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Monday, May 30, 2016

Thoughts on Spaced

I watched Spaced last weekend, a 1999 British TV series created by and starring Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes. and I enjoyed it. There were only two seasons, of 7 episodes each. The show is about two slacker friends who pretend to be a couple so they can live in a great apartment in a house, and their misadventures with romance, seeking employment, befriending their oddball neighbors, and deciding what to do with their lives.

I liked director Edgar Wright's style a lot (quick cuts, flashbacks, imagining of schemes and plans, good punch lines and unexpected answers), and I could see precursors to Shaun of the Dead (Simon Pegg's character Tim is playing a zombie video game and imagines himself the shotgun-wielding hero with pre-kill one-liners) and Hot Fuzz (Nick Frost's character imagines himself as Neo from The Matrix, with long coat, shades, and guns).

I liked that Jessica Hynes as Daisy had a likable everywoman feel to her, as an optimistic woman who wants to be a successful writer, but distracts herself when she doesn't want to do hard work. I looked her up, and most of her stuff is British, I would like to see more of what she has done.
I liked Simon Pegg's energetic performance, though I didn't really like Tim, as he was immature and self-centered. But he and Nick Frost had great chemistry together as best friends. They both have this childlike enthusiasm together that is endearing and sweet to watch.

I also appreciated that the people in the house gained more depth than their initial weirdo exteriors, like a ditzy young woman who was funny and sweet, a seemingly antisocial artist who was sensitive and caring, and an uptight landlord who really wants to be accepted and liked by others.

The second season was stronger than the first, as it had gotten past the initial quirks of the supporting cast, and the characters seemed more grounded and less lost. The cultural references really dated the show (a Spice Girls "girl power" reference, The Matrix parodies, a Fight Club parody), but luckily there weren't too many of them.

So I enjoyed it, mostly laughing at the sight gags and visual humor. It was a pretty short-lived show, but was a huge jump-off for several talented people.

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