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Spaced Newbie Recap, “Gatherings”

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I don’t see myself ever not saying this, but I loved this episode! It had me laughing essentially from the beginning until it ended, while allowing us to learn more about our oddball lead characters. The premise is again deceptively simple: Daisy, like many of us, is an enthusiastic procrastinator and decides to throw a party instead of sitting down to write anything.

The lead up to this is fantastic and offers some of the best visual gags. We open with Tim having a nightmare where he’s attacked by a monster, only to wake up, realize it was a dream and appear to be mildly disappointed by that fact. So, he jumps the monster suit that’s casually lying about his house. This show is ridiculous and I love it.

My favorite bit is a small one, but happens when Daisy is just beginning to try and put her work off, and tells Tim that it’s probably about time they clean up their apartment and get the moving boxes out of the way. Tim tells her that all of his stuff is neat and put away and Daisy goes to investigate, opens his door and it blinds her with cartoonish white glares coming from inside. It’s a brief bit but it’s hilarious and takes that familiar Edgar Wright absurdist humor and puts it in a recognizable setting.

Having had her distractions taken away, Daisy gets set to work and doesn’t even make it three minutes. There’s something grossly relatable in this seen as I’ve also had many days where I’ve sat in front of my computer screen, decided I needed to do something to actually be productive in my current task, and then just gave up for the rest of the day, calling it a waste.

This, of course, all leads us to the party. Until this point it’s really been Jessica Hynes’ episode, and Daisy is already growing into even more of a remarkable character. She needs a task and she clings onto it, and Hynes has maybe one of the most malleable faces I’ve seen on screen. She isn’t afraid to pull faces or make a weird noise, exaggerating her voice to unrecognizable levels and she sells all of it. Every part of Daisy feels real.

Once the entire gang shows up, it begins to feel a bit more level-footed with each character getting some fun back-and-forths. Brian continues to be amazing; we get to see his artist montage again, and it’s just as funny the second time around. The group has an effortless rapport with one another, and none of them seem tacked on. There’s little bits of knowledge that I’m beginning to love, but Tim not so secretly having some massive anger issues has to be one of the best. When he’s frustrated with Daisy’s procrastination, his concentrated glares when he’s drawing or his quick exasperation are all examples of his temper, and it’s nicely played against Daisy’s in-your-face optimism.

This is the first time we truly get to meet Tim and Daisy’s best friends Mike and Twist. Twist isn’t as immediately watchable as the rest, passive aggressively commenting on Daisy’s look and not so passively on Martha’s. I kind of love, though, that someone who is apparently wicked into fashion seems to have as little clue about it as everyone else.

And then there’s Mike, who’s just fantastic. Nick Frost is a genius, and seeing his first real role as the gun nut that’s traumatized by his past (brought to us by images of young Mike and Tim sitting in a tree, the former with a mustache) is a treat. It doesn’t just introduce us to Frost’s particular brand of comic timing, but also, wonderfully, his and Simon Pegg’s absurdly natural chemistry with one another. Listen to their dialogue when Tim is ranting about their party. It’s quick, smartly-written, and delivered with ease and neither one miss a beat. As someone who thought The World’s End was the best film of 2013 and who thought their performances largely aided that, it’s nice to see the work that started their partnership.

Can I please make it clear just how much I love how honest these portrayals of people hanging out are? So much of Spaced so far relies on heightened moments of comedy so when the show slows down, just a bit, and shows the characters in settings we recognize it’s fantastic. It’s a show built off of humor, sure, but it’s humor we get. Parties are awkward sometimes, and there is a moment when attending one when you have to question your age in some fashion, and it’s such a small detail to include on the show – but it’s an appreciated one.

However, we recognize the characters need to get out of their stagnant setting when they decide to leave the dejected paper boy and a passed out Martha and go upstairs to Amber’s party. They open their store, step into the bright hallway, and, in what must be an iconic shot, look up at the party goers who are nothing but silhouettes and slowly ascend the stairs.

I love this show and I can’t wait to watch episode three: the style, the music used, the references that I know are references but I can’t tell you exactly what they’re in regards to. Wright’s usage of foreground and background action playing against one another and his quick cuts and sound effects used with delightful glee are all so wonderfully woven in that it easily is already one of the few sitcoms that are unlike any other.

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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