I’d never watched Outnumbered before last night, and that’s because when it first made its appearance on our screens, I thought ‘oh, another formulaic, clichéd sitcom’, so I didn’t bother tuning in.
But last night, for want of anything better to do, I did tune in, and it rapidly became obvious that I’d been spot on in my pre-emptive assumptions. It was formulaic and it was clichéd.
There’s the smart-alecky kid, the cute kid and the hormonal teenager. There are the harried but devoted parents who often exchange that look that says, “Well golly, aren’t they a handful, but we love them.”
There were some decent one-liners that were mildly amusing, but they were drowned in a sea of predictable dross. It’s My Family, Two Point Four Children, and any number of family based sitcoms blended together to form a banal, brainless show.
But by far my biggest moan is the smarty pants kid; it irritates me beyond reason that every sitcom ever about a family has one. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; if you’re going to write for kids, make them kids! Stop making them small – and usually unbelievably scathing – adult imitations!
A smaller moan is how wasted Hugh Dennis is in this drivel. He’s funny and he’s talented, and he can contort his face into expressions that tell the viewer more than any of the prosaic lines he’s given, but he’s not given enough opportunity in this to use his skills fully.
I really can’t imagine why it is that this show has won awards; it seems mad to me, unless the awards were for Most Corny or Most Predictable.