What has happened to the Thick of It?
I absolutely adore Armando Iannucci’s Thick of It and suspect I am not alone on the political blogsphere in this. Comparisons with the equally excellent Yes Minister are somewhat counter-productive because both shows are products of their era and both are therefore brilliant for different reasons. Malcolm Tucker, played by Peter Capaldi, is an iconic figure for the generation of spin; where media image matters more than principled politics. However, in the latest episode it is Tucker’s striking of Glenn Cullen (James Smith) that seems symptomatic of Thick of It‘s decline. The hilarity of Malcolm’s temperament is that it is all pretend and overblown not that he would actually action any of his threats; thus, it is almost cartoon-like violence.
Following the loss of Hugh Abbot (Chris Langham) Tucker is now one of the main reasons Thick of It still has funny moment. Abbot’s hapless blundering was much better and far more comedic than Nicola Murry’s. No matter how hard Rebecca Front tries she is a sour as her character is portrayed in the fictional press in the Iannucci’s imagined world. Now the team around Murry does not gel as well because they were all conceived as foils for Abbot not Murray so a new character or two might be in order. Although sometimes individually funny Ollie, Terri and Glenn look out of place in the new realities of the Thick of It universe.
Maybe more from the opposition would be nice too; as the Thick of It government is clearly Labour in power a satirical slant on the incoming Cameroon’s would add a welcome dimension to the show. Despite claims the show isn’t party political (it isn’t, when the ‘Opposition’ were a focus of a 14 minute special they were equally lambasted) it is perhaps worrying that the Thick of It should lose touch with current political developments as well as some of the spirit that has animated it.