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Review of Being Human: ‘Being Human 1955’

Neela Debnath

hal 5 final 300x205 Review of Being Human: Being Human 1955’SPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen Being Human ‘Being Human 1955′

Following on from an episode tinged with tragedy, this week lifted the mood with something lighter.

Part of the charm of ‘Being Human’ is in the comedy, whether it be dry witticisms, absurd situations or out of place references to popular culture, there is something there for everyone. This eclectic mix creates a balance with the more serious plot lines and this episode had all of these different types of comedy. However, there were two moments that stood out.

The first was when Cutler (Andrew Gower) invited a focus group of humans to give their thoughts on the possible existence of supernatural beings, only for them to be devoured by some other vampires before he had time to read their answers. It was a moment where dark comedy was juxtaposed with surreal comedy. The idea that a vampire would have a focus group to genuinely gauge public opinion is ridiculous which is why it worked so well. The dark comedy was in Cutler’s annoyance that the blood-spattered notes were completely illegible more than anything else. What makes Cutler such an enjoyable character to watch is that he thinks outside the box rather than just conforming to the vampire stereotype of killing and feeding. He also seems to always have a droll observation just waiting on the tip of his tongue.

The second moment was Annie’s ‘ceremony’ where she reverted to Josh Groban lyrics and Latin phrases via lines from ‘Star Wars’ after losing half of the words to a ritual. The last time she tried to adlib was in series 3 when George’s father had supposedly died. She wanted to say something profound but ended up quoting poet W.H. Auden and Cheryl Cole. Lenora Crichlow, who plays Annie, has really developed her comedy skills by exploiting Annie’s pedantry and neurotic tendencies. Annie attempts to be motherly and authoritative but in truth she is making it up as she goes along, it’s likely that more of Crichlow’s comic ability will be seen as series 4 progresses.

But it wasn’t all laughs. The storyline involving Leo (Louis Mahoney), Pearl (Tamla Kari) and Hal (Damien Molony) was surprisingly emotional. Although their characters were only introduced in the last episode, the bond between the three of them came across well and it was all the more sad when Hal was left alone after Leo and Pearl crossed over. The audience can easily understand the relationship and the affection between them because they have seen the pain that Annie, George and Mitchell have been through. The show is constantly featuring loss because it deals with life, death and the grey area in between, and yet it never loses its impact.

Hal is now the lead vampire and Molony shows that he can hold his own. He is a world away from Mitchell primarily because he has a lot more self-control and discipline. There is a very different dynamic between the three main characters with Hal being the outsider, whether this will change now that they are all living in the Honolulu Heights is yet to be seen. On a small note, Hal’s jibe at Tom’s accent, where he suggested that subtitles were required, was similar to a gag featured in ‘Misfits’. The character of Kelly Bailey was also mocked for her Derby vernacular which is an amusing coincidence considering that Kelly is played by Michael Socha’s sister Lauren.

‘Being Human 1955’ was another establishing episode but it also showed that the ‘Being Human’ universe is far larger than viewers might previously have thought. George, Annie and Mitchell were not the only ones who wanted to live out their lives in peace, there were others before them and there will be others after them. The extension of the cohabitation concept to other individuals gives the programme a new flexibility that it didn’t have before and opens up the possibility of more characters in the future. Within these last two episodes ‘Being Human’ has transformed, with the central characters now in place the story of the War Child can really begin. As the teaser shows, next week there is a growing danger that threatens Eve’s life.

For more information about the series, click here

Image credit: BBC

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  • Mat Bakus

    It was verging on awful.

    Annie’s “hilarious” fake ceremony where she spoke gobbledy-gook – wow, that the funniest thing since, ooh, Mark Williams’ character’s “hilarious” fake ceremony where he spoke gobbledy-gook in the episode last week. How desperate is that?

    This show used to have a really grown-up, dark edge to it, but as the series go on, the brush strokes get broader, and the quality plummets and it gets more confused as to what it is supposed to be.

    The only hope is the fractious relationship between Hal and Tom, which has some promise.

    Personally, I’ll give it one more episode before I give up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/depesando Richard De Pesando

    Was this review someone’s school homework?

  • AllWrightJack

    Yerrrrssss… I thought back in episode 2 of Series 1 that it wasn’t as good as it used to be…

  • http://twitter.com/allthingselse Not Telling

    Nonsense. Don’t bother giving it another episode, just stop watching now. Like quite a lot of other people, you already have your mind made up (and probably had it made up before it even started… unsurprisingly).

    Being Human has the exact same humour as it did from the start. The only thing that has changed is the characters (with the progression of the story- obviously). Trying to make out the humour to be something drastically different and immature is frankly pathetic. Being Human has the same charm as it did from the start with it’s character-driven stories and light-hearted humour.

  • http://twitter.com/allthingselse Not Telling

    Har har.

  • Mat Bakus

    You don’t have to agree – but to tell me how I am thinking, what to do, and calling me immature and pathetic…what’s all that about?

    I have watched Being Human since the pilot, and have seen lose its edge as each series passes. It is more like Doctor Who – a show aimed at a much younger audience, and because of this, it is deeply dissatisfying and disappointing.

    I always look forward to each new series, despite this, as when it is good, it is very entertaining. My mind was not made up at all – and  I really want to like this new series, but thus far, I can’t, because it is a shadow of the show it used to be.

    Some of the humour you speak of would not look at of place on a CBBC show – it used to be much funnier – and then a scene later you have some ultra-violence. It is very confused, and has lost its way.

