Let’s face it, you’ve been consumed by Game of Thrones for the past five weeks, to say nothing of the ten years you’ve dedicated to the series. Regardless of your feeling towards last night’s episode, you’ve be left with some new found free time. But what are you going to do with that dragon shaped hole in your schedule? You could go for a walk, find a new hobby or finally master that whole meditation thing, but why leave the couch? Why not let the metaphorical palate cleanser come to you? And may I suggest Gavin & Stacey. It is light. It is fun. It is exactly what you need.
The year is 2007. After weeks of long-distance flirting, Stacey West of Barry Island, Wales and Gavin Shipman of Essex decide it’s time to finally meet face-to-face. The show follows the ups and downs of Gavin and Stacey’s young relationship, but it is their quirky but lovable, and intensely loyal, families and friends who steal the show. Gavin & Stacey is firmly rooted in the late 2000s and feels simpler and nostalgically homey with its flip phones, neon tops and tracksuits. For the American viewer, the heavy Welsh accents may be off-putting at first but you’ll soon grow to love it. Characters like Stacey’s excitable uncle, Bryn and her hard-living friend, Nessa will endear themselves to you. Nessa, played by Ruth Jones, who co-wrote the series with James Cordon is particularly memorable. Likely intended as a foil for Stacey, who exists somewhere along the manic pixie dream girl spectrum, Nessa is deeper. Behind her intimidating black bob, goth clothing, and Welsh dragon tattoo, there is warmth and devotion.
The rhythm of Gavin & Stacey puts the show on par with many of the best sitcoms. There’s a cozy predicability to each episode and it’s a testament to Ruth Jones and James Cordon’s skills as writers that they’ve been able to craft such a tight, character driven comedy. One of the brilliant ways they do this by giving each character his or her own vocabulary. Nessa draws you in with her perfectly delivered greeting, “what’s occurring” and dryly delivered life stories about her rock and roll past. The Essex bunch of Gavin, his best friend Smithy, and Gavin’s parents do the robot when they great each other. Simple moments, like these make you believe you’re watching a group of people who have known each other for twenty years.
Among a cast of brilliantly written and performed characters the American viewer will recognize a few familiar faces. James Cordon of Car Pool Karaoke fame plays Smithy, Gavin’s best friend, and co-wrote the show. You may recognize lead actress, Joanna Page from her role on Love Actually, or Julia Davis, who places Gavin’s family friend Dawn Sutcliffe, and who’s recent show Sally4Ever has been picked up by HBO.
If you’re in the mood to relax with a comedy that will deliver on laughs, Gavin & Stacey is a great choice. These days, every show seems to have an element of suspense, which can grow tiresome. Gavin & Stacey is exceptionally easy to watch and it’s refreshing to watch a show about a family, in which the disfunction is benignly comically, the stakes are manageable and no one dies. The thirty minute episodes are available on Amazon Prime and easily bingable.