Everyone’s stuck in a rut in the Spaced episode “Change.” Brian can’t seem to paint, no matter how he approaches it (exemplified in a wonderfully cartoonish sequence) and both Daisy and Tim are having difficulty on the career front.
Bill Bailey is back as Tim’s boss Bilbo and I might have to watch all of Black Books next if it means seeing
more of him. What a fun and eccentric performer. Tim and Bilbo’s working relationship woes dominate his storyline when he has an easier time finding a new job than Daisy. Bilbo has found a Tim lookalike and Tim has gone to another comic book store with a laid back owner. They do miss one another though and Bilbo forgives Tim’s original anger at a child over The Phantom Menace and welcomes him back to the shop.
Brian gets his own subplot in this episode – he’s lost his inspiration to paint. Apparently happiness doesn’t sit well with his artistic endeavors, and it take the death of his uncle to get him back into the right state of mind. This is taken away when Twist calls, immediately putting him in a good mood. We find out more about Brian in this episode (such as the fact that he lies to his mother about being a lawyer) but in his storyline it’s Marsha who gets to shine. She comes down to his apartment and badgers him in such a specific and repellent way that it makes sense that he goes back to painting. The scene is lit in shadows with Marsha’s smoke from her cigarette building a train around her, allowing Edgar Wright to play with the lighting a bit. The minimalist physical acting in this scene is genius.
The best storyline goes to Daisy though, and Jessica Hynes gets another episode where she’s able to play up multiple facets of her character. There’s her charmingly delusional side where she nurtures her paranoia that the world’s out to get her rather than owning up to her own problems, her misfortune at finding financial support after being called out for taking a holiday, and her wonderful standoff with Mike at the start of the episode when she tries to pin her having no money on him. I’m glad that even Mike took a stand to that one.
There are only a small number of television shows where financial struggles have been portrayed both realistically but also with humor. There was Roseanne and Malcolm in the Middle, which I adored when I was younger for many reasons, but I appreciate more now as I understand how important it is to see the average person being portrayed. And now there’s Spaced which gets money struggles and how, even when they’re potentially dire (say like being a few weeks late on rent), it’s still difficult to make yourself get up and actively hunt for a job.
Really, really have to love how Edgar Wright’s fear of youths permeates just about everything he does. Daisy’s aide at the temp agency looking like she’s all of 15 is a hilarious touch that helps spell out Daisy’s state of mind – panicked. It’s certainly not an uncommon idea that they’re playing with, just an exaggerated one. I would like to say that I’m one of those magically confident people who shrugs off people who are younger than me being more accomplished or more pulled together however, as it would seem, I am more in line with the Daisys of the world who end up entirely irked at the idea. Even better is Daisy’s earlier non-explanation of why she can’t just simply write and sell another article. It’s not that she couldn’t, it’s that it took so much energy to write the previous one that the idea of putting that much effort in again is an outrageous thought.
I really do love a lazy kindred spirit. Daisy is almost frustrating in how against taking responsibility for her actions she is, but frustrating in a way that’s understandable and not out of character. Characters aren’t always likeable but they can still be compelling.
I’ve enjoyed so far in season two how the world of the characters seems to be expanding. It’s a more ambitious season so far and while it’s still yet to touch that sweet spot of charm and silliness that made season one so instantly infectious, I’m sure that will change. At only two episodes in, there’s plenty of time for season two to win me over even more.
Allyson Johnson is a twenty something writer and a lover of film and all things pop-culture. She’s a film and television enthusiast and critic over at TheYoungFolks.com who spends too much of her free time on Netflix. Her idols are Jo March, Illana Glazer, and Amy Poehler. Check her out at her twitter @AllysonAJ or at The Young Folks.
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