How Not To Live Your Life

Tuesday 10:30 PM on BBC Three Premiered Sep 27, 2007 In Season


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How Not To Live Your Life Fan Reviews (3)

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  • A gem of a show from writer Dan Clark. Though watched by relatively few, How Not To Live Your Life sucks you into the inner thoughts of inappropriate everyman Don and his quest for something, anything with his new housemate, Abby. Great comedy ensues.

    Winterbehaviour's comment that he had overlooked this show on BBC 3 is a point of major irritance to me. Not winterbehaviour missing it per se (indeed, I had to be referred onto it after I'd missed the initial schedule), but the fact that most of the British public (at least, those with the kind of sense of humour that this show portrays) have also missed it. The problem is BBC 3 is a strange channel. It is not mainstream enough, usually, for wide viewing and thus gems of shows such as this one just fly under the radar and out the door before anybody gets their nose in. Miraculously and fortunately, this show has a reprieve in that the BBC saw great sense in picking this show up for a second season after the first was 6 episodes of genius writing and comedy.

    The show works on a number of levels. The first is How Not To Live Your Life's writer and star, Dan Clark. His character, Don Danbury, straddles the line between arrogant, senseless idiot (the aptly named, shall we say, 'willyhead') and sensitive, sweet funny-guy who no matter what he does, you end up rooting for. This is a basis for great comic potential as episode after episode we're pelted with Don's hilarious view of the world. In the course of six episodes we're treated to a moving in gone wrong, a camping trip that goes horribly awry, a fake wake (with a brilliant song), bad job troubles, an in-over-your-head corporate life and finally, a break-up that has 'potential'.

    But, far from just a platform from which to show Don's every-man hilarity, How Not To Live Your Life grounds the character in a love triangle sub-plot, or rather, Don's pining for his newest housemate, Abby (a great turn from Sinead Moynihan). Abby is tied in with Karl, a constantly unlikeable 'upper crust' charicature portrayed to perfection. This was a genius piece of casting, Don and Karl play off each other like chalk and cheese and the relationship is forever interesting.

    And then there's the wild card, Eddie Singh. David Armand is the perfect actor to fill Eddie's shoes, a man who is frightened of relationships with girls, has spent his whole life serving Don's grandmother and is only too happy to move onto Don when he moves in. Singh pops up constantly throughout with hilarious side-comments or misjudged opinions and he rounds out the cast excellently. And it's all supplemented by being a little edgy in show construction. Clark employs a technique where in any given situation, the audience is exposed to Don Danbury's inner monologue that is usually a number of things 'Don Shouldn't Say' or 'Don Would Like To Do'. It's unexpected at first but by the end of the series, you're waiting on these moments for what outrageous thing Don might say or do next.

    If you want to watch (an unfortunately short) comedy, with a lot of heart and humour, pick this one up. It may have flown under the mainstream radar thus far but that's no reason for a show like this to stumble and fall. 'Think with your balls'. It deserves a lot of praise. Brilliant comedy.