I discovered British sitcom VICIOUS last summer on my local PBS station and I immediately fell in love with this sharp and biting sitcom.
The story centers on Stuart (Derek Jacobi) and Freddie (Ian McKellen) partners who have been together over 48 years. The couple is joined by longtime friend Violet (Frances de la Tour) and cute, new twenty something upstairs neighbor Ash, played by Iwan Rheon, who you might recognize as Ramsay Bolton on the HBO series GAME OF THRONES. Freddie, Stuart and Violet soon become a surrogate family for Ash, whose own family is quite troubled.
While Stuart and Freddie’s banter can be quite mean spirited at times, the pair also share moments of tenderness that show why they’ve been together for so long. Violet, typically unlucky in love, adores the pair but is often the target of their barbs. But, knowing that her friendship with Freddie and Stuart is strong and deep, Violet instead turns her attention to Ash with not so subtle sexual innuendos. Ash being the sweet guy he is takes it all in stride.
In season two, which recently premiered here in the states, the show has made some subtle but noticeable changes. Stuart and Freddie’s flat has been brightened a bit with some new paint and better lighting; the once terminally single Violet is now married, although her husband Jasper has seemed to run off with his whereabouts unknown; friends Mason and Penelope who made occasional appearances in season one are now series regulars; Ash has a new somewhat serious girlfriend and the cast spends more time outside of Stuart and Freddie’s flat where most of the season one action took place.
The show was created by American writer Gary Janetti whose credits include FAMILY GUY and WILL & GRACE. If you’ve watched either of those shows you’ll automatically understand the wicked humor of VICIOUS. The show does have a lot of American sitcom sensibilities, but Janetti does a great job keeping the authenticity of the dialogue and world in which the characters live. Since the central characters, with the exception for Ash, are all well into their 70’s, this is a show that would have a hard time being developed in the states on broadcast television. It could have a chance on Netflix or Amazon given the success of GRACE AND FRAKIE and TRANSPARENT which stars actors in the same age range. VICIOUS is laugh out loud funny and I encourage you to check it out. You can find airdates and times for your local PBS affiliate at http://www.PBS.org.
Check out some great moments from season one of VICIOUS below.