Its Like If The Godfather And Desperate Housewives
Had A Child, And That Child Took Alot Of Acid
Its always been assumed that every country in the world brings something different to comedy, its own distinct style and way of doing things; Americans have lowbrow cheap comedy down to a science, in Australia deadpan and sarcastic barbs are a way of life, Canada has a way of finding the outright hilarious in every day life, Japan and most of the Asian countries have wacky and absurd everywhere you go, The Latin countries have guys in bumblebee suits getting pies tossed in their faces while secretly pining for the love of men named Stu who can't let Disco go, and ofcourse the United Kingdom has the thinking man's comedy, the comedy thats played off as serious and the quick and dry wit thats as sharp as a sword made of 440 Ginsu steel. And its in the grand tradition of The United Kingdom's ability to make a comedy out of just about anything at all, no matter how insane of an idea, and make it seem like the greatest idea of all time, I give you a somewhat forgotten gem of british comedy, the hilariously dark Suburban Shootout.
On the surface, and by surface I mean the beginning of the first episode, Suburban Shootout seems like the story of a middle aged couple; Joyce and Jeremy Hazeldine, and later in season one, their son Ben who returns from mission work in Africa, who move from the busy fast paced insanity of downtown London to a small out of the way hamlet called Little Stempington where they settle into their new roles, Joyce as a housewife and Jeremy as the head of the local police force. But life in this small out of the way town where there seems to be no crime, no youthful unrest, nothing happens in Little Stempington, there is never so much as a speeding car in this little town, infact Jeremy is told by his secondary officer, that no one's had to use the police siren in over two years, and the closest thing to a police matter they've had to deal with was the accident that killed Jeremy's predecessor, and that was quickly discovered to be mechanical failure. But as you can guess, nothing is ever what it seems in small out of the way towns where nothing happens, however its not Jeremy that discovers this, his wife Joyce, who is, by no fault of her own, forced into discovering the secret of what keeps Little Stempington running so smoothly, the answer? As anyone would have guessed by now, two rival gangs of housewives, who are, for lack of a better explanation, in the middle of a very violent turf war. Yes, you read that correctly.
Joyce unintentionally gets tossed right in the middle of this war, by means of members of both groups visiting and attempting to befriend her, and is reluctantly forced into the middle of this, for lack of a better term, gang war, by a woman named Camilla Diamond, who tricks Joyce into getting her fingerprints on a detonator used to blow up a local wicker store, and thus using this to blackmail Joyce into working for her. As the show goes on we meet Barbra Du Prez and learn the story of how things came to be as they are in Little Stempington, how it all started afew years prior with Camilla Diamond and Barbra, and how they were the best of friends, and one day happened across burglar in Camilla's home, and instead of running scared or calling the police, they bravely took the man on together, accidentally killing him in the process, and how as they bury the body far outside of town, they make a vow to never allow the criminal element to grow and fester with in their little town ever again. Barbra also tells of how things game to be as they are now, after recruiting their friends into their small organization, eventually a rift formed among the group and Camilla and two others; Hilary Davenport and Gillian Gordon-Moore, split off and became the very criminal element that they had originally fought to keep out of their small town, the other group consisting of Barbra as well as two others; Pam Draper and Margret Littlefair, who still believe in the ideals Camilla and Barbra swore too uphold, while still battling the now seemingly massive criminal element controlled by Camilla.
As the series goes, you learn just how deep this whole gang war goes, and just how many people are involved, and it makes you start to wonder just how many small towns something like this could happen in, or if there are any that its happening in right now. Its abit of a mindfuck in that respect, but as far as mindfucks go, this one's actually pretty damn fun. As it goes on, you see that Barbra and her group, though admittedly claiming to be the good guys, are just as insane as Camilla and her group, at one point Barbra is seen planting land mines where a planned low income housing estate was set to be built, claiming "low income housing is how it starts..", implying that poor people who live in estates are some how the criminal element, and later on going about trying to rid the town of teenagers wearing hoodies because they're a symbol of criminal activity, things like that, the whole time you're left wondering if there really is a good and bad side to this whole thing, or if one side just just slightly less evil then the other, but like any good gangster film, thats what you're supposed to think.
The plot and characters are pretty well flushed out and believable able overall, and though you don't really get much of a look into the lives of anyone other then Camilla, Barbra and Joyce, you don't really find yourself lacking though, they use the concept of just enough to make you laugh, but not enough to over stay their welcome, which is what an extended cast should be, and its main cast work so well together and toss such incredibly sharp barbs at each other constantly that its hilarious, you could almost have a drinking game with the insults, which ofcourse to most is the meat of the show. So if you're interested in an offbeat, dark comedy thats probably the most brilliant all be it obscure series in recent years, then give it a try. Shame though I couldn't find the pilot for the HBO created american remake, but then, that might actually take away some of the magic you know? So give this a shot if you really are up for something completely out there and different, and alot more funny then you'd ever expect.