I review a whole season rather than individual episodes, so there is a chance of spoilers. If you haven’t watched the whole season yet, stop reading now!
Nick Helm is the biggest draw for the tv show Uncle. His stand-up is an aggressive mix of jokes and funny songs which seeps into the character he plays in this sitcom. This leads to Nick Helm being one of the highlights of a show that isn’t breaking the mould or doing anything we haven’t seen a hundred times before.
The “situation” in this sitcom is that Nick Helm’s Andy is stuck babysitting his teenage nephew Errol. Errol is awkward, mature beyond his years and the counter-point to the immature, waster that is his Uncle. It’s the idea that the kid is the adult and the adult is the kid but they need each other to develop and grow. It’s not new. Enough movies have done the exact same thing to varied success, both Big Daddy and About a Boy are first to come to mind. This means it’s all on the actors and situations to bring something fresh.
The actors manage to do this very well. Helm is as manic, crazy, angry and stupid as his stand-up persona the character is inspired by. Errol, played by Elliot Spellor-Gillot, matches the experienced comedian, throwing himself into a role that sees him take ecstasy, pretend to be gay and join Andy’s band as keyboard player.
This is the other draw of the show that isn’t as unique as it probably believed it was. The songs are comedy, highlighting some of the absurd situations the characters encounter, but as funny and catchy as some are, shows like Flight of the Conchords did it before and in a lot of cases, much better.
The actual stories that these songs integrate themselves into are also not so original. Helm’s Andy is mostly around trying to get back with his ex-girlfriend, a motivation that has been done to death in many other shows, not just sitcoms. This involves impressing her with a “kid” which obviously brings with it many other “comedy” issues. Most episodes are like this, involving an aspect we have seen many times before and even Helm’s manic style or Spellor-Gillot’s ability to charm as Errol doesn’t bring it above generic, sitcom fare.
It’s generic sitcom that is done very well. It has some great moments and the relationship between the characters is very charming. The stories are good, even if they are not original. It also has a great drama running through it, culminating in, again, a very charming finale. For all its generic nature, there is a lot to like about Uncle.
Overall, Uncle is a very well acted, funny and quite quirky sitcom that is all about the two central characters. Nick Helm and Elliot Spellor-Gillot carry the show very ably and are the charming relationship that keeps the sitcom interesting. The stories are average, the songs are decent and the jokes very funny in places… it is just a shame that the sitcom is quite generic overall.
Best Episode – Party Monster: A showcase for how good the relationship between Nick Helm and Elliot Spellor-Gillot really is.
Best performance – Nick Helm as Andy
Should there be another season? – There is more to see and it would probably work for a second season but I doubt I’d miss it if it didn’t appear on my screen again.
Season Rating – 3
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)