Director: Luke Snellin
BBC Three sitcom Fried is a six-episode season based around the staff of a Croydon chicken shop, Seriously Fried Chicken.
What starts off so broad and excruciating as to feel like someone’s havin’ a laff in the way that Ricky Gervais was with his When The Whistle Blows show-within-a-show in the second season of Extras eventually calms down and contains some funny lines, some cruel commentary and, yes, some actual laughs.
And there’s a character that appears to be poking fun at an Ali G-type trope, but it’s unbearable. To find any humour there, even in seeing the sadness of this character – a truly pathetic jerk – is like trying to find the silver lining inside the Star Wars cloud that was Jar Jar Binks. He’s show-ruining.
So Fried – about the ineptitude, boredom, dashed dreams and laziness of a thrown-together pack of disparates – does eventually have some charm. But I wouldn’t expect many to make it that far. Buried somewhere toward the end of episode three there’s a change, smugness replaced by actual smartness, the lines start to zing.
But saying this feels a bit like a form of Stockholm Syndrome.
Maybe part of the cleverness of Fried is that the way we digest it is similar to the awful fast food product it’s sending up: we know it’s no good for us, we have a go because we’re in a hurry or bored or lazy, it then turns to guilty pleasure and soon after we’re stuck trying to justify it to all…as a way of justifying it to ourselves.
I didn’t hate Fried. But it did its best to make me want to – and then it became (almost) palatable.