Mum: reviewed by Llwynog45

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Mum: reviewed by Llwynog45

May 14, 2016 - 16:15
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17 reader reviews
Average: 4.7 (39 votes)
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Certainly worth a watch. Five out of five

Mum star Lesley Manville

By Llwnog45

I saw Kev review this on 'The Wright Stuff' and I almost gave it a miss because of his dismissive thoughts. I'm so glad I didn't.

From the writer of BBC 3's (Rest in Peace) 'Him And Her' - Stefan Golaszewski, Mum is a beautifully written comedy. Yes, even after one episode I can highly recommend this to fans of such comedy as 'The Royle Family'. Somehow it reminded me of The Royle family, as it points a finger directly at our own strange mannerisms.

Full of highly embarrassing moments, the dialogue is natural and witty. It's both subtle and warm, and you'll cringe when Kelly wants to borrow a pair of Cathy's knickers.

Certainly worth a watch. Five out of five.

There are 17 Comments

Kevin O'Sullivan's picture

Thanks for the review disagreeing with me. I know I'm unusual in this respect, but I didn't like Him & Her much. And while I thought Mum was OK-ish, it didn't make me laugh once. I hate toilet jokes, writer Stefan Golaszewski loves them. Huston, we have a problem. Apart from Mum, excellently played by Lesley Manville, every character is an over-written stereotype. The snobby daughter-in-law is crudely OTT. But not as much as that ridiculous girlfriend Kelly. As if she'd ask to borrow underwear from her boyfriend's grieving mother. As if when Mum went to the loo, Kelly would ask "Number one or twos?" I mean, come on! For me this stuff doesn't ring true, it rings the opposite. Anyway, everyone seems to love TV's latest depressing comedy... so I'm obviously wrong. It's just not to my taste. Enjoy.

Kram77's picture

I'm with Kev! The last twenty minutes might have been brilliantly witty and incisive but the first ten were so Neanderthal that I never bothered to watch. Mork had more sense of normal human interaction when he'd just landed from Ork than Kelly did.

Kevin O'Sullivan's picture

You and me against the world, Kram. Mum is by no means the worst thing I've ever seen, but it's really not that great. And it really doesn't ring true.

Anna May's picture

I wasn’t sure if I’d like this or not, but I found the first episode easy enough to watch. There are some very larger than life characters here and I couldn’t help thinking…I know someone like that…nearly every time a new character entered a scene. Had their behaviour as individuals simply been typical of ‘someone like that’, I would probably have given this a miss next week, but the fact they are over the top versions of themselves, might just make me either love or hate them all the more. I’m still in two minds, we’ll see.

Mum, Cathy, is trying to remain calm as she attempts to ‘go through the motions’ on the day of her late husband’s funeral. At first she appears indifferent to, and accepting of, all incoming stupidity, disrespect and downright rudeness, but soon reveals a few pent-up feelings and we begin to see a glimmer of her sense of humour and playfulness.

Pauline’s relentless horrible comments towards Cathy and her lifestyle are a bit too much to bear, but the fact they are left totally unchecked by her fella, Cathy’s brother, grate even more. Also, the elderly, deaf in-laws will have to bring a little more to the table than…well…oldness and deafness.

I have to admit, I did cringe and let out an audible ‘tut’ when Cathy’s son chopped the stalks off a beautiful bunch of flowers and stuffed them in a pint glass, but his ditsy girlfriend is actually very funny. Dare I say it, I had a friend exactly like that in my teens and twenties. Polite and well-meaning, but everything that came out of her mouth made people wonder if she was ‘all right’. She was fine. However, I do tire of seeing pretty young girls portrayed as bimbos, so I’m hoping Kelly will come into her own at some point.

I’m also hoping there’s a stronger story to be nurtured as the series progresses, because standalone episodes with not much going on other than bickering and a few funny moments don’t really do it for me. Next week’s episode will throw up more interest, I’m sure, now we’ve been introduced to the main characters. It made me laugh, so I’ll stick with it for now.

Llwynog45's picture

Seems it's Marmite. My wife wasn't impressed either. It's certainly more natural than c*** like 'My Family'. Yes, some dialogue is exaggerated, but it is comedy.

