TV From The Crypts: Spaced

SpacedpromoGreetings Evil Geeks, it’s C-Mart here commandeering the TV From the Crypts column for the day to talk about one of my recent favorites, a British import featuring a young Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, with an equally young Edgar Wright handling the directing duties. Way back even before there was Shawn of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, or The World’s End, the trio were hard at work bringing us a sitcom called Spaced.

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Spaced centers around a lowly comic book shop employee/aspiring comic book artist Tim (Simon Pegg) and his room-mate Daisy (Jessica Hynes), a writer who doesn’t actually write much, but still dreams of being a journalist. The series starts out with Tim being dumped by his girlfriend of several years, Sarah, who has been sleeping with a friend of his named Duane (played awesomely by Peter Serafinowitz in Episode 4). Tim wants to someday draw his own comic book called The Bear, but at the moment he’s stuck drawing pictures for his comic shop boss, such as “Wolverine slashing prices with his adamantium claws”. After having his heart-broken and being thrown out of his house, Tim retreats to a coffee shop to sulk in his misery. While at the shop, he encounters Daisy who is looking for an apartment but is having trouble finding something affordable. Over a series of days and encounters in the coffee shop, the two slowly become acquaintances. One day while perusing the apartment listings, they come across an ad for an apartment that’s cheap, but can only be rented to “Professional Couples”. Realizing that they both share a need for a new place to live, they decide to pretend to be dating in order to get the apartment. (Daisy has a long distance boyfriend for the first few episodes of the series, adding another complication to the situation). When they interview for the apartment they meet the landlady, Marsha, a middle-aged woman who seems to be constantly fighting with her never seen, bratty teen daughter (The devil in an A cup as she refers to her). Marsha takes a liking to Tim and Daisy, so when the duo moves in they are forced to keep up the appearance that they are in a relationship, going so far as to stage vacation photos and even making fake sex noises. Rounding out the cast is Nick Frost as Tim’s gun crazy friend Mike, an army weapons expert, in addition to Brian (Mark Heap), Tim and Daisy’s bat-shit crazy, artist, downstairs neighbor, and Twist (Katy Carmichael), Daisy’s flaky best friend who works in the “Fashion Industry”, aka a dry cleaners. The series follows the group of slackers as they try to navigate everyday life and filters their experiences through the lens of the pop culture the characters (and presumably the audience) grew up on. The show constantly refers to classic geek movies like Evil Dead 2, Terminator 2, and of course Star Wars. You’ll also catch tons of nods to games like Duke Nukem and Tomb Raider. Each episode is filled with Easter eggs, shouting out all your favorite stuff from the 80’s and 90’s.

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If you’ve read my review of The World’s End, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of the Cornetto Trilogy. Spaced was made several years before Shaun of the Dead, so with Spaced in essence you’re witnessing the birth of the Cornetto Universe. The humor is very similar, if not a little more raw and unrefined, but not in a bad way; its like a punk sitcom. If you look closely at each of the Cornetto films, you’ll see several call backs to the series placed throughout the trilogy. For example, in Shaun of the Dead you can see a zombified version of Tyres, the gang’s drug dealing, bicycle messenger friend. In fact, every single major cast member from Spaced has played a role in at least one of the Cornetto movies. You can see series co-star Jessica Hynes also in Shaun of the Dead as Yvonne, Shaun’s doppelganger, whom the group meets on their way to the Winchester. Overall the series has a feel that falls somewhere between Friends (except you know… funny) and Kevin Smith’s Askewniverse. There’s a non-stop parade of references to comics, movies, video games and all sorts of pop culture. One of my favorite jokes of the series is in the first episode, as Tim and Daisy are getting to know each other better, they begin talking about Scooby Doo. Each of them claims to have played either Fred or Daphne respectively while growing up, but as the camera pulls back it becomes clear that they’re more closely akin to the not so Alpha characters of the classic animated show. As i mentioned earlier, Star Wars is a solid recurring theme for jokes, with one of the best being Tim’s theory that every single event in the original Star Wars Trilogy (the “Good One’s” as Tim says) could have been prevented by one person: The gunner on Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer at the beginning of Episode IV. The humor of the show is almost tailor-made for the geek/nerd audience with jokes that still hold up today even though the show originally aired in 1999. Don’t let the fact that its British TV scare you either; if you’re a fan of Edgar Wright’s movies then you’ll have no problem appreciating Spaced.

Spaced-Mark-HeapBoth seasons of Spaced are available to stream on Netflix Watch Instantly, so if you’re signed up you can see every episode of this amazing series. If you’re a rabid fan of the Cornetto Trilogy, then you absolutely shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to see where the talents behind those films got their start. At the very least, you’ll be able to take away a few valuable life lessons such as the first rule of playing paintball: Don’t eat the paintballs.

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About C-Mart

A true Marvel Zombie, die-hard George Romero fan, Star Wars addict, Whovian, and life-long gamer. I make with the Tweets @CMart0979

Posted on September 6, 2013, in Recommendations, TV, TV From the Crypts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I rewatched season 1 for the article and just started rewatching season 2 today. I was nearly in tears during the first ep of season 2 when we see Tim’s reaction to The Phantom Menace. This easily is one of the best sitcoms of all time.

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  2. I binge watched this show about a year and a half ago on Netflix, and it’s now perhaps my favorite sitcom of all time. So many amazing pulp culture references throughout the show – I’m sure I only caught about half of them. As much as I love the Cornetto Trilogy, this is by far my favorite work by the trio!

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