Review: Fresh Meat, Episode 1

Channel four recently ended their contract for syndication rights to ‘Friends’ which has freed up a bit of money for them to invest in home-grown comedies. The first of which, is ‘Fresh Meat.’

It’s written by Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain, who are the creative team behind Channel 4’s ‘Peep Show.’

It focuses on six “Freshers” sharing a house together. The affable bunch are Vod (Zawe Ashton), Oregon (Charlotte Ritchie), Howard (Greg McHugh), Josie (Kimberley Nixon), Kingsley (Joe Thomas) and  JP (Jack Whitehall).

The characters are the stereotypes we’ve seen a thousand times before:

  • The wild-child with a chip on her shoulder (Vod).
  • The insecure girl who’ll change her opinion to please (Oregon).
  • The strange loner that that doesn’t really know he is strange (Howard).
  • The annoying toff that tries to be ‘street’ (JP).
  • The shy guy that can’t quite talk to girls (Kingsley) and
  • the small-town Welsh girl, fish out of water type (Josie).

Despite the stereotypical characters, there are some great moments: Howard begging a pub full of students for one-twentieth of people’s pint was genuinely funny. As was the post-sexual tension between JP and Josie.

The performances are great all round. The character of Oregon reminded me a lot of Daisy from ‘Spaced’ – I imagine that is exactly what Daisy was like at university.

The person who surprised me the most, however, was Jack Whitehall. Now, I’m not a Jack Whitehall fan; I don’t find him funny and, I’m not alone. To quote a friend, “He makes my piss boil.” But he worked well in this. Okay, he is playing a posh-cock so granted it isn’t much of a stretch for him, but he suits the narrative.

Even with the two-dimensional characters, I enjoyed ‘Fresh Meat.’ I think over time it will evolve into a decent comedy and a worthy replacement for Peep Show.

Fresh meat airs Wednesdays at 10 pm on Channel 4.