There’s been a recent influx of scripted and non-scripted shows that focus on friendships. Some shows like Richard Ayoade’s Travel Man chucks two celebrities in an unknown place whereas Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing is more subtle and enables memories and nostalgia to drive the narrative forward. In this weeks blog we’re going to look at what makes quiet friendships so appealing to audiences and how significant ‘small moments’ are to their success.
Lets start with Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing, a personal favourite of ours. It’s not really about the fishing though, it’s about two funny blokes discussing the perils of modern life as an aging man. They reminisce about years gone by over small moments like having a drinking or attempting to catch fish, and it’s as genuine as it gets in terms of on-screen comedy. It really unlocks the important things about modern life by talking about fatal illnesses, mortality, food and alcohol – this ultimately separates it from shows of a similar vein.
Micky Flanagan’s Detour De France is slightly different to Gone Fishing, in the sense it’s a celebrity dragging his ‘non-famous’ mate around with him, rather than having two recognisable comics bouncing off each other. Micky cycles around France with an old friend he met during his days as a decorator, which opens up a whole new sphere in which civilian life mixes with that of a renown comic, giving the audience an opportunity to vicariously connect with the programme on a personal level in order to really relish the small moments of a friendship.
Detour De France and Gone Fishing are certainly un-scripted, there’s no doubt about it. But some on-screen relationships are sensationalised and exaggerated, causing a different portrayal of the on-screen characters and their relationship. Audiences are still baffled as to the extent of reality in Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s The Trip, which is an idea they play on in the show. They continually have fiery debates about each others careers and life choices.Brydon has revealed that he “would never have such a toxic conversation with a friend.” It’s easier to look at The Trip as more scripted in the sense that they have an agenda of exaggerating certain traits for specific effects, rather than Bob and Paul relishing the opportunity to discuss hilarious anecdotes without the restrictions of fabricated agendas.
Each show has its positives and negatives but one thing’s for sure, audiences can’t get enough of watching friendships flourish in front of their eyes on the small screen.
If you’ve watched both The Trip and Gone Fishing, which do you prefer? If you haven’t seen them yet, what are you waiting for?