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December 11th, 2010

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09:00 am - Misfits
I still haven't quite finished watching both seasons of Misfits. I was quite critical of the young actors' performances after watching just the first two episodes, and I have changed my mind about that, which is why I am posting now to say I was wrong. To be fair to myself, I think the standard actually improved as the series developed, but more importantly I came to understand better what they were trying to do, and I can differentiate them better from each other. So all in all I was wrong. Sorry about that.

In particular Iwan Rheon as Simon is very good. His performance is brilliantly based on Ian Curtis of Joy Division, and he is in control of it, and also in control of the character development. This only became clear to me as I watched more, because at first I thought he was a one-note loner/weirdo, and I was also quite annoyed that the show was presenting him as ridiculous and unlikeable. Now I realise he's actually at the core of the show.

You know how you become a fan of a series and you think 'I am unusual because I prefer...' Jayne, let us say, or Data, or Vila. Some character whom the other characters within the story belittle. Then you find out this is quite a widespread fannish reaction. And that perhaps the character is patronised within the show, by the other fictional characters, but not patronised by the show.

Yes. Simon. I was wrong. Best character on the show. The other extremely good character is Lauren Socha as Kelly the working class girl. Again, a good performance which I underestimated at first. Great to see her doing her stuff, without compromise. She doesn't become likeable by becoming more middle class, thank goodness, she's just likeable.

I see that Misfits was created by Howard Overman, who was behind Vexed, the police series with Toby Stephens as a complete git. I took strongly against Vexed after one epsiode. Toby Stephens had a lot of dialogue similar to the characters in Misfits. I think the stupid twat persona works better when presented as a teenager, than when embodied by a mature actor. Smirking garbage just seemed grotesque coming out of the mouth of handsome grown-up Toby S, who is the age and physical presentation of people I hang out with. When splurted out by an immature tosser (for instance Nathan) you are prepared to work around it, assume he doesn't know any better, and see where he goes. When a guy in his thirties comes out with it, he comes across as having serious social problems.

The reason for that digression is I think Overman probably has a thing he is trying to do, about layers of character, and (for example) selfish men coming to value women, without losing the comedy sexism. But I think the way he chooses to do it works better in Misfits than in Vexed.

(8 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:December 11th, 2010 11:33 am (UTC)
Great post. I loved Simon from the get-go, although in particular 1x05 expanded on him a lot and every time he's onscreen he manages to break my heart all over again. I too felt that very strong Ian Curtis feel to him - which I think Rheon himself confirmed somewhere, as well as some judicious use of Joy Division music in the show itself.

Don't know how you feel about Nathan. Whether you love him or hate him, I think he adds a very distinct flavour to the show and Misfits wouldn't be what it is without him. To me that's why the first part of s2 hasn't been working for me as much as s1, simply because they seemed to have cut down on the Nathan humour. It returned with a vengeance in 2x05 though, which was fantastic to see.

Won't say any more for fear of spoilage. Suffice to say that I thought s2 is turning around pretty well, despite looking a bit shaky in the middle.
[User Picture]
Date:December 11th, 2010 12:39 pm (UTC)
Yes, I adore Simon now, and as you say, he's heart-breaking. I have been skipping your Misfits posts because people told me I ought to watch it unspoiled, so I've been careful. I did read the Ian Curtis thing somewhere though, I think in some interview with Rheon.

Nathan did really annoy me to start with, but as you say he adds flavour, and he is crucial to the show. It's so exuberant.

I have just watched 2x05 oops, I just watched 2.03 and got my numbers mixed up.

Edited at 2010-12-11 02:45 pm (UTC)
Date:December 11th, 2010 05:47 pm (UTC)
Yes, I didn't watch Vexed but I can see that sort of behaviour and dialogue would be much worse in a character who is meant to be, firstly, grown-up, and secondly, in a job where he is empowered to act on those prejudices in important situations.
[User Picture]
Date:December 11th, 2010 06:49 pm (UTC)
Giggling and saying 'She has a ginger pussy' about a corpse is arguably in character for Nathan, and all the others would say 'He's got something wrong with him.' But an adult detective acting like that just gave me the creeps.

I dunno, perhaps it somehow made sense after several episodes, but I couldn't get it at all.
[User Picture]
Date:December 11th, 2010 08:41 pm (UTC)
I dunno, perhaps it somehow made sense after several episode

Nope. It didn't. Worst show I've the misfortune of watching all the way through this year. The only good thing was that is kicked me into watching the third season of Moonlighting, that I had sitting around on DVD for ages.
[User Picture]
Date:December 11th, 2010 09:02 pm (UTC)
The same guy is doing Dirk Gently, which is this Thursday. Worth looking out for I think, despite the problems with Vexed.
[User Picture]
Date:December 13th, 2010 02:11 pm (UTC)
Interesting. TY for the updated review.
[User Picture]
Date:December 13th, 2010 02:16 pm (UTC)
I was so wrong before. I think it took me a while to come to terms with the point of the whole thing. I think I have learned to give shows a bit more time, if they are aimed at people much younger than me, because I might not get it.

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