Shelley watched the entire run of The IT Crowd the other day, which prompted me to start watching the show again. I stopped watching after about a minute because of this:
The first face you see is that of Denholm Reynholm, played by Chris Morris. I remember watching the behind the scenes documentaries on the IT Crowd DVDs and hearing Graham Linehan (the show creator) going on about how insanely lucky they were to get Morris on the show, like it was some impossible casting coup or something. For whatever reason, I didn't go about trying to find out who the hell Chris Morris was then, so I took steps to correct that.
One of Chris Morris' first big projects was a show called The Day Today, a fake news program. Fake news can be a tricky proposition, because it can come off as self consciously goofy or over the top. Unless your The Onion you probably should just stay out of the fake news business. Still, I thought I should see what the big deal was about this guy, so I tracked down the episodes on YouTube. Turns out Chris Morris is the real deal. This is funny stuff.
The reason that The Day Today works is because it is presented in a fairly dry fashion. It presents the fake news in a very serious and professional manner, and that lets the humor stand on its own without any self conscious mugging or "nudge-nudge-we're-so-clever" presentation. Plus it's very dark and at times surreal. The fake news should be dark, don't you think? If you're going to poke fun at the real news, it seems like you need to keep the dark in there.
The writing is strong and the cast is filled with faces that will be familiar to folks that watch a lot of British Comedy. The most familiar face for most folks will be that of Steve Coogan, and it was on this show that the world was first introduced to Alan Partridge. I pity you if you don't know Alan Partridge.
The Day Today only ran for one series, but luckily that full series is on YouTube. GOODBYE, BIG CHUNK OF YOUR DAY!