Netflix is a figurative treasure trove of acclaimed and absolutely appalling works alike, with both offering their own unique appeal to the typical user, deeply invested in their own procrastination. Each week, ‘Queued for you’ will highlight the newest films and television series to hit Netflix worth taking time away from those supposedly important things like human interaction or sunlight.

This week we are looking at two raunchy British comedies, Fresh Meat and Scrotal Recall.

Scrotal Recall

Romantic comedies are hardly what you would consider as high art. Sure, Woody Allen’s quirky and charming ’Annie Hall’ might be the exception to the rule, but for the most part the cheesy Valentine’s Day messes hardly exemplify storytelling or filmmaking in any regard.

Yet over the last few years of our TV ‘Golden Age’, the romantic comedy has somehow, against all expectation, cemented its place in the television landscape as something worthy of our attention. American efforts such as ‘You’re the Worst’, and home-grown ‘Please Like Me’, are great examples, and another from the England has just landed on Netflix (And yes, England make shows other than Midsummer Murders).

Scrotal Recall, a co-effort between British Channel 4 and Netflix which has hit our queues with remarkable timeliness. If the name Scrotal Recall appeals to you in Jonny Knoxville-esque way, then this show isn’t for you. It’s bizarre, certainly. ‘Scrotal Recall’ suffers from an obscure detachment between show and title. ‘Scrotal Recall’ suggest bro-ish antics and chauvinistic triumphs. But the show, in actuality, is something much sweeter: A warm though adept analysis of relationships.

Johnny Flynn (Clouds of Sils Maria) stars as Dylan. We pick up just moments after the prognosis; Dylan has chlamydia, and quickly writes up a list of previous lovers with his friend Luke (Daniel Ings). The following typically British six episode season un-weaves a juxtaposed narrative. Each episode is titled after the previous partner Dylan is contacting, which serves as a refreshingly unique storytelling technique, as each episode feels distinct while building to a bigger narrative. Dylan’s relationship with Luke – but more importantly, complicated friend Evie (Antonia Thomas) – is explored non-chronologically, with the flashbacks jumping through the previous few years in each episode. As mentioned, its greatly refreshing, and could have easily failed had the writing not kept the keen pace that it does. Clearly, the season was conceptualised as a whole, and as such is free of any major plot holes. Production wise, the show utilizes it juxtaposed narrative to its fullest potential, and immediately establishes its own warm style which is uniform throughout.

On the acting side, the performances are beautifully nuanced and warm. They immediately establish a rapport with the viewer, like they were our own friends with their own histories and vices. Dylan is goofy and somewhat awkward, but immediately likeable and relatable. Luke, a self-confessed shallow womaniser, grows deeper and deeper with each episode. And Evie; well Evie drives a lot of the groups dilemmas. She feels like a real person, going through a real state of flux in her life. Together the cast is immediately relatable and complex, as we explore their numerous lovers and the nature of those relationships. Though it is the complex relationship between Dylan and Evie which drives a lot of the plot.

Fresh Meat

With the fourth and final season having dropped earlier this month, now is the perfect time to check out raunchy British comedy Fresh Meat. In the same vein as other comedies that straddle the line between comedy and drama, Fresh Meat flitters between raunchy, almost absurd humour and genuine, human sincerity.

Following the lives of the first years of Manchester University – the Fresh Meat of the school, ‘Fresh Meat’ sports a strong cast of eccentrically bizarre and wholly amicable characters. I implore every viewer to persevere through the shows early episodes, which clog along a bit, struggling to find its own voice. Where it finds it is in the aforementioned characters. Their escapades, their plights, drive ‘Fresh Meat’. The banter and recourse between the dysfunctional group carries the show’s four seasons.

‘Inbetweeners’ fans will be happy to see the bumbling Simon, Joe Thomas, finding his feet after the finale of that other raunchy British comedy as Kingsley (or the Pussy Slayer as he prefers to go by – masqueraded by severe delusions of grandeur). As a university student, it’s easy to associate with these characters, though they are of course exaggerated to absurd proportions. Kingsley is a man trying to find out who he is, gliding through stages of moustacheod hipster-wannabe, as well as an off again, on again relationship with Josie, Kimberly Nixon, who too is trying to find her place, vacillating through multiple degrees and universities. Then there’s Vod, Zawe Ashton, a badass harbouring a heart of gold, and a string of lovers. There’s Oregon, Charlotte Ritchie, who wants nothing more than to be just like Vod, and maybe takes that endeavour a step to far with a complicated affair with one of her tutors. Then we have J.P, with a gilded accent straight out of Downtown Abbey but a penchant for ill-fated and drunken escapades. He channels James Buckely’s Jay from the ‘Inbetweeners’, talking himself up, spouting all sorts of profanities, yet under it all, a dedicated friend. Finally there’s Howard, Greg McHugh. He’s wacky and bizarre; a lover of rocks and video games. And to be honest, what friendship group doesn’t have a Howard; the bizarre one who you may often wonder if they were a serial killer; or a Josie, or Kinglsey, or a Vod, Oregon, or J.P for that matter.

Like ‘Inbetweeners’, to an outsider the gang of ‘Fresh Meat’ may seem like a bizarre, borderline alcoholic group of exaggerated peculiarities. But given time, they warm on you, and before long, with all their wacky adventures and even wackier vices, they become friends to us.

Scrotal Recall and Fresh Meat are available now on Netflix.

 

Photo credit: By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33350862

 

About The Author

Nathan Schmidt
Contributor

Nathan Schmidt is a student at the University of Canberra and is currently studying Journalism. His interests include getting all his vitamin D from the glare of the Netflix logo on the TV screen. One day he hopes to pursue a career in journalism, and let that take him wherever it will.

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