I Want My Wife Back: review by Georgina7

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I Want My Wife Back: review by Georgina7

April 29, 2016 - 20:29
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Average: 2.3 (8 votes)
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Awful and old fashioned.

I Want My Wife Back

By Georgina7

I watched Episode 1 after hearing it was as good as the amazing 2004 hit "The Worst Week of my Life", which apparently has the same writers also showcases Ben Miller once again in the lead role. But I was SO disappointed, and thought I'd give episode 2 a chance - but nope - same reaction!

It blows my mind how the BBC can axe successful original programmes such as 'Silk' and yet invest so much in rubbish sitcoms such as 'Josh' (which is getting a second series) and this.

The cast is stellar, but for some reason even they can't seem to make the material coming out of their mouths seem genuine and natural. The whole show seems forced and desperate for laughs when there really aren't many to speak of.

The characters are too.....caricature - y! Over exaggerated in ways that people in real life just don't behave - like Abbey and her obsession with having hotel slippers to wear in the house, and Murray's assistant who is in love with him and not subtle about it!

And as the characters are so unrealistic - like Murray's father in law being distraught to his daughter's marriage split to the point of not being able to speak - it makes you not care about what happens to them. The only scene I liked was when Murray's wife starts telling her hairdresser that she left her husband the night before - and it turns out her mother is next to her and has heard every word.

I won't be watching anymore as I doubt it will improve, and the characters will become even more ridiculous - and judging from Twitter many others won't too, with a few saying the line "I want my Life Back!"

There are 4 Comments

Nige Smith's picture

I was a great fan of Worst week of my Life, the BBC cancelled that after 2 series and it was brilliant. So when Ben Miller told me that this was a similar sort of venture I was a litte excited.

I actually find it quite funny, yes ok some bits are a bit slapstick stupid, like the restaurant scene. But other than that, it is quite inoffensive. Miller is good, Catz is good and quite gorgeous, Jan Francis looks good still.

The only character that winds me up is Nereesha, this particular character is well over the top. Surely women do not speak like that, do they?

On the whole its fine, I have a warped sense of humour as Kev knows, I love Toast of London for goodness sake, say no more. Charissssssssssssssssssssssssssssmaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

bigian's picture

As with other reviewers I had high hopes with this given it had Ben Miller and the previous mentioned Worst Week series. Have to say I gave up after two weeks what a waste of the cast.
As with so many comedies recently the jokes seem to have been taken out or not even put in.
Highlighted by following the Peter Kay retrospective which showed how comedy shows should be.

SCARFMAN_'s picture

I have conflicting views about this about this sit-com. Part of me thinks not much happened in it and that Murray(Ben Miller's character), was a poor man's Basil Fawlty. On the other hand, I did find it funny to watch at times. The fact I watched all six episodes and never gave up on it must mean that I enjoyed it to some degree. It was good without being exceptional, watchable without being incredible and amusing without ever being hilarious.

To coin and adapt that famous old Roy Walker catchphrase 'Say what you see', the title of this sit-com really could not have made it any clearer regarding what this show was all about. In episode one we saw Bex(Caroline Catz) leaving her husband Murray because she claimed he was too much of a workaholic and that she never saw enough of him. Apart from that and 'I need some space to sort my head out'(about twenty times), that is all we had to go on as to why she felt the need to leave him. The rest of the series then took the form of Murray trying to woo her back into his arms. As there were six episodes to this then I had a funny feeling this was going to be a six week wooathon.

Nareesha : "It's just as acting head of department I ought to do it but I'm not very good with funny stories or jokes".

Some of the supporting cast worked and some did not. Intentional office bore Nareesha(so boring she was meant to be funny...but wasn't) just irritated me for the first five episodes. I did not find her funny whatsoever. Therefore, when she uttered that line above about not being funny or any good at telling jokes, I thought 'blimey, couldn't have put it better myself that'. To my great surprise though this character did make me chuckle in this final episode. Her overly boring speech about the weather being 'STILL OVERCAST' on the first three days she met Murray made me laugh, together with later quizzing Murray whether she was sexually satisfying their boss Curtis enough?

I know at the start I made a somewhat disparaging comment about Murray being a poor imitation of the great Basil Fawlty character from Fawlty Towers, nevertheless this comparison does have some long legs to it(quite literally in both their cases). Murray's dialogue and the delivery style of Ben Miller reminded me so much of Basil Fawlty (aka John Cleese). The best example of this was in episode six when Murray addressed some guests at his in-laws wedding anniversary party. For example, Murray stated,

"Ladies and gentlemen, I just need to make a small announcement. I think one or two of you may have the wrong end of the...err...pregnancy testing stick. Err Don and Paula are indeed going to be grandparents but the bearer of said child is, is, is not in fact Bex, it's their other daughter Keeley...er Keeley is having the baby, ah here she is so congratulations to Keeley".

The way Ben Miller paused and gesticulated throughout this dialogue, it was sooooo Basil Fawlty ish. It reminded me of that episode of Fawlty Towers when an exasperated Basil kept addressing all the guests about a fire drill.

Episode four of I Want My Wife Back also strongly reminded me of Fawlty Towers. This was the one where Murray went for a meal with Bex but somehow at the same time also ended up having a meal with his new love rival Julian. The way Murray kept running from table to table getting more and more exasperated and panic stricken as he tried to prevent them from bumping into one another, it was so reminiscent of Basil Fawlty type behaviour. I am thinking in particular here of the Gourmet Night episode of Fawlty Towers where Basil runs around like a headless chicken trying to serve duck.

I could take the Fawlty Towers analogy a stage further and argue that Murray's brother Grant(Kenneth Collard) was the Manuel character(much smaller in both physical and professional statue to Murray), and Murray's father-in-law had certain similarities to the famous old Major in Fawlty Towers. I need to make it clear here that in no way, shape, or form am I saying that I Want My Wife Back is anywhere near as good as Fawlty Towers. My point is though that both in terms of the script and the acting, it is clear that I Want My Wife Back was heavily influenced by the legendary Fawlty Towers. I would argue this influence was too much perhaps because once I recognised this link then it started to play on my mind all the time whilst watching it. I even thought of Basil Fawlty again as Murray ran after Bex all dressed up in his scuba diving gear towards the end of episode six. The flippers accentuated Ben Miller's long legs just like running up the hotel's stairs magnified the amusing sight of John Cleese's very long legs.

I Want My Wife Back ended with the happy ending that I had craved six weeks for, maybe 'craved' is overdoing it a tad....hoped. I would have felt like exploding if there had not been a happy ever after reunion between Murray and Bex. These days it really irritates me how lots of new shows don't seem to conclude the way they should, namely because they have an eye on hopefully getting recommissioned for a follow-up series. Bex embracing Murray at the end was a fitting ending to an OK series.

I want a second series of I Want My Wife Back.......JUST ABOUT, but my hunch is that this show will be declared NULL AND VOID by the BBC powers that be! 3/5.