Thursday, January 15, 2015
The Thick of It All
I have just binge-watched the entirety of The Thick of It, and have found it to be greatly amusing. It's a trenchant, brilliantly acted, and clever satire--a darker Yes, Minister. The show's greatest fame comes from the scabrous, intimidating, Malcolm Tucker, the "Iago with a Blackberry" who raised obscenity to an art form.
Peter Capaldi was outstanding in the part, and the occasional grace notes--Tucker's consistent kindness to working class people, his secretary, his apparently sincere ideological devotion to his party, and his sincere, shocked remorse when he punched a colleague--only hinted at a more complicated person beneath the persona. Tucker ran off with the show, leading Capaldi to do a self-spoof, in which Malcolm "Tuckered" GQ magazine for its Christmas 2012 issue.
[Warning: Obscene. No, really. Told ya.]
But Conservative minister Peter Mannion had his moments, too:
They are surrounded with assorted imbeciles, time-servers, and connivers whose greed is only limited by their incompetence.
The Thick of It is a cynical show, with much to be cynical about, about the state of British politics. Mannion's world-weariness, or Tucker's flame-thrower antics are, all too often, the only choices on offer. It's a less optimistic show than the rather gentle Yes, Minister, for a less optimistic world. Ultimately, the show rejects both Mannion and Tucker, but doesn't hold out any really positive role models. Like Anthony Trollope's The Way We Live Now, The Thick of It provides only a diagnosis; cure is left to us.