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!
The Walshes is a sitcom that got missed by people because it felt hidden on BBC Four, one of the more minor, specialist channels. This is a huge shame because it is one of the better, new sitcoms that I’ve seen on British tv in a while. At a time when it feels like BBC comedy is regressing slightly, with comedies like Mrs Brown’s Boys inspiring big screen iterations, the creator behind classics such as Father Ted and IT Crowd has a new, clever sitcom hidden away.
You can tell it is the creation of Graham Lineham because it is a fantastic, character based comedy that doesn’t rely on any base humour and lets the stories develop, unwind and then ultimately pay-off in a very clever and often unexpected way.
The sitcom simply follows an irish family as they prepare for an evening meal, meet their daughter’s boyfriend or try to have a “family night.” The comedy is in the very unique characters that Lineham has created. All the characters are distinct without being overly silly or unrealistic. I’m sure people watching will see some of the traits, characteristics or recognise foibles that the characters portray.
This is, of course, down to the fantastic cast who manage to bring these funny characters to life so well. They are led by patriarch and “stereotypical Irish mother” Carmel, played by Phillipa Dunne. She is a conservative Mother who is just trying to give her family the best, and is often tripping over herself when her efforts are either overshadowed, ill-conceived or actually overdo themselves.
Her husband is a disillusioned Father, who tries to be cool, current and is usually very embarrassing. He is brought to life very ably by Niall Gaffney. He has some of the funnier moments because of how ignorant to the situation he usually is. He has the best partnership with dim-witted, man-child Rory, played by Rory Connolly, who is immature for his age and a pain to his sister.
The sitcom is seen through the eyes of the most sensible characters, the Walshes only daughter Ciara, Amy Stephenson, and her new boyfriend Graham, Shame Langan, who is immediately mistaken for a doctor and has an unfortunate incident with hemorrhoids.
It can be anarchic, it’s usually quite silly but it is also very funny. It is a family comedy but based around a family of characters so diverse that it always keeps it entertaining. The other bonus, but also negative, is that the season is only three episodes long. It means we get three, quality episodes but also means we get so few of a series that has great potential. I do hope the decision to make more of The Walshes isn’t based on ratings because hidden on BBC Four for few people to find could be the downfall of a very funny sitcom.
Overall, The Walshes is what is best of BBC’s comedy output. It has smart writing, funny storylines and great characters. The situations are brilliant but subtle, with some very funny and heartfelt moments in amongst the chaos. I just hope it gets the further seasons it deserves.
Best Episode – Doctor Burger: The first episode isn’t necessarily any better than the others but does introduce the characters very well.
Best performance – Niall Gaffney as Tony
Should there be another season? – Definitely. There is so much potential in this very funny sitcom.
Season Rating – 4
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)