a show which, from episode one, always had humour at its heart, and never (or only rarely, when it lost its way) took itself and the premises on which it is built, too serious. Its British and because, in the previous seasons, because it didn't tend to announce where something was supposed to be funny, whether it was poking fun at stereotypes of its genre or traits and characteristics of its protagonists or throwing a revealing light on embarrassing spots in human nature as such. Viewers outside of Britain, in particular, might have missed the tongue in-cheek and, as a result of missing it, take things at face value that were never meant to be taken serious. But the Brits probably haven't become aware of these reception problems only yesterday. They've found ways to wrap up shows like this in pretexts that, even when humorous undertones and other deeper levels are missed, can be seen as sufficiently rewarding on their own. But still, with such a large percentage of comments on sites like TV.com missing the funny side, maybe the makers felt they needed to step up a notch on the funny front (even more so after the entirely humourless US remake of the show started to air and people might get the wrong impression about the nature of the original). Maybe that's the reason that the humour of the show has become more overt and in your face now compared to seasons one to three. But the new intensity is just a change in pitch, not in genre or nature of the show. I'll give a bit more in-depth feedback about this aspect of the show in the "Stop Being Human" thread.
Making more obvious jokes now compared to the more subtle approach during earlier seasons might also be related to the change of actors and the need to produce scripts that would work for the new crew rather than continue to cover the same ground and have the new one try to fill the footsteps left behind, which wouldn't have worked, for obvious reasons. But the way it is being done now, it does actually work, at least for viewers that are open to something new and like to have a laugh.
Actually, I like this more obvious, in your face type of humour too. And this episode was rattling jokes on a every couple of seconds basis. Rather than smiling a lot and laughing out loud only once in a while, as in seasons one to three, this episode (and the previous one as well) had me laughing out loud *a lot* and a smile hardly ever left my face.
The only thing that got me worried was that there were the signs that this might be the final season There were quite few jokes that were too good to let them pass by but there can't be too many of them and, as they only can be made once, I'm concerned that the writers are shooting their remaining ammunition rapidly, not holding back - because there will be no later. Hope I'm underestimating the potential for gross jokes here, but I'm not creative enough to see limitless supplies.
Would be a pity. I just start to really enjoy the reinvented version with the new cast. The heaviness of some of seasons two and three is gone and the new dynamics found traction. I hope for some more, but signs seem to point towards a resolution for Annie. With her also gone, it is difficult to see a continuation, though, by now, I think the show doesn't need to depend on the strength of individual actors. It has shown it can reinvent itself, so why not go through a series of successive reinventions, depending on which actors are available at any given time. You can do it! I'll watch.
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