Video, video and more video. Everywhere I turn, it seems as if I’m queuing up some sort of moving image to watch. Whether it’s movies from my Netflix queue, downloaded video podcasts, iTunes purchased TV shows – I always feel as if I’m behind in catching up on watching media. My OCD kicks in immediately when I add a new piece of media to watch and it just makes me feel as if I’m losing ground. So, you can imagine my displeasure when a good friend of mine dropped an entire season’s worth of a DVD series on my desk. (It’s one thing to hit me with a movie – that I can knock out in a sitting or two. But a television series??) Luckily for me, it was a BBC series.
The Brits really know how to do some things incredibly well. Making a television series is one of those things. With The Office, they only gave us twelve episodes and a Christmas special and it was golden. Probably the funniest and most heartfelt media I’ve ever seen.
Something told me to pop in the Gavin and Stacey DVD. After all, like The Office, it was only a six-episode season with each episode only a half-hour long. I thought one night I’d watch the first one and then return it. I ended up watching the entire six episodes and kept it to see the director’s commentary. I proceeded to search for the Season 2 DVD and the Christmas Special (like The Office, they did a Christmas special as well, although not nearly as satisfying). After having caught up on the entire series, I am glad that I didn’t push it to the back of my queue. It has to be one of my favorite series of all time now.
What makes Gavin & Stacey such an incredible triumph is hard to explain in a single thought. But if I were forced to explain the one thing that drew me in is how colorful and well defined the characters are. Everyone is so animated and comical in their own way that it makes a half hour go by like ten minutes. These are people that you’d enjoy getting to know. While the plot for both seasons focuses on one main event (a birth and a wedding), these folks are so much fun to watch that you don’t really care much about how the plot is moving along.
OK, so just to give a tiny taste of the plot, two twentysomethings (Mathew Horne and Joanna Page) from very different parts of the U.K. have a chance meeting on the phone while at work and after several conversations, they decide to meet in person. Of course, from the title of the show you might be able to figure out that they embark on a relationship. I think one of the show’s creator/writers (and also one of the main cast members), Ruth Jones, explains it best. During an interview she mentioned that when a relationship happens, it’s more than just those two people who get together, but this series explores the interesting happenings when the people that they bring with them (their families and friends) begin to merge. And it’s that notion that this show explores so beautifully.