    Clearly you don’t agree – fine, but there really is no need to be so dismissive and rude to someone you don’t know just because what you find marvellously entertaining, I find puerile and simplistic, clearly aimed at a younger and/or less sophisticated audience.

    I wish I was as easily pleased as you; I would have a far greater choice of TV to watch.

  • http://twitter.com/allthingselse Not Telling

    Of course I don’t agree, but how did you expect me to reply to such a condescending and (once again) immature comment like yours? To suggest that anyone who still likes the show is childish or easily pleased is even more pathetic. Well done.

    Some of your criticisms are just meaningless. Does it really mean they are desperate because they had 2 similar scenes? Really? I think if there is anything that the first 2 episodes have shown, it’s that Toby Whithouse still has loads of ideas for Being Human like he said he did.

    My biggest gripe against your comment though is the suggestion that this is an entirely different show with a new style of childish humour (that is indistinguishable from CBBC). First of all the premise is the same, the show has not lost it’s way… It’s still a dark comedy drama about a werewolf, a vampire and a ghost and it is still character-driven. The humour is still very much the same, a lot of it (like in series 1) is social awkwardness and witty dialogue (often still pretty subtle). Do you think you can dismiss the humour of the show as childish and broad because we had 2 light-hearted scenes that don’t pass as ‘intelligent humour’? Please. I hardly think jokes about dead human skin and killing a baby are going to appear on CBBC. Being Human still retains that dark edge.

    By all means stop watching if you dislike the show and voice your opinion about why you dislike it … but you’re not going to convince anyone that it is because the show is somehow beneath your pseudo-intellectual self now.

  • Mat Bakus

    You’re so funny.

    You write a really rude reply to me, and when I respond in kind, you get all affronted. What’s all that about? Do you live in a world where it is only you that can dish out the insults?

    Two virtually identical scenes (person dresses up and speaks gobbledy gook with fake baby ceremony) in consecutive episodes is lazy writing. That’s not “meaningless” – it’s true.

    In the first episode, Mark Williams’ character dressed up with tea-towel on his head, and was clearly trying to delay proceedings – and what he was doing was so obvious, a five year old would have seen through it – yet we were supposed to accept that a bunch of vampires intent on taking over the world were too stupid to see what he was doing.

    That sort of plot development was something you would expect in a programme aimed at children – hence the CBBC comment – and, as I said above, it sits uncomfortably with the violence of the following scene, and is confused.

    Add to this the plot device that allows George to partially transform by looking at a picture of the moon – which kills him because of something to do with his internal organs (all known by Williams’ character again, despite the fact that no-one has ever done that), and it looks even more desperate.

    Personally, I found it a little insulting that the writer would try and speed the plot along like that, playing hard and fast with the werewolf legend merely for his own convenience.

    I know you don’t agree, and that is because you are less of a critical thinker and are more easily pleased. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it is clearly true.

    I am not a pseudo-intellectual, I just have high standards when it comes to what I watch, and this show is being painted with broader and broader brushstrokes, and has ceased to be challenging.

    This doesn’t mean I am right, of course, stuff like this is all about opinions, but argue as you might, you are not going to convince me (and it is not just me who can see how the quality has plummeted) that I am wrong just because you say so.

    You can’t always get things your own way.

  • http://twitter.com/allthingselse Not Telling

    “I know you don’t agree, and that is because you are less of a critical thinker and are more easily pleased. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it is clearly true.”

    Thank you so much. You have enlightened me.

    Lol please. Seriously?

    Sorry but you are an egotistical pseudo-intellectual. You can try to make yourself sound as smart as you like by trying to belittle others who still enjoy the show but that won’t change the reality. You dislike the show and it’s not because you are this amazing critical thinker… you can keep telling that to yourself all you want. Not everyone who still enjoys Being Human is an idiot who finds anything easily pleasing. People can spot the flaws of a show and along with the parts they personally dislike can forgive them to continue watching… and anyone who watches Being Human has been doing that since series 1 (because there have been incredibly stupid concepts since it’s conception; I could make a list just like yours for the first 2 episodes of series 1 or the last 2 episodes of series 3 etc). How you can’t see that your attitude is rather snobby is beyond me.

  • Mat Bakus

    Or, there is another option.

    We’re both right. Or wrong. It doesn’t really matter, does it? There is no ultimate truth here – just points of view. My opinion is perfectly valid – I have explained where I am coming from, and your reply is invariably “no it isn’t” and then you call me a variety of names.

    You explain to me about the way people perceive and process the show, but what you mean is some people, just as some people will see what I see.

    I didn’t call anyone an idiot, by the way – most of the insulting language has come from you in this exchange – in fact you set the tone in your orginal reply to me, and you have kept up this affonted how dare you speak to me like that thing ever since. Maybe you should consider being more circumpsect initially. If you start off with personal insults, it sets the tone for the exchange.

    I didn’t really mean to belittle others; I just wanted to belittle you, and I just wanted to do that because you started off being really rude to me, and have continued to do that in a passive/agressive manner ever since. I wonder if this reflects real life, or whether you just save it for strangers on the internet.

    Anyway, Being Human. Nowhere near as good as it used to be. I know you don’t agree, but that doesn’t make my opinion any less right or valid, and you can argue the toss all you like – throw in a few more insults if you like, too – it won’t change the fact that I (and others) think it is shadow of the show it used to be.

    You carry on watching it and enjoying it. I will give it one more episode (if that’s okay with you, your royal highness) to see if it finally realises it is a programme aimed at grown ups.

    Cheery bye.


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