The pursuit of love
50 years of Mr. Men
Dominic West is pounding on his temples, his eyes bulge out of the eye sockets and looks like a bullfrog that has sat on a compressed air pump and is only a fraction of a second away from the explosion.
“An adulterous woman,” he yells at Lily James, “is the most disgusting thing there is.”
Dominic is out of hand. But what choice does he have? Most of the characters in The Pursuit Of Love (BBC One) are riffs on a single note, cartoons with no depth or meaning. Uncle Matthew (West) is always mad. Yes, he’s also racist, choleric, eccentric, dominant, but these traits don’t add dimensions to his personality – they’re just different versions of his anger.
Most of the characters in The Pursuit Of Love (BBC One) are riffs on a single note, cartoons with no depth or meaning
His daughter Linda (James) is a hopeless romantic. And that’s all it is – forever talking about the overwhelming meaning of love without ever showing a little affection to anyone.
Lily has no choice but to exaggerate insanely. She screams, she cries, she gasps, she wrinkles. When she just takes a breath, she lifts and panted. It is exhausting. They’re both such melodramatic types, no wonder Lily and Dominic caught the eye when they shared an innocent lunch together in Rome last year.
As the second episode in this flimsy three-part adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s comic began, Linda married a Tory MP named Tony (Freddie Fox). We knew he was terrible because he was sitting on the parliamentary benches like Jacob Rees-Mogg after a speech in the House of Commons. What a rotter.
Linda soon realized the mistake of her way and ran away with a communist who one day appeared in her garden like a Marxist-Leninist dandelion. They galloped off to fight in the Spanish Civil War, as this was in the 1930s and was expected by left-wing aristocrats.
It wasn’t long before she was stranded at a Paris train station, sobbing helplessly on her suitcase. I was getting emotional too – I had a terrible premonition that Linda’s next pointless love interest would pop out of nowhere.
And so he did it with a ridiculous French accent like Fred Sirieix after an evening at Le Plonk. The novel itself was a minor matter 60 years ago, a second-rate Evelyn Waugh satire on a class of people who had already ceased to exist.
Writer and director Emily Mortimer (who also stars as Uncle Matthew’s terrible sister-in-law, ‘The Bolter’) clearly realizes that the story is superficial and irrelevant.
Hoping to make it seem timeless, she throws in scenes from other eras with a pop soundtrack. Andrew Scott painted his face with glitter as the extravagant Lord Merlin and danced to T. Rex. Linda was walking into a nightclub under a 1970s mirror ball when Bryan Ferry sang The In Crowd.
Mr Tickle and Little Miss Scatterbrain have been children’s favorites for generations, as Matt Lucas discovered in a funny anniversary celebration: 50 years of Mr Men (C4)
If you had trouble believing in the characters or caring about what happened to them, these incongruous musical interludes made it even more difficult.
Mortimer would do better to remake the show with the characters as Mr Men – Linda is Little Miss Heartbreak, Uncle Matthew is Mr Shouty.
At least that’s how we might like her. Mr Tickle and Little Miss Scatterbrain have been children’s favorites for generations, as Matt Lucas found out in a fun anniversary celebration 50 years of Mr Men (C4).
Matt read a story to elementary school students and met some of the artists behind the books. He learned about goods.
But really, he was here to dress up as the characters. As he was preparing to be Little Miss Sunshine, he practiced her walk – “a bit like Cliff Richard when he came to sing congratulations”. There is nothing better than a Eurovision hit.