29. I thought it was hysterical.

  30. I assumed Jacobi had based his entire character in Vicious on Sewell – after all he is one very public self loathing old queen!

    1. The difference is that Jacobi’s character does not appear to be as self-loathing as Stuart Sewell.

  31. Well there you go a bitter old queen who has more in common with a church of England vicar than he has with most gay men, too many gays in soaps my aunt fanny.
    While not the funniest sitcom i have seen it was nothing to get up in arms about, it is a comedy written by gay men and staring gay men and far from finding it offensive i found it quite endearing. And as to some of the comments about them trying to guess the sexuality of the young guy who moved in, they should record themselves talking to their friends or partners i would lay odds they would hear the same sort of things being said by themselves. When did we all become so bloody mainstream that a bit of harmless camp comedy offended us so much?

  32. a mere critic…if people take notice more fool them!

  33. I thought it was old bitchy stereotyping , it could have been written for tv in the 70’s! It’s has no comic value for 2013. I don’t think its written well. I like the actors in general but the script is rubbish.

  34. Colin (London) 8 May 2013, 1:42pm

    Have you ever thought ITV did this to test the waters… Better than the BBC.

    The grey vote has the floor. By parodying (spelling) two old loveable gits it’s Britain haveing a swipe at itself… Good old intellectual play.

    It’s been missing for too long… You need a brain to get it and the youth of today bright but don’t get it. they need it explained to them.

    Each to their own eh..lol

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