If you have seen Shaun of the Dead and thought it's the best thing since sliced bread, then get this boxset, period. Don't even bother reading the, from now on less poetic, review. The reason being - Shaun of the Dead was written and directed by the same crew as Spaced and both share the same humour and pacing. For those who haven't seen Shaun of the Dead, read on.
Simon Pegg plays Tim Bisley, aspiring comic artist, who is dumped by his girlfriend. Needing to find somewhere to live, he stumbles across Daisy Steiner (Jessica Stevenson), who is in a similar situation. By chance they find an ad for a suitably cheap flat, but it is only for couples. Tim and Daisy decide to pose as a couple in order to secure the flat, and therefore a roof over their heads. What they don't expect are the utterly weird, way off the map, characters that live there.
Spaced is one of the funniest sitcoms, ever. Perhaps it is because I am from the precise timeframe the characters in the sitcom are from and have similar interests, but everything about Spaced feels spot on. From Playstation videogame culture to the rave scenes (played to the A-Team theme, no less) to Tim's thoughts about The Timewarp: “It's boil-in-the-bag perversion for sexually repressed accountants and first year drama students with too many Betty Blue, the Blues Brothers, Big Blue and blue velvet on their blue bloody walls!”. See? Absolutely spot on.
What isn't obvious from any description of Spaced is the cine-aware nature of the series. Sometimes this is very open, like Tim making the Close Encounters potato mountain, a Saving Private Ryan shaking hand or almost continual Star Wars references. The scene where Tim shouts at a kid because he wants a Jar Jar Binks figure is hilarious (and also completely right). Other movie references are more subtle but all are totally absorbed into the comedy of the moment and never seem gratuitous, even if they are. For a movie and AV fan, Spaced is about as perfect a sitcom as can be imagined. For others, the very high quality scripts will make you laugh out loud even if you don't get all the pop culture references.
Speaking of scripts, Spaced doesn't have that forced sitcom, “look at me because the line I am saying is, like, (pause for effect) totally funny!?”, dialogue structure as adopted by Friends. No, Spaced has a tempo, a rhythm, a natural sense of occasion that means even if the humour doesn't hit home, the quality acting and script eases you along all the same. Everything just feels so well knitted together you can't help but feel that you have experienced life like that in Spaced.
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