It was great to see the American, “Hollywood,” comedy star, drafted in to add a bit of weight and notability to the sitcom, outshone and out-funnied by the UK comedian. It’s not that I didn’t like the idea of having the American star come in and play the “main character” but it felt slightly like the comedy wanted him to be at the center of the show when there was a much funnier character in there already.
Maybe I’m reading too much into this but Greg Davies, the tall, aggressive looking, UK comedian managed to get the funniest lines, moments and stories of the show. The American comedian, Andy Samberg, star of Saturday Night Live!, Lonely Planet and more recently, the Adam Sandler film That’s my Boy, ended up being second best and it wasn’t what I was expecting.
I think it’s probably because I was more empathetic and sympathetic with Greg Davis character. This unusual, free-thinking, “hippie” comes into his house, newly married to his daughter, and turns this poor, middle-class, “normal” blokes’ world upside down. The show did a great job of making Cuckoo’s (Samberg) behaviour seem normal or quirky to everyone else while the audience could see how infuriating weird it actually was.
This obviously led to the key for any sitcom which is the situations themselves. The episodes had some great situations for both Cuckoo and Greg Davies’ Ken to find themselves in, from trying to get rid of the body of cat which may be the reincarnation of Ken’s mother-in-law, to getting high on ecstasy and crashing a teenagers party. The more outlandish and crazy the situation, the funnier it is to see Greg Davies in it.
In fact, as much as this is a show designed to show off how crazy and silly Cuckoo is and can be, Greg Davies seems to get the best moments. A fight in a dock-yard, shooting his father-in-law’s cat by accident or vomiting on a prospective employer while high. He also gets the best lines, getting to shout or say some incredulous, unusual sentences in the funniest of moments.
It’s really a show about Davies and Samberg’s double act and they play brilliantly off each other. It begins as Samberg’s Cuckoo clearly being the comedy while Davies is the “straight man” but the humour is in watching Davies slowly lose it as the season progresses, until he finally begins to accept (although not entirely) some of Cuckoo’s craziness.
It’s also worth mentioning the support given by Tyger Drew-Honey as Ken’s son Dylan. He is written as a obnoxuous, hopeless teen and has been playing the part in Outnumbered since 2007, so does so with ease. He gets his fair share of brilliant situations and scenes too, which could easily go unnoticed next to the craziness that ensues with Cuckoo and Ken each episode.
BBC Three seems to be leading the way in sitcoms at the moment, with Bad Education, Cuckoo and Him and Her. Although Channel 4 have Friday Night Dinner and Peep Show and Sky have Trollied and Moone Boy, BBC Three’s comedies just have something extra at the moment and I’m hoping Him and Her’s new season will be as funny as the previous two.
Overall, Cuckoo is a great sitcom and its down to Greg Davies more than anyone else. His willingness to throw himself into some of the most absurd, crazy and stupid situations is what gets most of the laughs in the comedy. Samberg’s Cuckoo is great but without Davies, this show would be half as funny.
Best Episode – Ken on E: Greg Davies acting high is the funniest part of the whole season.
Best performance – Greg Davies as Ken
Should there be another season? – There is still plenty of laughs and stories there so definitely.
Season Rating – 4
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)