If you want to watch a cast of accomplished actors talk drivel for half an hour, watch Stath Lets Flats.
The reaction of many reviewers suggest that it is the “funniest thing on TV in a long time”; the “antidote to bland comedy”, “rip-roaringly funny” and “the funniest and most novel comedy currently on British TV “ But to misquote Newton’s Third Law of motion. For every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Stath Lets Flats is not the funniest thing on television.
To quote one of its horde of fans, reviewer Isobel Lewis in The Independent “It’s silly, ludicrous and nonsensical – but a preference for word play and slapstick doesn’t mean the show lacks heart. Its characters may be idiots (every single one of them, no exceptions), but they’re well-meaning, expertly performed and treated with warmth by Demetriou’s script – even when speaking absolute rubbish.”
There are exceptions: Dean (Kiell Smith-Bynoe) is one of the sane characters, who counters the imbalance of idiots as is Carole (Katy Wix), although she could be considered an idiot for having a one night stand with Stath.
It’s a sitcom that has been intellectualised beyond its essence in order to justify the hype. The whole premise of this show is that an inept, socially awkward character mispronouncing every other word and misquoting phrases is rip-roaringly funny. It isn’t. It might make a good sketch (àla The Two Ronnies Society for the Premention of Pispronunciation piece) but the novelty soon wears thin. It does not sustain a sitcom series, let alone three. Stath saying that he wants to go “park-time” instead of part-time or calling landlords “langlords” is apparently hilarious.
Laughing at someone acting idiotically is one thing, laughing at an unfortunate idiot is another. Stath is an unfortunate idiot.
It will be interesting to see if the novelty has worn off for the half million or so viewers who watched the previous two series or whether their loyalty has lingered on. As this is a love it or hate it sitcom, it’s probably the latter.
The current crop of comedies such as After Life, Alma’s Not Normal, Back to Life, Lady Parts and Starstruck set a very high standard: what on earth is bland about those. Some reviewers have criticised these shows as being dramedies, being dark, being autobiographical, of just being ‘words’ (whatever that means). What utter nonsense. They are brilliantly written and performed.
Of course there is a place for all kinds of comedy even Stath’s pispronunciation and malapropisms but the funniest thing on television”? Not by a very long chart (geddit?)