'Grandma's House' Series 2, Episode 2: 'The Day Simon Thought It May Be A Good Idea To Find New Living Arrangements' // Words: Saam Das
SYNOPSIS: "Sitcom. Simon tries to get a flat from Liz's husband, Barry, but first he must negotiate his personality." (bbc.co.uk)
The high drama of last week's series opener seems to have been largely forgotten, especially with the news of Simon's audition - to play Ariel in a theatre production of 'The Tempest'. Directed by our old friend/Simon's love obsession Ben Theodore. Yet this episode was rather consumed by the debut appearance of Barry (Vincent Franklin), who made his wife Liz (Samantha Spiro) appear shockingly palatable in contrast.
Despite Simon's mother Tanya (Rebecca Front) and Liz somewhat rebuilding their rocky relationship after last week's explosive argument, Barry's uneasy appearance disrupted familial relations again. Insufferable isn't a strong enough adjective to describe Barry, making the viewer surprisingly sympathetic to Liz's daily plight and more understanding of her own irritating behaviour. And perhaps explaining why Adam (Jamal Hadjkura) isn't quite...right.
Liz even appears more self-aware in the company of Barry, attempting to deflect conversation when it turns awkward. (Which is obviously quite frequently, as is the staple of 'Grandma's House'). Although she still struggles with her own humour, making a horrendous Barry Chuckle joke, which is thankfully frowned upon within the programme itself. As it was offensively unfunny, which is difficult to even conceive.
Similarly, Barry makes Clive (James Smith) look quite the catch in comparison, despite his terrifying seduction technique, and Clive comes into his own in the dramatical climax of 'The Day Simon Thought It May Be A Good Idea To Find New Living Arrangements'. Before that, however, we have Simon's persistent nagging about borrowing a flat from Barry as well as a whole host of unexpected references from June Sarpong to Liz dressing up as Uma Thurman's character from 'Kill Bill'.
The plot is generally something of a secondary aspect of 'Grandma's House', and once again, it is the character interactions and the golden lines of dialogue that come to the fore in this episode - Adam's offbeat comments being of particular delight. This series of 'Grandma's House' is fast becoming the best thing on British television. At the moment. A glorious meld of pop culture references, awkward dialogue and naturalistic acting. I could with slightly more manageable episode titles though. Slightly.
'The Day Simon Thought It May Be A Good Idea To Find New Living Arrangements' aired on 26th April. Watch on BBC iPlayer until 22:29, 31 May '12.