I’m not sure if I was just in a crabby mood that day, or if I was otherwise distracted, but the award-winning series just didn’t do it for me. And then I sat through Tuesday’s press tour session with the show’s writer/co-stars, and I completely changed my mind.
Well, not completely; I haven’t put the show back in the DVD player yet and formed a complete opinion of it. But after listening to Ruth Jones and James Corden, who created the show and play supporting roles, I really want to give it a second look.
That’s the kind of thing press tour can do: Generally speaking, when creators and actors can speak engagingly and amusingly about their shows, the product they’re putting out tends to be engaging and amusing. The opposite holds true too — if the people involved in a show don’t present a cogent vision of what comes after the pilot, it can create a sense among the dozens of critics in the room that a show is doomed.
(The textbook recent example of a press tour flameout is FOX’s Vanished. The show seemed to have some generally positive buzz after we watched the pilot, but completely unraveled after is creator was defensive and patronizing during the press tour session. I won’t presume that critics took the show down by themselves — killing off the main character six episodes in probably didn’t help — but I’m pretty sure the bad feelings coming out of that session didn’t help.)
But with Gavin & Stacey (which, by the way, NBC has acquired to remake, albeit without much input from the two creators), the opposite happened. Corden, Jones and castmate Matthew Horne were so charming that I want to re-evaluate the show. I mean, how can you not like a guy (Corden, in this case) who, in talking about his and Jones’ desire not to dilute the show by continuing for too many seasons, has this to say:
"You live in America. You’re used to people f***ing up your shows after six series. Hello, Lost, anyone?" (Yeah, season four was a bounce-back year for Lost, but his point is well-taken. After all, part of the reason why Lost found its footing again this year is because its writers know where the end point is.)
Gavin & Stacey, which is set to premiere in late August, follows the budding relationship between the title characters, a guy (Horne) from England who falls for a girl (Joanna Page) from Wales, and the family and friends — principally Corden as Gavin’s buddy Smithy and Jones as Stacey’s friend Nessa — who keep telling them getting together is a bad idea.
Who knows — I may get through the episodes BBC America sent out, and it still may not be my thing. Comedy, after all, is a pretty subjective thing. But if Jones and Corden are half as funny on paper and on screen as they were in person Tuesday, Gavin & Stacey should do all right.
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