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Exclusive to BBC Three, Ideal follows the life of Moz (Johnny Vegas).
Moz is a normal guy who, due to the location of where he lives, became a hash dealer by default. The series has a basic storyline, Series 1 following Moz's relationship with girlfriend Nikki, which is very easy to follow and bring lots of laughs. As well as following Moz's relationship, we meet many of his regulars, such as; new superstars Silicone Vallets, very dim Jenny and police officer PC. Each of these character's bring their own stories into the series but they keep these stories very brief so that you do not become confused as to what everyone is doing.
Providing hours of entertainment, Ideal is one of the funniest programmes that I have followed on TV recently. The characters have you giggling from start to finish and you soon become attached to them. The actors give some amazing performances and really have you falling in love with their characters, or hating them!
However, Ideal is one of those shows where you either love it or hate it. So I would recommend sampling an episode before you buy all of the DVDs.
Each episode if just under an hour long and each series has around 6 episodes. You could easily watch a full series in one day, maybe 2 if you're really into it!
I borrowed the first series off a friend and myself and my boyfriend became addicted. We purchased series 1-4 from Play.com at around £5 per season, however, they can be found cheaper on Amazon at £3.98 per season. We also ordered season 5 at £12.99, as it had only just been released.
Season 6 is currently being shown on BBC Three, on Tuesdays at 10pm. Or you can watch it on BBC Iplayer.
Following the life of small time hash dealer, Moz, Ideal is one of those programmes that you either love or hate. The first time I watched it was by accident, I was flicking channels during adverts and somehow never managed to finish whatever it was I'd been watching. Aired exclusively on BBC3, the episode I caught was part way through the second series and as the 5th series aired my partner and I decided that we would be able to follow proceedings better if we watched the earlier series and so we bought this, Season 1, on DVD for the very reasonable price of £3.98.
Set almost exclusively in a dingy bed-sit, Ideal is a gritty, surreal, over-the-top and yet somehow realistic character-led comedy-drama. Drugs feature highly in the subject matter, but not in a way that particularly glamorises them, this is a comedy about real life, and as hard as anyone tries drugs are a part of life and society. The lead character, Moz, is ably played by Johnny Vegas, I really couldn't imagine anyone else could bring the overweight, childish, constantly stoned slob to life in quite the same way. There's something about Moz that makes me feel a bit sorry for him, although there's lots of people passing through his flat, deep down he's so lonely.
Moz's customers are a motley crew, there's something in at least one character that you could recognise from your own life, even if you've never had anything at all to do with drugs. Brian (played by writer Graham Duff) is one of my favourite characters, with a new guy on his arm in each episode, camp as you like and a bit of a slapper. There's the thick as two planks childminder Jenny, some of the things she comes out with just crack me up, but there's no way I'd leave her in charge of my child. Colin's on probation and proud of it then there's Cartoon-head, a true nutter with his mouse mask that never comes off. And of course there's Moz's on-off girlfriend, Nikki, how she puts up with him I'll never know.
The whole season (and series) is set in just three rooms with an occasional glimpse or the stairs and landing, and this is very cleverly realised. The flat is suitably dingy, messy and lived in, it's extremely realistic and again I do know people that live at a similar (or worse) level of squalor. There is a great deal of drug use throughout the season, but this is handled in a realistic manner and rather than showing glamorous high-fliers taking cocaine, this deals with real people using weed and the effects it has on their life. Shot in an almost documentary manner with special effects that rather than being fancy, are more trippy with slow-motion being the main effect used, there is the feeling that we're actually there in the room smoking with Moz. The soundtrack is in the most part unobtrusive, adding to the mood rather than standing out.
The drug-taking is, however, portrayed in a very realistic manner. I can't help but feel that the actors have, at some point, rolled a joint or smoked a bong. They do actually look stoned, and this more than anything makes the programme feel very realistic. As well as the drama side, Ideal is most definitely a comedy. Many of the characters are played by established comedians and there are laugh-out-loud moments in each episode. The over-the-top characters and situations Moz finds himself in are genuinely funny.
