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The Big Boys critique was incredibly hilarious, I laughed so hard I almost choked.
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The Big Boys critique was incredibly hilarious, I laughed so hard I almost choked.


In the year 2014, it was hailed as “the most LGBTQ+ friendly summer in British history.” The country was celebrating the first legal same-sex marriages and Conchita Wurst’s victory at Eurovision. However, for Jack, the protagonist of Big Boys, there was one major event that topped it all: Alison Hammond’s participation in Strictly Come Dancing.

It is uncommon for new British comedies to have the opportunity to establish themselves, but occasionally a sitcom emerges fully developed and guaranteed to be a hit. The initial season of Big Boys was one such gem, with its unique voice, distinct style, and most importantly, a significant amount of heart and emotion that made it stand out as something extraordinary.

Writer Jack Rooke’s loosely autobiographical show tells the story of “mummy’s boy” Jack (Derry Girls’ Dylan Llewellyn) becoming the first in his working-class family to go to university. When he arrives at Brent uni, he comes out, moves into a big blue shed, and becomes best friends with Danny (Jon Pointing, who, with roles in Murder Is Easy and Smothered, has had a very busy Christmas). The gay-straight alliance is mined for humour, but their utterly lovely relationship is the true heart of the show, as they help each other through various personal crises.

The second season of the show focuses more on the friendship group. This year, they plan to live with Corinne, who Jack compares to a popular Scottish mom known for calling her kids who love Cher Lloyd “disgusting”, and Yemi, a “student fashion icon and gay best friend” who is more developed this time around. In a later episode, we learn about Yemi’s source of income, which gives Olisa Odele a chance to shine. After spending the summer at Jack’s mom’s house, the stress of finding a student house to rent in 2014 causes tension between Jack and Danny. The search for a house makes even Stath Lets Flats’ properties seem like they are from the show Selling Sunset.

However, this is ultimately a comedy and the original group reunites at the end with minimal trouble. Cleverly, there is also a larger presence of Jack’s family, at least in the first episode before the school term begins. Cousin Shannon (played by Harriet Webb) is prominently featured as she receives life-altering information. I can only hope that it does not put her party planning business in jeopardy – the name of which was so perfectly mentioned in passing that I almost choked on my tea.

Rooke and Pointing’s comedic background is evident in the show, as it focuses on delivering jokes that have me bursting into laughter right from the start. Humor is subjective, so not everyone may have the same response, but revisiting Big Boys reminds me how infrequently I genuinely laugh while watching comedy. The show eventually becomes more physical with moments of slapstick, such as a scene in the pub restroom, and the energy only intensifies as it progresses. A mother’s offer of a kiss is hilariously turned down.

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However, there are also somber parts to the story. A quick reminisce about Danny’s youth, shedding light on his current struggles, is incredibly heartbreaking. It takes skill to seamlessly incorporate such a gut-wrenching interlude amidst jokes about Jeremy Clarkson books and sweet chilli sauce, but that only adds to its emotional impact. The theme of grief is also masterfully handled. Jack and his mother honor his late father’s 60th birthday with a visit to the local pub, a spread of finger foods, and a shady DJ named Keith.

The show is centered around the theme of love, specifically the relationship between Danny and Jack. While Danny and Corinne’s potential romance adds suspense, Jack’s unwavering love for his mother and grandmother is heartwarming. Despite their differences, Jack and Danny have a deep admiration for each other and learn from one another. It seems almost unfair to only focus on the humorous aspect of the show, as it also includes touching moments. Overall, Big Boys is a perfect balance of comedy and emotion, making it a deserving success.

Source: theguardian.com