Before there was The Office, there was People Like Us. A mockumentary in the style of the "docusoap" British reality television shows popular at the time about regular people and their ...
See full summary »
Before there was The Office, there was People Like Us. A mockumentary in the style of the "docusoap" British reality television shows popular at the time about regular people and their regular lives, People Like Us follows actors playing average citizens going about their days working (or failing to do so), with an inept interviewer in tow, frequently getting sidetracked or becoming haplessly involved with his subjects. It is perfectly droll and quintessentially British, with a slew of great deadpan actors, some of whom have gone on to gain larger fame.Written by
Chris Langham's fictional documentarian "Roy Mallard" follows people in various professions for a day in their life, to show that they are "just like us". Some of the episodes are extremely funny (the befuddled photographer or the dysfunctional police station are quite good). The humor is often based on embarrassment and, unfortunately, in some of the episodes, the embarrassment and the tension simply mount up and make it as unpleasant as a family argument caught on video.
In the best episodes, the humor rises more from sheer incompetence than tension -- not only from the professionals who have no notion of what they're doing, but from Mallard himself, an utterly inept film maker and interviewer. His voice-overs are pointless. His questions are insipid, and as often as not he'll receive a question answering a question and he'll wind up doing most of the talking. He also gets too involved, bumping into things and sometimes causing the very problems he films.
Occasionally a recognizable face surfaces -- Bill Nighy as the photographer, for instance. Most of the actors are suitably unknown and do a very good job playing real people.
This show is not for people who don't appreciate subtle humor and can't follow a running gag (a joke may be set up in passing in the first few minutes, with the payoff coming much later). The shows are mostly low-key, and Mallard may be sleep-inducing for some. "People Like Us" is at its best is letter-perfect but drags in the episodes where the jokes aren't working.
4 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this