Way to Go: The Inbetweeners’ Blake Harrison shines in this odd new BBC3 comedy

by Matt D

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It’s fair to say that since The Inbetweeners finished the cast members have all gone to have a modicum of success with Simon Bird and Joe Thomas starring in Friday Night Dinner and Fresh Meat respectively despite them both playing very similar versions to the characters they portrayed in the sitcom that made the famous. James Buckley meanwhile has combined stage work with playing the young Del Boy in Rock and Chips however Blake Harrison has only popped up here and there. But Harrison is back in BBC3’s new sitcom Way to Go where he plays Scott an intelligent young man who was once a medical student but dropped out when he refused to pay the fees. We now find Scott at a dead end in his life working as a receptionist in a 24 hour animal clinic where he is met by defecating dogs on a regular basis but is never allowed touch the animals. His life only gets worse when his girlfriend leaves him for one of her Nando’s customers and he is left alone however things turn around after an offer from a neighbour.

Scott discovers that his neighbour Paddy has a terminal illness and, knowing that Scott has a medical background, asks him to help him end his life in return for an expensive pair of George Best’s football boots. Initially Scott laughs off the idea however when he finds out how much the boots are worth he has second thoughts especially considering he could use the money to help other people. One person who really needs help is Scott’s half-brother who works as a fitness instructor in an old folks home but still has a gambling problem and now owes money to gangsters who are periodically breaking his fingers. The brothers then seek out their old friend Cozzo, played by Mark Wooton, who they believe will help them build some sort of lethal injection machine however he refuses due to the fact that his partner is a police woman. However he later changes his mind when he finds out that his girlfriend is pregnant but held off telling him as she didn’t think they could afford and decides he could use the money that Scott is offering him in order to provide for his unborn child. The trio then set about building the machine, which they dub ‘the McFlurry of death’, while Scott steals the drugs they use to put down dogs at the vet’s surgery even though he’s almost caught by the predatory Dr Jill. After a first attempt to use the machine goes awry, Scott starts to doubt if they’re doing the right thing however his friends talk him round and another attempt to use the machine is successful with Scott inheriting the boots and getting the money that his friends desperately need.

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Way to Go is a strange beast as it’s hard to actually categorise it as on one hand it’s a straight sitcom including the opening scene in which Scott has to tidy up after a dogs’ bowel issues, however the themes it deals with are quite deep and those two qualities make it an odd programme. I have to say, despite the writer’s attempt to insert a few gags, I didn’t find it particularly funny although I did like the script and in particular the central performance. Personally I found Blake Harrison was great in this programme because he wasn’t playing another Neil as his Scott was a self-righteous everyman who had almost given up on himself. Harrison’s role is to be the straight man as both Ben Heathcote’s Scott and especially Marc Wooton’s Cozzo are more broad comedic parts however I did find the latter was playing a variation of the character he always plays. While programmes Six Feet Under made it OK to laugh at death I’m not exactly sure what to make of the fact that this programme is making a mockery of the tricky subject of assisted suicide. Personally I thought it was handled well as Scott makes the point to say that life is very important thing and the only reason he’s committing murder is to help out Paddy. However the premise of the show from here appears to be that each week the trio will seek out someone who wants to pay to be killed and then help them with the deed. I just fear that this will make the programme fairly formulaic and also take away some of the justification for the assisted suicides that the lead protagonists will carry out.

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Overall Way to Go is definitely an original concept for a sitcom with assisted suicide being a very taboo topic and one that is fairly macabre in terms of comedy. Somehow this episode makes it work thanks to a believable script and chemistry between the cast members however I feel that this may be the strongest episode that the series has to offer. One thing that I did like twas Blake Harrison’s performance as he really did all he could to put over the show’s concept and more importantly didn’t evoke memories of Neil which proved that he’s a versatile actor who doesn’t need to play the same role in every programme that he appears something that can’t be said for some of the other Inbetweeners actors.

Way To Go

Did you enjoy Way to Go? What did you think to Blake Harrison’s central performance? Leave Your Comments Below.

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