Words: Gabriella Shimeld-Fenn
SYNOPSIS: "Sean and Beverly (Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig) are still reeling from the network's decision to cast Matt LeBlanc as the star of their show. However, when they meet him at a swanky LA dinner party at Merc's house, Matt couldn't be more charming or flattering about their show." (bbc.co.uk)
'Episode 2' of 'Episodes' picks up straight where we left off last week, with the bombshell of Matt LeBlanc’s involvement in the American version of their show being dropped on British writers Bev and Sean. They grudgingly agree to meet him over lunch, and it turns out that he doesn’t know who they are and what the show is about, much to Bev’s relief and Sean’s poorly-hidden disappointment. However, due to machinations by LeBlanc’s agent and the network he gets signed up anyway.
LeBlanc plays himself as charming but manipulative, though his attempts to win round Bev go spectacularly wrong in an extended joke about children with Tourette’s syndrome, which goes on a little too long for comfort. His casual misogyny and lack of empathy is very much at odds with his 'Friends' character Joey, and it is refreshing to see an American actor comfortable enough to portray an unflattering version of himself.
The humour in this series so far has been far more tragic-comic than expected (giving ego-maniac network executive Merc a blind wife was a stroke of genius) but saying that, my favourite moment this week had to be Bev’s closing rant at the gatekeeper of their residence – inspired filthy swearing worthy of Malcom Tucker from 'The Thick of It'.
Now that all the main players have been introduced, you wonder how more wrong it can go when they start the process of actually filming the show next week!
'Episodes' airs on Mondays at 10pm on BBC2. Watch 'Episode 2' until 22:59 Monday 28 Feb 2011. UK users only.