DVD Review - Reggie Perrin, Set 1
There's one thing keeping me from enjoying Reggie Perrin: a laugh track. Despite having the ever-funny Martin Clunes (Doc Martin, Dirty Tricks) star as the titular sad-sack misanthrope, the series sinks under the weight of the canned laughter that permeates through every episode. This show premiered in 2009! I thought we were all past that!
Reggie Perrin tells the tale of the titular character, who is dissatisfied with his life and everyone around him. He begins to come unhinged, having extreme fantasy sequences and blurting out the first things that come to mind. Sometimes that puts him in trouble, while other times he's able to escape.
You know how I said 'one thing' about a few paragraphs ago? Scratch that, there are actually two things. When you consider it, some of the writing couldn't survive without a laugh track. Clunes' great performance and character aside, a lot of the jokes simply wouldn't survive without the forced laughter from the 'audience.' The show does get better as it goes along, though; series 2 (also included in the set, out from Acorn Media July 19) actually has quite a few moments of actual laugh-out-loud humor, and even some that doesn't rely on Clunes.
Just for the record, there isn't going to be a 'Set 2' of Reggie Perrin. The show was cancelled after its second series, meaning that this set's the last of its kind. The show does end on a high note, thankfully.
Would I recommend Reggie Perrin? Probably not, though you might enjoy the set if you're a fan of Clunes or if you just happen to like sitcoms with laugh tracks. If I were you, though, I'd check out some of Clunes' other stuff. Demob, for example, is funnier and it doesn't have a laugh track, while next month's release of Doc Martin: The Movies has more laughs and more heart.