Along with the eight 30 minute episodes there are a number of special features in the set which are actually entertaining to watch and add to the boxset rather than just being filler. The four audio commentaries are as entertaining as the episodes, full of banter with insight into the thinking behind Ideal. The blooper reel is genuinely funny and made me wonder how they ever managed to complete a single episode, but my favourite was the 'Ideal interview', where writer Graham Duff introduces the main characters while in the guise of Brian. The 'making of' is also above average, showing the development of the programme and the great rapport between the actors and production team. According to the case there are also deleted scenes, but as yet I've been unable to find them.
Ideal Season 1 is presented over two discs in a standard DVD case, this presentation is practical rather than stylish but the discs are nicely printed and better than anything I could produce. Picture quality is excellent as is the audio and on the few occasions I've used the subtitles when I've been watching this while my partner has been listening to music have been perfectly adequate, large enough to read but small enough to not distract from the actual 'action'
Even though I'm normally more of a sci-fi kind of girl, I must admit Ideal does hit the spot. It's genuinely funny, and yet it's far more realistic than most mainstream comedies. There is however a reason that this is rated 15, Ideal has definite adult themes. Drug taking is a major part of the programme, there is barely a scene where drugs or their effects are not involved. But this is part of life, people from all walks of life have at the least experimented with cannabis in it's various forms and so is something that many can relate to. There is also a sexual element along with some violence, including one slightly harrowing scene.
The characters, while over-the-top, have a real hint of realism and there's something in them that I recognise from those in my life. It's also easy to relate to some of the situations and relationships they find themselves in, there have been times in everybody's life when things haven't gone quite to plan.
So am I recommending this, and if so who too? Well, yes I am, although there is a lot of drug use, this is a slightly different style of programme to the standard comedy and far more realistic than say, 'Keeping Up Appearances'. Appearing to be aimed at the 20-40 year old with some knowledge of drugs, Ideal is a gritty drama based comedy, that does show the real effects of drug taking and takes the mick out of those effects. Good to watch while straight it's even funnier if you're slightly out of it. Added to the fact it's an excellent series the special features in this set mean it's even more value for money at only £3.98 from Amazon.
Title: Ideal Series 1(2 discs)
Running Time: 223 minutes approx
Director: Dan Zeff
Brief Story Outline:
This series follows the life of Moz and his array of wild and wacky friends as he attempts to make a living selling cannabis to the local populous. Along the way meet a weary secondary school teacher, an irresponsible babysitter and many more of the people who visit Moz to score some hash.
Character (Actor) Descriptions:
Moz (Johnny Vegas) is a hapless lay about who manages to scrape a living selling marijuana to the locals.
Nicky (Nicola Reynolds) is Mozs long-term girlfriend who also has a sexual relationship with
PC the local police constable and Mozs main drug supplier
Cartoon Head (James Foster) is a mysterious hit man who is commonly believed to be psychotic and has a disturbing secret concerning the local mass murderer
China (Natalie Gumede) is a 19 year old university student who, much to his annoyance, only sees Moz as a friend
Colin (Ben Crompton) is on probation, yet still seems to be trying to offload stolen goods onto Moz and his friends
Jenny (Sinead Matthews) A dozy babysitter who becomes pregnant with one of her charges children
Kuldip (Ronny Jhutti) An up and coming DJ who dreams of international stardom.
Episode 1: Moz learns of the arrival of a new drug dealer in his neighbourhood and has an unfriendly confrontation with him. Meanwhile Nicki gets sick of Mozs lazy habits as a rat moves in and temporarily moves out herself.
