Psychoville Review: Norman Bates’ Home Town
PSYCHOVILLE: Thursday 18th June, BBC2, 10pm Alert Me
When the BBC told the ‘League of Gentlemen’ boys that they wanted big and light shows nowadays, I wonder how long it took them to think ‘Sod that, let’s do whatever the hell we want.’
Given what seems to be free reign over their new project, Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton have created a cast of characters that resemble a line up of your top ten worst childhood nightmares, all of which have received mysterious letters saying ‘I know what you did.’
If you thought Tubbs, Edward and Papa Lazarou were gross and creepy (and you secretly loved it) then you’ll be equally affected by this motley crew. Mr. Jelly is a one handed kids entertainer (imagine the clown from IT but really hungover and pissed off then you’ll be on the right track). Dawn French plays Joy Aston, a midwife who treats her demonstration doll as one of her own, and is a hugely welcome female influence over the ‘League’ boys.
Though she gets a little short changed in the first episode, French makes a decent start and proves she still has the chops for black comedy. Remember ‘Murder Most Horrid’? And though the League boys are used to playing the girl parts, French fits in nicely with the set.
It wouldn’t be complete without vomit-inducing characters that are genuinely uncomfortable to watch. Introducing David Sowerbutts and his mother, Maureen. Inappropriate doesn’t even come close. After one scene involving some mother/son crotch rubbing, you’ll feel so dirty you’ll want to take your skin off. I think the League boys will mark this one down as a success.
There are so many characters in Psychoville that it’s difficult to care about/keep track of them all. The pilot episode feels a little bit like a drunken slapper; a few too many Aftershocks and she gives everything away up front.
However, I’m sure with a little room to stretch its legs, Psychoville will turn into a cult hit but will lack the mainstream appreciation that The League of Gentlemen garnered.