Modern Loves 3: Squatters of the Heart

Crashing

Father Hank Hank: “Crashing”! Now here’s a good ol’ romantic comedy from our former oppressors! Perfect way to celebrate the 4th of July! The plot: Six young Brits decide to take over an abandoned hospital so as to pay as little rent as possible. (It’s like they can’t stop themselves from colonizing things!) In American hands, “young people stay at abandoned hospital” would immediately turn into an “Evil-Dead”-style nightmare featuring leprous bed-sheets on rusted-out hospital beds; zombie orderlies carrying strait-jackets; demon nurses wielding gigantic syringes; and quadruple amputees writhing on blood-splattered floors… But I suppose the British health-care system is in a good enough place that “young people stay at abandoned hospital” suggests “wacky love story” to them! “Crashing” was created and written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, best known in the U.S. for her role in the second season of “Broadchurch.” ( I’m sorry, “series,” as they call them over the pond.) Here, Waller-Bridge plays the care-free Lulu, who “crashes” into the life of her best friend Anthony (Damien Molony, from “Being Human.”) Anthony is engaged to uptight Kate, (Louise Ford), but any wise man who’s ever heard the word “rom-com” knows that Anthony and Lulu belong together. If only they would get over their “buddy buddy” banter and confess their true feelings to each other, before they wind up at the altar saying things like: “I, Ross, wed thee, Rachel. NO WAIT I MEANT EMILY!”

Tracey Tracey: Dad! Nice! This was an unusually progressive pick! The Lulu / Anthony / Kate situation may get a “predictable” diagnosis, but the fun here comes from Sam, (Jonathan Bailey, Phoebe’s “Broadchurch” co-star) as a bi-sexual dynamo who is mourning his father’s dead, while discovering his feelings for his friend Fred (Amit Shah). There is also the “situation” between French “artiste” Melody (Julie Dray), whose particular kink involves older losers, like recently divorced shlub Colin (Adrian Scarborough.) Laughter everywhere you turn! I almost wished I was a squatter in those crazy unsupervised hospital halls, far from the oppressive oversight of (pa)rental authorities!

Cousin Franz Cousin Franz: I’m less enthusiastic than Tracey, because a lot- if not MOST- of the situations in this hospital-set Britcom were already cliches back when Hippocrates had his practice. But whether individual story-lines click or not, the level of energy on display is high enough that while I wasn’t on stitches, at no point did I slip into a coma of boredom.

crashing3

Grandpa Felicius Grandpa Felicius: Whenever anyone feels tempted to categorize British humor as “too dry or sophisticated,” I will be sure to refer them to the episode of “Crashing” in which the young man encourages his lovely fiancee to fart in their conjugal bed as a sign of agreeable intimacy, and then she proceeds to loudly- and wetly- excrete off the side of the bed. How aristocratic of them. I believe the scene alludes directly to a parallel moment in George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion.”

Trent Trent: Oh yeah!!! So much sharting!!! You’re right, Grandpa Felicius, that scene WAS awesome!!! CHERRY!!!

Grandpa Felicius Grandpa Felicius: I see I have to clarify for the less-perceptive among us. That scene was NOT awesome. I was being as sarcastic as this show is sophomoric. NO CHERRY. They should be ashamed.

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Beatricia Beatricia: Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a celebrated playwright, and admirably prolific; just last year she made “Crashing” AND the better-received “Fleabag”; next, she will get to be in that Han-Solo-oriented movie, making her a lucky gal. Oh, to be close to the glow of Han Solo’s majestically humming light-saber! And this is why it saddens to me say that this show confuses free-flowing vulgarity with actual jokes. There’s only so many times the word “tosser” can be tossed around before sane grown-ups mute the TV set.

Blurbarella Blurbarella: “Young Brits– Can’t stop themselves.– They– Wind Up At– The –Hospital– For– Oppressive–Sharting.”

3 out of 6 Cherries

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