The problem with Everyone Else Burns is not the basic idea
Everyone Else Burns; Review. There’s comedy. There’s ‘dramedy’ and then there’s Everyone Else Burns. Strangely enough it is watchable but the script by Dillon Mapletoft and Oliver Taylor is not really funny enough for you to feel that you’ve watched a comedy.
Having seen Simon Bird in three previous comedies (Inbetweeners, FND and Sandylands), shall we say he doesn’t have the widest acting range. He is always Simon Bird. His mannerisms and speech vary little even if his hairstyle does. In later life he will be happy to have had such a youthful appearance that has allowed him to play teenagers in his thirties but unfortunately he in no way looks or acts old enough to have teenage children himself. Bird has gone on record as saying that he now prefers to be behind the camera than in front of it. Wise words if this is the best script he’s been offered.
As the patriarch of the Lewis family, Simon, sorry I mean David, is a religious zealot who rules over his family much like an ayatollah. A devout member of the Order of The Divine Rod which believes that God will destroy mankind any day now he makes the family practice their escape from Sodom and Gomorrah on a weekly basis. He is an unlikeable character. Fiona (Kate O’Flynn) his wife of 17 years, obeys him and his wishes as do their two children Rachel (Amy James-Kelly) and Aaron (Harry Connor) although as sex seems to be a mortal sin, how they had the children is a mystery, as physical contact, apart from hugging an Elder, seems to be taboo in the sect.
Then within the space of two episodes Fiona becomes an online entrepreneur, Rachel becomes a normal(ish) seventeen year-old and Aaron, who at about 11 or 12 years of age (going on 40) has more artistic talent than Michelangelo, loses faith in his father. By episode six (if you get that far) we have David trying and failing to be more romantic: Fiona and Rachel boomerang from their brief freedom from the sect to being back into the fold and young Aaron looking increasingly like he is destined to become the leader of the cult.
The problem with Everyone Else Burns is not the basic idea; it’s not the cast, they each play their given roles well. The problem lies with the script. It’s clever but just not funny enough. It’s vaguely amusing in very small doses. As is often the case Lolly Adefobe delivers the best lines closely followed by Morgana Robinson.
There are one or two good lines but so few and far between that revealing them would be spoiling the few opportunities to laugh.
There are also too many anomalies. For instance, authoritarian David bans television from the house yet Fiona has a laptop on which she creates an online shop within hours; Rachel has never been allowed to own nor use a mobile phone yet when given a spare by her wannabe boyfriend operates it without a moment’s hesitation; David manages to destroy a £5000 designer glass top coffee table by putting a bone-china antique teacup on it (so predictable that it’s not a spoiler). And why oh why do writers create scenes in which actors smoke when they are clearly non-smokers.
The series has been left with the thread for a second series. The bones are there but it will need a lot tighter writing to add the flesh that turns this from an amusing watch to a true comedy.