When Nick Frost is playing a tightly wound, pedantic, grammar fascist he’s good. When he’s playing a cheeky lad out having a laugh he’s very good. When he’s high as a kite he’s fantastic. It’s like the closer he gets to what I (would love to) believe is his natural state, that’s when he shines. He makes it look so easy and gives the program such a relaxed feel. It puts you at ease and allows you to laugh more. It’s a great relief from the awkward tension of some of his more sober encounters.
I did almost roll my eyes when the subject of drugs came up, its use is often a source of easy lazy and predictable humour in sitcoms, just as I felt the toilet humor was last week. But thanks to Frost’s tireless likeability it became the funniest sequence of the series so far. It’s a quality that is apparently contagious. He’s likeable, Ophelia Lovibond is likeable, even Peter Serafinowicz’s Ross, who is a bit of an arsehole, is likeable. Then again he has quite an advantage, him being Peter Serafinowicz and all.
But my favourite moment of the show was actually something rather more subtle. As a prelude to a flashback giving us more detail on the state of Jeremy’s relationship with his wife pre separation, Robin presses him on the subject, even if only slightly. While talking about her his voice breaks, very understated, but it has a great impact. It’s the most vulnerable we’ve seen him, even more so than when he tries to hang himself. It’s a perfectly played beautiful little moment.
The flashbacks themselves provide a perfectly paced breadcrumb trail leading us through the events leading up to his downfall. It’s some of the series best work and their infrequency only adds to their value. It takes advantage of the excellent writing and superb wit. Robert B. Weide has such a great sense of irony that I would almost refute his legitimacy as an American. And America could certainly use more like him.