Sitting on the couch, a man in his fifties laughs as a couple in their late twenties tries to find themselves. He watches a guy, a gal, and a dog live in an apartment together. Said guy and gal are pretending to be an actual loving couple, so that they can live in said apartment. Guy wants desperately to write and draw comics of the X-men and Batman variety, maybe with a few zombies thrown in, and gal wants nothing more than to find a nice bloke and maybe a good time along the way. Guy comes with a best friend who takes his time in Rough Ramblers very seriously; girl comes with a self-absorbed fashionista wannabe, and the apartment building comes with a boozy, lonely, demanding landlady and a slightly mixed up artist. The fifty-plus year old man is hooked by the first episode and decides he must see all 14 episodes of the show’s run.
What in the nine circles of Hades is all the above about? Why, it’s Spaced! (And, my successful attempt to spread the wealth of humor and possible wisdom of the show.) Spaced is one of the fun and sometimes surreal comedies that combines Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright, the great combo seen in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Throw in the wit and humor of Jessica Hynes, who wrote Spaced along with Pegg, and viola, comedy is hatched.
The show does revolve around the lost or “spaced” characters, but it doesn’t simply poke fun or overly exploit those characters. Instead, each one is given heart and soul, exploring why he or she might be in the particular space at a particular time. The guy Tim (Pegg) and the gal Daisy (Hynes) are both trying to find a way to live on a limited budget as well as a limited love life; they want to find themselves and do so with a happy ending. To help the guy and gal along the way are the above mentioned friends, old and new, who bring their own faults, foibles, and follies. All of this with giggle and geek worthy pop cultural nods makes for great viewing.
Spaced works because it’s not so much real as it hints at reality and takes it that step further to humorous, sometimes painfully so, beyond. The show is amusing to all ages with its pop culture references, including a little Lara Croft gaming, zombies, and comics. But, it doesn’t lose an American audience in English culture as even Americans can find humor in a man who has to dress in an alien costume for his job, a woman who hasn’t quite discovered she’s no longer a teenager, and men who take paintball a little too seriously (example: a “death” scene the likes of which Copula and Spielberg could only dream, if they were doing a scene dealing with paintball). Sure, they are a little silly and ridiculous, but that’s the greatness of the show; the silly and ridiculous doesn’t completely lose the viewer because those people on the screen are people – they are searching for a love, a laugh, and a life that could make all the craziness worth it.The complete series is available here.