The New Claustrophobia

Has anyone else noticed the narrowing confines of the BBC’s latest sit coms? First of all I saw Simon Amstell’s excellent (if sometimes patchy and cringe-worthy) family-based piece called ‘Grandma’s House’. The characters incessently wind one another up and this is what makes it work so well. Although insular, other external characters can intrude and even sometimes stray into the front garden of the house. They never do make the ‘Pottery Barn’, though.

The second of these is ‘Roger and Val Have Just Got In’. Dry and touching, this look at relationships and people, and more, is stuck very much in the domestic space and domestic sadness itself. Apparently commentators are comparing the writing with Beckett. I am not so sure. But the peculiar stasis makes watching compelling.

My final example is in the grubby ‘Him and Her’. Again, from a different viewpoint and tone totally, the main characters reside together in idle activity, but one cannot help but like them. The developing series shall reveal more, or go downhill…

What is this new theatre of the domestic to do with? Yes, we’ve always had them from the UK but such a speight in one go must reflect, express or perpetuate some mood. More of us at home, saving the pennies in a pre-cuts austerity? Most likely. But why do we want to watch it on our screens? Have horizons narrowed to such an extent that even to exclude the local shop or ;pub is no longer sit com fodder? I shall watch more examples in anticipation…and hope that comedy as brilliant can keep on coming even if the main characters never need take off their slippers and venture into the outside world.


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