Friday Night Dinner: Season 2
If you’ve never seen Friday Night Dinner before, lucky you: you are in for a treat.
Robert Popper’s sitcom has a laughably simple premise. A middle aged married Jewish couple Martin and Jackie Goodman (Paul Ritter and sitcom veteran Tamsin Greig) are joined every Friday evening for dinner by their two twentysomething sons Adam and Jonny (Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal).
That’s really all there is to it. And it’s hilarious.
Much of the humour comes from the silliness of the two sons who in the first episode find themselves engaged in a virtual house civil war over Adam’s childhood toy bunny “Buggy”. The duo later engage in a further feud when it emerges Jonny is having an affair with an older woman at his work.
Yet juvenile though they are, the Goodman sons are at least still on Planet Earth. The funniest characters are the eccentrics notably Paul Ritter’s Dad. Occasionally deaf, incapable of keeping his shirt on for an entire episode, prone to hiding in his shed or telling poor jokes (“a lovely bit of squirrel, love!”) and often seemingly oblivious to hygiene or indeed any external events, he is a brilliant comic creation.
The same could also be said of the Goodmans’ truly bonkers next door neighbour, Jim, played splendidly in ludicrously large glasses by Mark Heap. Perpetually turning up at the door during dinner, partly to angle for some food himself, partly because he is clearly besotted with family matriarch Jackie (Greig), Jim is always accompanied by his dog Wilson, who he actually appears to be terrified of. Heap is every bit as great in this role as he was as the artist/loner Brian in Spaced or indeed the sexually frustrated Doctor Adam Statham in Green Wing.
And that’s just the main cast. Support comes from “Horrible Grandma” (who insists on bringing her own turkey in a bag on attending Christmas Dinner), “Auntie” Val, Nan and her truly terrifying octogenarian boyfriend Mr. Morris, a man obsessed with “slanderers” and prone to pulling light fittings out of the wall during his frequent fits of rage.
A truly classic comedy, this has taken its time getting to DVD (it was first shown nearly two years’ ago). The third series was broadcast on Channel 4 just this summer. It cannot come to DVD soon enough.
Six episodes plus the 2012 Christmas Special
Series 1 Recap (not really necessary and won’t really fill you in if you’ve forgotten or not seen the first series.
Behind the Scenes with Cast and Crew Featurette