Kevin O'Sullivan's picture

It certainly wasn't terrible. Not was it very funny. For me, anyway. Most of it wasn't particularly true to life either. Although I liked the undertakers "keep calm and carry on" conversation. And Lesley Manville's good as Mum.

Nige Smith's picture

I quite liked this, it was nicely made and relied on the viewer thinking they had been in similar situations before. Lesley Manville played Mum with subtlety and warmth. It will not have many laugh out loud moments but it will give many chuckles along the way.

I hope it gets better and better as there have been far worse comedies commissioned by the BBC that have gone on longer.

Kevin O'Sullivan's picture

Seems to be the ultimate compliment for BBC comedies these days. "I've seen worse".

MM's picture

I thought it was ok. Personally I'd watch Peter Mullan in anything and it made a change to see him play a nice character.

I'll continue to watch as I think it will get better - presumably a romance between Peter Mullen & Leslie Manville's characters - and with both of them starring in it I can't see how it could be that bad.

Llwynog45's picture

By the way my name is Llwynog45 not llwnog45. Llwynog is welsh for fox, as I have red hair x

Llwynog45's picture

Was I right Kev? Episode 2 was even stronger. Lots of pathos and humour. Leslie Manville under states her performance with panache. It's also bang on about the attitude of the young towards anyone the wrong side of forty.

The 'buttons' on phones was perfect. The 'romance' makes you want to come back for more. The writer, Stefan is a talented young writer. Can't wait for more from Mum and Stefan. Perfect!

Llwynog45's picture

It gets better, more painful, and even funnier. My favourite sitcom by far.

Llwynog45's picture

I had to write. Just watched the so called magician Richard Jones, I think he's called. He actually made me feel very ill. His 'magic' is so incredibly poor anyhow, but to glorify the military and war like he did, makes me feel like throwing up. The idea that we should all feel so incredibly proud of our military is so miss placed. This country, that has ravaged and pronounced war on so many countries, should be praised for their military prowess, I'm so sick of it. Not all of us are war mongering Tory voters. And when it comes to Europe I bet you all the rich, right wingers vote out, because they live in cloud cookland. By the way, even I could perform that trick better. Disgusting TV. My main worry as a Welsh man, is that if England vote out of Europe, what chance do we have? Labour will never get in in England again. Leaving the torries to rule us, and make laws we can never change. Please vote remain, and vote NO to more crap on Britain's Got Talent.

Kevin O'Sullivan's picture

Well, this isn't Mum. So I'll repost it on Britain's Got Talent.

Anna May's picture

A few weeks later and I’m starting to feel a little fed up. So many people love this…and I can see why, but I’m finding it hard to appreciate the emotion felt by the seemingly more intelligent characters as real, when their reactions to even the most provocative situations are so reserved.

I think if Cathy was less quiet and forgiving, I’d be far more inclined to believe in her character and, therefore, her plight. However, she and her hopeless admirer, Michael, just float from scene to scene saying, “Okay,” to all the nonsense said to them. Their subtly sarcastic replies may prove a superior wit over friends and family, but what’s the point in that? So we can elevate them above everyone else and respect them? Even I could outrank this lot in terms of brain power. Yes, really!

To be honest, I’d enjoy the madness of it all much more if the sensible stuff didn’t play like an afterthought, half-heartedly inserted to remind us that, actually, there’s supposed to be a sad story here. Cathy’s struggle to move on from the death of her husband and the underwhelming ‘will they, won’t they’ thing she has going with Michael are more like side issues, being pushed into the background like they don't belong.

Yes, we despair when Kelly follows Cathy round saying stupid things…and we all hate Pauline for being such a bitch to her, but only a few scenes have really touched me and made me feel something for the characters…especially when Kelly’s mum was introduced last week to give us some background to Kelly’s bizarre personality.

Sadly, I’m not so in love with Cathy and Michael that I can’t wait to see if they do or they don’t, but I’m watching through to the end because there are some really great stand-alone comedy moments here. Also, we’re starting to see further depth to each character…and I like that, but it's still so heavily contrasted with their outward behaviour.

If the plan is for Cathy to calmly bring out the best in everyone, I’m hoping the end of the series will see them somehow connect to where I can believe they belong in each other’s lives. Without that, I’m lost.