Flowers: Love it or hate it?

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Flowers: Love it or hate it?

April 26, 2016 - 19:30
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3 reader reviews
Average: 3.9 (7 votes)
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Channel 4’s decent new comedy Flowers was full of funny moments. And the fine cast delivered excellent performances.

The Flower family

Channel 4’s decent new comedy Flowers was full of funny moments. And the fine cast delivered excellent performances.

But did I love it? ‘Fraid not. Just personal taste, but it was all a bit too strange and dark for my liking.

Inevitably, there’ll be much raving about Olivia Colman’s hilarious turn as the manic matriarch of an eccentric family for whom life in the country is far from idyllic.

But, while the reliably impressive Ms Colman was undoubtedly on top form, her crazy character Deborah Flower was lost in a weird world that was so far-fetched it was hard to stay interested. It was for me, anyway.

Rustic trombone teacher Deborah’s author husband Maurice failed suicide bid was a novel way to start the story. And his mother’s death continued the upbeat theme.

The unhappy couple’s grown-up twin children are standard issue TV oddballs. Donald is a rubbish inventor and Amy composes terrible music. 

Meanwhile, lascivious neighbour George is a cliché. As Deborah mourned the passing of her mother-in-law, the one-track mind from next door said: “Deborah, you grieving fox.” Really?

Look, I know this encouragingly different rural romp is superior stuff. And in a world where sh*tcoms Citizen Khan and Bloomers are regarded as first class entertainment, I really shouldn’t complain. But although I laughed several times, Flowers left me slightly depressed.

Not unlike Sky Atlantic’s swirling mass of misery Camping. Masturbation in tents. Be still my aching sides. This series is so relentlessly cruel and unpleasant I can’t be bothered to watch another minute. So there.

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Anna May's picture

This dark comedy, written by Will Sharpe, really caught my attention. Let’s face it, nobody could be a more perfect Deborah than Olivia Colman, who is believable as any character she portrays, ranging from the most serious of individuals to the most ridiculous. In fact, the entire cast does the script justice and each character’s unique eccentricities are played out to the fullest.

As well as the Flowers family and their barmy Japanese lodger, Shun, there are peripheral characters who persistently interfere, annoy and impose upon them. This makes their already fraught relationships even more difficult to endure. In my view, the most pivotal character is Deborah, who demonstrates all shades of anger, sadness and hope with regular outbursts revealing her true emotions for all to see, before quickly checking herself to remain tight-lipped and determined to carry on regardless. There seems no end to the chaotic randomness of it all and so many reasons to either laugh or squirm at the silliness, but somehow you find yourself being pulled out of the mayhem and back into the depths of Deborah’s unhappiness.

At first, Shun seems completely out of place amid the complete mess of a family he lives with. A family comprising strained couple, Deborah and Maurice Flowers, and their 26 year old twins, Donald and Amy. Not forgetting Maurice’s rambling elderly mother. However, Shun’s innocently bizarre attitude to their increasing problems soon has you waiting for his next appearance. If you have teens who regularly draw Manga or call cartoons ‘Anime’, Shun will have them making hearts with their hands and holding them up to the screen. As soon as my daughter saw him she exclaimed, “I love him!” I was so happy to have found a series my daughter would be glad to sit and watch with me, but this soon wore off as she proceeded to squeal, “Shun!”, “I love him!”, or “My husband!” each time he entered a scene. Also, when he was forced to burn some of his artwork, she screamed, “NO! You don’t burn your Manga, you store it in folders FOREVER!” One perforated eardrum later, she was on the verge of tears and, as for him driving along talking reassuringly to his pictures on the passenger seat, “Yes, that’s exactly how it is!” Of course, Will Sharpe would know how Manga artists feel about their work, so he knew the level of emotion this would arouse in any who were watching. Also, as Shun is played by Will Sharpe himself, there is ample opportunity to push his intentions for the character to the max. Shun does not disappoint, but I won’t be planning the wedding just yet.

To describe every single character and their part in the plot would leave little for new viewers to discover, but if I was to choose a favourite character it would be Donald. His relentless insults and awful treatment of family members and so called friends is jaw-dropping and his endless spats with equally petulant twin sister, Amy, are a joy.

If you’re a fan of dark comedies like Nighty Night, Human Remains, Hunderby, Psychoville, League of Gentlemen and Inside No9 (to name but a few), I’m sure you will appreciate this. However, this does not mean it shouldn’t warrant separate acclaim, because it should. Amid the dark humour, naughty dialogue, weirdness and hysterical outbursts that invariably ensue, the tragedy of it all is constantly brought home to the viewer. The melancholic incidental music that kicks in immediately after some of the most disturbing scenes does its job in reminding us there is real heartache at the centre of it all.

Will Sharpe has really impressed me with this series. There's a lot to appreciate. He tells a good story and enhances it perfectly, for dark humour fans like me, with colourful characters you can’t help but take notice of. Nobody here falls out of focus. I want more.

Anna May's picture

Thank you! I love that you love it and appreciate your willingness to host conflicting reviews. You make some very good points and I can fully understand why some would find it difficult to grasp the point of it all. However, I think we can agree on the quality of acting, even if the genre isn't quite your bag and the sight of Shun doesn't immediately send you fangirling furiously into your keyboard. That's not a euphemism, by the way, it's a very innocent I'm told.