Coming Of Age is one of those shows that, patently, you either love or loathe. I say patently because Mof’s review of last week’s series opener provoked a huge response from our readers who either thought it was amazing stuff or the biggest pile of rubbish they had ever seen. I have to say that more people were leaning towards the latter view. One thing was for certain - BBC Three was obviously aiming it at its new, laser-like precision demographic. I was intrigued and was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, even after Mof had said: “Aside from this, there’s almost constant jokes about “wanking”, having sex and… it’s so tiresome and poor that it feels like someone could have filmed a fishtank with a human floater in it for 30 minutes and it would have been funnier and wittier.” I strapped myself in… and was amazed.
Related: Mof’s episode one review
So, the first joke. The scene: an acting class where the two main protagonists, Chloe and Matt, were reading through lines from a play called Dick And Fanny. You just know what was coming… (phnarr, I wrote ‘coming’ hurhurhurhur).
Drama teacher: “Chloe, your character hasn’t seen Dick since the war broke out. And Matt, your character is desperate… for Fanny.”
Oh dear. That was just the tip of the double entendre iceberg. The very first scene in the show. It was like watching TV from the 1970s. But with teenagers delivering the lines and not Richard O’Sullivan. It was weird.
The rest of the episode was a blur. Not necessarily a blur, but more of a smear. It was just one long smear of a knob joke.
What did happen? DK (a kind of Bez character) ate a slug, Ollie was mugged by a six-year-old and struggled for the rest of the episode to regain his confidence and manliness (as well as not being able to get an erection… where’s Pele when you need him?), his upfront girlfriend Jas was gagging for some “cock” and on one occasion pointed down to her lady part and shrieked, “she’s slavering like a starving dog… that needs a massive bone”. She also said, “I’ve got some Nutella, you can lick it off my tits”. I kid you not. There were some gay jokes, some more knob jokes, some jokes about not being able to kiss and some more jokes about sexy parts.
Every single line was peppered with both single and double entendres – it was like a teenage Carry On film. Without the finesse.
I was sitting there asking myself whether this was just about the worse thing I had ever seen in my life, but also: Am I really the target audience? Am I being too hard on this?
After some consideration, I think I wasn’t being too hard (the writers would have made a joke about that last sentence… you know… hard… hurhurhurhur). I enjoyed my sixth form years very much, I seem to remember, and got into some scrapes myself. But would I have found this funny? I really don’t think so. Even the people that I despised at sixth form didn’t plumb the depths like this.
One of the things that really weirded me out – apart from the shudderingly dreadful writing, the crushingly relentless stream of knob and fanny jokes and just how shockingly awful it was – was the fact that there were so many accents knocking about. There was a Welsh person, a Brummie, a cockney and two neutral accented people. Where’s all this poly-accented stuff coming from? Could it be the BBC trying to hit its quotas again? I don’t remember going to school with so many differently accented people.
I know this is a random thing, but I had to do something to deflect the utter rubbishness.
But honestly, after the first 10 minutes I realised I had never felt such rancour towards a television programme. It was just so insulting to the viewer. E4′s The Inbetweeners proved you can do a teen gross-out comedy with style, but this missed the mark like a blind archer.
And BBC Three? What on earth are you doing putting out this steamer? Oh man, you should be ashamed of yourselves.