WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH.
For someone who loves watching things, I am a terrible curmudgeon when new shows appear and then the new shows try to make me to watch them. I know what I like, and I know that anything new is rubbish, not like the things I already watch, and should be approached with suspicion. So when the trailers started in August for Channel 4’s new comedy Fresh Meat I was right in there with my so-called opinions about ‘youth TV’, and Jack Whitehall being ‘shit’.
So when December rolled around and I needed to move back to my home town for the Christmas holidays I needed to find something to watch, when my family argued about tinsel or so other crap. So I tried Fresh Meat out, rapier wit ready to tear it to shreds. It wasn’t required.
In the first episode (the only one written by creators Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain) we meet the eponymous fresh meat in their new student digs: five shiny-faced first-years at Manchester Metlock University, one invisible flatmate who manages to live there without being seen once, and Howard the conspiracy-theorising, chicken-blow-drying perma-student who’s starting all over again.
What at first seemed like a fairly standard comedy drama quickly turned into a clever and complicated set of examples of how hard it is to branch out on your own before you even really know who you are. Vod, the independent rebel whose street-front turns out to be for real is still deeply fractured and vulnerable, JP, the arrogant rich-boy prick who seems to have gone to university by accident and doesn’t understand these poor people in the slightest, actually just wants to be liked, even if he makes it incredibly hard. Josie, who has obviously been The Good Girl all her life, basically turns into an alcohol-fuelled sex machine over the course of the series. Because sometimes that’s what happens the first time you live away from home.
Jack Whitehall is not shit. Not in the slightest. What seemed to be him just playing a magnified version of his stand-up posh boy saying rude words turned into a wonderful show of a deeply insecure kid who’d been pretending his whole life and didn’t know how to stop. Great stuff. JP’s still a prick, mind, but he means well. Sort of.
The show’s Defining moment: Howard, having been tasked with looking out for Paul ‘The Invisible Man’ by Paul’s mum, decides to be thorough and installs CCTV in Paul’s bedroom. Turns out he’s OK: he’s just wanking. Constantly.
It could have easily turned into ‘Skins – all grown up ‘, but it’s somehow managed to avoid that while still being Edgy and modern enough to appeal to the ‘youfs’. Many times over the course of the show certain storylines have spoken out to me, and I kind of feel that this is where it excels. It could be used as a ‘GUIDE TO UNI LIFE’ but more than that it’s interesting and funny and heartbreaking at times. SO WATCH IT OR ELSE.