Friday, December 30, 2011

Black Books

So I'm on my vacation from work. Usually on my vacations I tend to veg out, gorge on a little sleep, do a little writing, catch up on tv shows.

And one show, I'm delighted to say, has caught my attention. It's called Black Books. It stars Dylan Moran, Simon Peg's nemesis in Shaun of the Dead and also his fitness motivator in Run, Fatboy, Run. With him is a long haired sidekick who embodies a weirdo Curly sensibility and a short haired woman on the lookout for Mr. Right or even Mr. Right-now-will-have-to-do. This British comedy series is unlike anything I have seen so far. It takes place in a small bookshop where Bernard Black, the owner, is much like a tyrant to his customers. He hates life, traffic, idiots, skinheads, books, customers and people. People are the worst for him. Not only that but he gives off the air like he's always recovering from a bender. His turns of phrase and one-liners are the best, often producing stomach aches of laughter from both me and my wife.

The show ran from 2000 to 2004 and only has 18 episodes. Which is kind of tragic when you think about it that there are so few episodes but, I guess, when you nail it down, it was better that they quit on a strong note. The show is driven largely by his friends, Manny and Fran, who try to get Bernard to be more sociable as he is kind of a stick in the mud.

The antics are endless. Sometimes he pays the customers to take certain books out of the shop. He invents a wine bottle lollipop. He often finds himself in situations that get him into a bit of trouble. With a screwball comedy like this, I love the duality. While Bernard is surrounded and sometimes confounded by books, his friend, Manny, loves them. Manny often recommends books, handles book orders, does the accounting, opens up shop, and yet he and Bernard are complete opposites from each other. It's funny to think that this whole show came about because of a Little Book of Calm.

That's another thing. The fake book titles are hysterical. With titles such as The History of Screaming, Blue Sands and Tempopocalypse, how could this bookstore not thrive?

Now that I know about this one, I might just check out Spaced, which is considered the sister show to this one and done by the same guys, starring Simon Peg.

Don't believe that a show could be this funny? Well take a gander at the first episode below. I was smitten with the first three minutes.

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