Episode 2: Moz learns that Nicki seems to be having a great time after having moved out of his flat. He also befriends a beautiful young student named China
Episode 3: The locals learn that a sinister murder has taken place in neighbourhood, with the victims hand being removed. Nicki returns to Mozs flat
Episode 4: Moz meets with some more colourful characters, including a pair of men who have formed a techno group called Silicone Valets
Episode 5: Moz and Nicki get a surprise visitor named Yasuko who, unbeknownst to Moz, only knows Nicki from a threesome they had while in Thailand. Nicki agrees to let her stay for fear of Moz finding out
Episode 6: Its Mozs birthday and Nicki tells him shes going to thros a surprise party for him. She invites all her friends and, much to his annoyance, none of Mozs. They agree to have an open relationship for the evening and Nicki proceeds to sleep with 2 other men, before finally going to bed with Moz.
Episode 7: Nicki finds out she is pregnant but unfortunately, after her night of passion, she doesnt know whos baby it is and so is hesitant to tell Moz. Meanwhile, Moz finally meets with his pseudo-stalker but a misunderstanding with Cartoon Head leads to his untimely demise
Episode 8: Moz and CH have to enlist the help of Psycho Paul to dispose of the body and prevent anyone from knowing what had happened that day. .. Also reveals to Moz that she is pregnant
Now Id heard several good things about this cult BBC3 viewing. I spotted series one for a fiver at Virgin Megastores and I thought Id give it a go. I enjoyed the first couple of episodes, as we were introduced to all the variety of characters who enter Mozs life to score some drugs. It wasnt hard to see that this was a very character driven show. But I have to say that after the first two episodes I started to lose interest.
The acting, as a whole, was reasonably good with the Moz role fitting Johnny Vegas like a glove.
Nicola Reynolds is excellent as the long suffering but promiscuous girlfriend.
All of the supporting characters, and there are many, are all proficiently acted but you would expect this with the amount of comedy pedigree that there is within the cast. Graham Duff shows off his acting chops as camp scally Brian but I think that my favourite performance was that of Jason .. He only shows up in a couple of episodes but I found the character he played(slightly depressed man recently dumped by his girlfriend) absolutely hilarious.
I believe that this was one of Graham Duffs first writing projects and it shows somewhat. The show does seem to lack ideas which leads to the dull repetition of some. I think that the stuff covered could have been fit into a 6 part series rather than the 8 parts and the programme would have, in my eyes, been much better because of it.
My big problem with Ideal was that I struggled to connect with any of the characters apart from, to an extent, Moz, but that may be due to my middle class upbringing, and the repetitiveness of the dialogue was almost reminiscent of a poor sketch show. I was considering giving up after the first disc(episodes 1-6) but I have to say Im glad that I gave it another chance as the last 2 episodes were absolutely by far the best in the series. Finally, there was some sense of a plot and it became more of a sitcom than the aforementioned bad sketch show, the sheer implausibility of the story and the culmination of events which seem to doom Moz to utter misery made it one of the funniest hours of TV Ive seen for some time. This helped to radically improve my opinion of the series and I shall be on the look out for the second series, with the hope that Graham Duff will capitalize on the experience gained from writing this and make Ideal into a much better sitcom and altogether a better show.
The special features on this DVD package are reasonable with the deleted and extended scenes presented in a genuinely unique way, with a police interview with Brian(Graham Duff), being questioned about the whereabouts of Cartoon Head.
The outtakes were the usual stuff, fluffed lines and copious amounts of swearing, but at 5 minutes long, just short enough for me not to get bored.
The making of documentary informs viewers of how Graham Duff developed the character of Moz and how they created his world, and also the reasoning behind how this sitcom was given the go ahead by BBC3. It also gives a quick look at each of the characters in the programme and how the writers and actors created their personalities.
All in all, a worthwhile purchase and well worth the money I paid for it. Although the series has a flabby middle, the beginning and the finale more than make up for this and I hope to see the 2nd series soon.
The first series about Moz, a small time drug dealer who has being selling from home for over twenty years. But he insists he is providing a service to the local community and he only deals in the best quality marijuana and nothing else. His customers are mostly his closest friends: an Asian DJ and police constable who is also his main cannabis supplier; a childminder; a camp guy who seems to have a new boyfriend every week and a man who always wears a cartoon mask.