Oh, That’s Well Lush! - Gavin & Stacey
Have you ever properly listened to a Welsh accent? You should, because despite my friend Liz’s passionate arguments against it, Wales is still an actual country and they have the cutest accents in the world. Like, really. Try to listen to a Welsh accent and not giggle like an idiot at their pure adorableness. This is relevant, I swear.
A Bit of Background
Penned by actors James Corden and Ruth Jones, sitcom Gavin & Stacey aired for 20 episodes on BBC between 2007 and 2010 and follows the long-distance relationship of the English Gavin (Matthew Horne) and Stacey (Joanna Page), located in Wales. The premise is simple: the couple meets through work, where they speak on the phone day after day, grow to like each other, and eventually decide to meet. It starts off giggly and silly, a simple story of boy-meets-girl, but fortunately it doesn’t stop there.
Why You Should Watch
The awesome thing about Gavin & Stacey is that it’s not about a couple. It’s about two people with passionate, involved, crazy families and the reality of what happens when you try to combine two very different lives. It’s a scenario most people can relate to - you love someone and you want them to fit into your life only to find that your life doesn’t necessarily fit them.
The real focus of this show is not only how their physical lives - jobs, living in two different countries, etc - work together, but the clashing madness of their families and friends. Both Gavin and Stacey live with their parents - Gavin with his overly proud mother (Alison Steadman) and down-to-earth father (Larry Lamb) and Stacey with her eager mother (Melanie Walters). This is where I’m inclined to mention the wonderful Welsh accents of Stacey’s family, because while they are not the reason to watch the show, they are a reason. Welshman Rob Brydon (one of my personal favorite comedians) portrays Stacey’s enthusiastic and relentlessly helpful uncle Bryn (“it’s Welsh for hill”), who is an unbelievable joy to watch. Hilarity comes in the interactions between Stacey’s quaint, easily amazed family and Gavin’s beer-drinking, raucous brood.
Finally, writers Corden and Jones portray Smithy and Nessa, Gavin and Stacey’s best friends respectively. The relationship between the two is a fascinating push and pull that will make you laugh, cry, and cringe - they are both opinionated and territorial forces of personality who are decidedly in control of their surroundings and fiercely protective of their friends. For me, Nessa is the absolute best reason to give this show a chance. She is an overweight woman who is completely secure in her sexuality and for once she is not the butt of the jokes. You are laughing with Nessa rather than at her, and the show takes no issue with her body type, the way she expresses her sexuality, or her confidence in both of those things. She is not a slut or a joke - she is just Nessa, and no one fucks with Nessa. It is refreshing to see a woman not be reviled for being sexually active but it is liberating to have her also be full-figured.
Wrapping It Up
Its packaging may look like your typical rom-com, but you will find this show to be a genuinely funny and touching look at what it means to be a family today. The lesson in Welsh versus English culture is the lovely cherry on top of the cake, with arguments between the two families revealing some major differences between the two. Besides, you’ve always wanted to see James Corden in a thong. Trust me.
Where to Watch:
Netflix - Series 1
Amazon Instant (free for Prime Members)- Series 1-3
Amazon DVD - Series 1-3
iTunes - Series 1-3
Pictured: Matthew Horne, James Corden, Joanna Page, and Ruth Jones.
Image property of the British Broadcasting Corporation