Monday, September 19, 2011


Saxondale only lasted for a couple brief seasons a few years ago, so I don't think many people have ever heard of it. My only exposure was in an interview with star Steve Coogan on Top Gear, which featured a clip from an episode featuring a character who was obviously based off Jeremy Clarkson. And the show is about to disappear from Netflix streaming (I don't even want to talk about today's Qwikster announcement), so even fewer people will have the opportunity to be exposed to it. Which is a shame, because while the show is a bit too slight to be truly great, it does feature one of the best characters I've ever seen in a comedy. Coogan plays Tom Saxondale, an aging pest controller who used to be a roadie for bands like The Who and Deep Purple (but not Led Zeppelin) and now bides his time as best he can. He has a pretty simple life, living with his heavyset girlfriend Magz and his teenage assistant Raymond, trading barbs with the agency rep who gets him extermination jobs, and going to anger management classes.

It's a pretty basic sitcom, with Tommy occasionally getting into trouble or delicate situations and having to work his way out of them. What's remarkable about it is just the character, who's a perfect storm of performance, writing, and makeup. The character is a complete transformation from Coogan's regular look, and it's well worth watching the show just to see what they do with it. Tommy is kind of a dick most of the time, often handling adversity poorly and feeling the need to control every conversation he's in. He's remarkably well-read and eloquent despite his appearance, but that just increases the know-it-all douchiness he frequently projects. At his core Tommy is still a good guy, though. He's faithful to Magz, he tries to use his authority properly when he has it, and he gets along well with people who don't annoy him, or who he doesn't annoy too much. It's the difficult balance between being a funny jerk and still being a likable person that the show usually nails, and makes the character so intriguing. There's only 13 episodes, but that just might be the right amount of exposure to the character. More shows should explore their concepts as well as Saxondale does without coming close to wearing out their welcome.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Better late than never. One of the funniest shows ever. Just saw it the other day.