Monday, November 14, 2011

Two of best TV series I've ever seen

We discovered this Australian gem of a TV show on HuluPlus on our Roku:
It's about a library run by a panic attack prone semi racist/semi homophobic woman and her support staff. Frances O'Brien, played to perfection by my new comedy hero Robyn Butler, is one of those bosses who takes all the credit, none of the blame, and who has a tortuous relationship with almost everyone in her life, including her mother, her daughters (who we never see), her husband, her priest (she's a 'good Catholic'), and her support staff.
Under her 'guidance' the library, The Middleton Interactive Learning Centre, has it's ups and downs, mostly downs. Ex cons, old friends, dodgy patrons, kid vandals, a government minister who wants profits above all else, make life miserable for Frances and her crew.

Ms. Butler breathes so much humanity and life into what could be an otherwise awful character, her layered performance is a thing of beauty and such a pleasure to behold. She does the nearly impossible, she makes a totally unlikeable character loveable. This series was written by Ms. Butler and her husband Wayne Hope, who also plays her husband in the series. I can't say enough good things about this sweetly funny and knowing show. To me, it represents all the best of what TV has to offer, which is why you'll never ever see a show this perfect and good on American TV. Seriously, I'm besotted over Ms. Butler and her magnificent show.

You can see this show on Hulu on your computer and HuluPlus on Roku.

The other TV show I've fallen in love with lately is this one:
On the eve of her marriage to her long time boyfriend Karl, Donna decides that she'd rather be single, footloose, and fancy free like her two friends Karen and Louise. So she dumps Karl and moves in with her friends. Her friends turn out to be an angry sex addict alcoholic (Karen) and a bubbly but socially stunted awkward woman-child (Louise). Donna manipulates Karl and uses him as a crutch as she navigates single life.

This series shines an unflinching and uncomfortable light on these three female characters. Much of the humor of this show comes from the comedy of awkwardness, which was pioneered by Ricky Gervais and Steve Coogan, although this show takes it to new and even more uncomfortable heights. Pulling was written by and stars the lovely Sharon Horgan.

One of the many reasons why I love this show, and The Librarians as well, is that the writers of the shows wrote complex and not flattering parts for themselves, they end up, more often than not, the butt of the jokes and their characters come off looking like idiots most of the time. And that's not something you'd ever see in a mainstream US sitcom, Sarah Silverman here in the USA is the main exception I can think of.

The other thing that endears me to these shows is that they are limited. They only made 12 episodes and one hour long special of Pulling and 20 episodes of The Librarians. The producers of these shows knew when to quit and they both went out on top.

Pulling is available on Netflix streaming and on DVD.

I recommend them both highly.


phairhead said...

Thanks for the suggestions!

Anonymous said...

Netflix put Pulling in my suggestions list. I'll try and check it out.

Kim Hambric said...

Yes!! I'm always on the lookout for Monkey-approved shows.

Ricky Shambles said...

Excellent suggestions - I'll have to check them out. I've found myself buried under keepers from last year and newbies this year and need to whittle down - crap, just saw you made a list. Now I'm going to have to do that too.


Anonymous said...

I just had to update.... two episodes in and I'm really enjoying Pulling.