Newest Review: ... as certain events occur in Pete's life. This in itself is an entertaining enough premise and quite high-concept. For the most... more
Sitcom vs high concept
Pete V Life (DVD)
Member Name: cerys82
Pete V Life (DVD)
Advantages: Great central performance, amusing enough
Disadvantages: Perhaps not as clever or funny as it thinks it is
Pete vs Life was shown in 2010 on Channel 4.
It is a sitcom based around the trials and tribulations of a sports writer, the eponymous Pete, played by Rafe Spall. Clutzy and self-absorbed, we follow him through various scrapes that he both finds himself in and somehow manages to initiate. However, there is a vital difference between this quite generic starting point and other similar sitcoms. That is, that his life is being 'commentated' on by two sports commentators. They provide a voiceover as well as statistics as certain events occur in Pete's life.
This in itself is an entertaining enough premise and quite high-concept. For the most part it works quite well, giving an interesting perspective compared to other 'comedy of errors' type sitcoms. And to be honest, this helps the show to sustain interest throughout the series.
For the most part it is entertaining and silly enough, but this is unlikely to go down in any canon of great comedies.
The DVD also includes scenes which have been extended from those shown on the TV as well a brief behind the scenes documentary with interviews with principal members of the cast and crew.
Rafe Spall, typically known for his more highbrow performances, proves himself to be a really good self-deprecating actor. He clumsily makes his way through life, simultaneously irritating his friends, messing up romantic opportunities and getting close to achieving his sports journalist dreams.
This is a perfectly enjoyable comedy, I think with its 'high-concept' commentator gimmick, Channel 4 may have hoped that they would have had a Peep-Show style hit on their hands both in audience size and critical acclaim. However, I think it probably takes the concept as far as it can do without being too stretched.
The supporting cast are all very good, as the fall-people for a lot of Pete's slip-ups, and the scenarios chosen are quite good. For instance, Pete often falls into trouble by trying to compensate for his lack of success compared to his friends and peers and other recognisable quarter-life .
In conclusion, this is a perfectly fine and amusing sitcom which is well acted and executed without being anything terribly special. I would like to see another series of it, because I think that the concept behind it still has legs.
Summary: Entertaining but not brilliant comedy
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