Alan Waldman: ‘Not Going Out’ is an Extremely Funny British TV Sitcom

Waldman’s film and TV
treasures you may have missed:

Brilliant Lee Mack writes and stars in this truly wacky, unpredictable series.

By Alan Waldman | The Rag Blog | July 30, 2013

[In his weekly column, Alan Waldman reviews some of his favorite films and TV series that readers may have missed, including TV dramas, mysteries, and comedies from Canada, England, Ireland, and Scotland. Most are available on DVD and/or Netflix, and some episodes are on YouTube.]

Not Going Out, starring and written or co-written by standup comic Lee Mack, is a side-splitting Britcom series which has aired 44 episodes since 2006. A seventh season and two Christmas specials are coming, and Mack is talking about a film version and a live show.

It won “Best Sitcom” at the 2007 Swiss Rose d’Or Light Entertainment Festival, a 2007 Royal Television Society Award for Mack, and 2007 British Comedy Award nominations for “Best New Comedy” and “Best TV Comedy Actor” (Mack). More than 91.5% of viewers who rated it at imdb.com gave it “thumbs up,” and 28.9% gave it 10 out of 10.

The highest-rated episode (at imdb.com) is this very funny one. The series has been sold to 120 countries.

Lee plays a thirtysomething slacker who lives in a flat in London’s Docklands neighborhood and spends most of his time on his couch or hanging out in the local pub with his best friend Tim (Tim Vine). What gets him off his couch are his attempts to impress his attractive female roommate/landlady (Megan Dodds in Season 1 and Sally Bretton thereafter). Two hilariously dim characters are his cleaning lady (Miranda Hart, who now stars in the spinoff series Miranda) and Tim’s girlfriend Daisy (Katy Wix).

A lot of Not Going Out’s humor is based on word play and double entendres, delivered in a deadpan manner, which is the comedy style Mack and Vine have both used in stand-up acts.

Season 1 is on Netflix now, Season 2 is coming, and all episodes are on YouTube. I enthusiastically urge you to sample the episode linked to above. My wife and I saw it last week — and howled with mirth.

[Oregon writer and Houston native Alan Waldman holds a B.A. in theater arts from Brandeis University and has worked as an editor at The Hollywood Reporter and Honolulu magazine. Read more of Alan Waldman’s articles on The Rag Blog.]

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