The Mary Sue

Spaced Newbie Recap, “Leaves”

spaced leaves

“They say the family of the 21st century is made up of friends, not relatives. Then again, maybe that’s just bollocks.”

Spaced is not a show you want to part with. While there are plenty of shows I love and plenty that keep me watching week after week (or episode after episode as is the nature of our binge watching culture), there are few that tell stories about characters I’d actually want to be friends with. I could make friends with the characters of Spaced.

Daisy in particular, just to reiterate. I’m determined to be friends with a Daisy.

Firstly, let’s address that wonderful, homage happy yet oddly sweet opening. It’s fitting Spaced style, using popular culture references while also unabashedly showing its heart. The mere images of the gang all hanging out is effective after the last episode where the friendships themselves began to show a bit of weariness.

Our characters are slowly spinning their lives back together after they imploded a bit in the penultimate episode where Marsha found out the truth. Marsha is dead set on selling Tim and Daisy’s flat (with some fantastic callbacks to the series premiere). Tim, Mike and Brian make it their mission to win her back into their favor, while Tim is also dealing with Sophie’s upcoming departure.

The Tim and Sophie bits were the only part of the episode that weren’t as good as the rest, if only because Sophie is still so new to the show that she doesn’t hold my attention like the rest of the cast.

It was smart to split the characters up the way they did, giving everyone enough time to interact with one another before the emotionally poignant ending. There’s enough serious stakes at risk—them losing the apartment—mixed in with the show’s inherent silliness such as the entire Colin subplot with Daisy worrying he’s leaving her for another owner. I was particularly fond of the three boys going to recapture Marsha’s affections, including a daydream of Tim’s where the two of them begin to make out.

I’m glad the first talk didn’t work because the Say Anything moment was sweet, allowing the show to bring certain threads from the past back together.

There is an obvious want in finales to try and overstuff the plot beyond the time that’s given and Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes, so well acquainted with these characters already, feel no inclination. They tell the story in the time they’re given, play with the personalities we already know and don’t leave us hanging. All of the characters end the show as they should, happy and content, with no “what if’s” left. We don’t know what they’re going to do next, but they’re happy.

The only question mark we were left with was if Tim was going to go say goodbye to Sophie or go stop Daisy from leaving.

In retrospect this seems like an obvious choice.

I feel like I’ve written a lot of words all in order to get to the point where I can talk about the ending and just how strong of a way it was to send the show off. From the starting moments where Tim shows up for Daisy at the train station on his mini robot fighter, Colin in his backpack. and the two of them walking back to their home, and all that falls in between including Brian at a gallery, Twist reminiscing at a bar, Mike’s genuinely sweet moment of sending off Sophie and Marsha and Mike bonding, it’s all top tier moments for the show. The music plays behind them as they wordlessly get on with their lives, leading up to Daisy and Tim, back where they’re supposed to be at home, watching television with their dog and happy as the door closes on the camera. It’s as if it’s Wright’s way of telling his viewers this is our goodbye scene; these were our moments spent with the characters. It’s trademark Wright, with the symmetry in his shots, and the sight gag of Twist’s face turning into Brian’s artwork; it all fits within the realm of the show. The set piece, Tim and Daisy’s living room, they’ve become integral focal points in the show and the door closing on their lives for the time being is a perfect way to end.

You could argue there’s a bit of ambiguity with Tim and Daisy at the end, seemingly toeing the more affectionate line of their relationship (and I know there’s a video out there that shows an epilogue of sorts to the two of them) but whether they stayed friends or became more, it would seem like a natural progression.

I’m sad that the series ran as short as it did, even if it meant that Edgar Wright and company got to go off and create films that I consider to be some of my all time favorites. It packed a lot of heart and humor into such a short lived show, however, and that’s why it’s so infectious and so memorable despite its brevity. It tells a story, beginning to end, that is equal parts universal and estranged enough from viewers to be entertainment, and it does so with a precise and creative eye behind the camera lens. Spaced became an instant favorite while watching it, with Tim and Daisy instantly endearing themselves to me.

Spaced is a comfort show; it’s a show you revisit when you’re feeling down or lonely and meet up with old favorite characters again.

I’ve had such a blast reviewing this show! Now I’ll have to go and rewatch it!

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