Review: Him & Her, BBC3

Him & Her

After a hectic week I had a pre-Xmas binge on Him & Her at the weekend, catching up with the fourth series on iPlayer. Having already seen the first episode it made sense to watch the final four back to back, movie-style, as they all took place on the same day in the same place – Paul and Laura were getting married, Becky (Sarah Solemani) was a bridesmaid and Steve (Russell Tovey) was best man. Having discovered in episode one that Paul was having an affair with council official Graham the scene was set for an explosive showdown.

I've dipped in and out of Him & Her over the years. Flat-based slackers Becky and Steve have been constantly loveable, but I've been regularly put off by Becky's monstrous sister Laura (Kerry Howard, Russell Howard's real-life sister, fact fans). Laura is simply so odious I've never understood how Becky could zip her lip and put up with her. Laura is selfish, malicious, attention-seeking, mean, vindictive, nasty and right wing. Everything Becky isn't.

They say your sitcom characters have to be likeable but Laura bucked this thesis in spades. In the current series, however, she went so far I kind of liked it. She turned on everyone from her family to the photographer ("Take the photo or I will cry") and the registrar (if I'd been the registrar I think I'd have probably walked out or punched Laura or both). When she discovered that Becky was pregnant, having concluded that she had conceived just to steal her thunder on the big day she threatened to tell Steve, presumably hoping that Steve would dump Becky.

In fact if anyone was going to be dumped it looked like it would be Laura, as Graham tried to persuade Paul to ditch her at the alter and go off with him. The story was perfectly pitched between high drama and low comedy – much of the humour provided by hapless, awkward chum Dan (Joe Wilkinson) who in one glorious silent scene randomly turned the electricity off. Dan is a late-entry low-key star of TV sitcomland this year. I felt for him when everybody else went off smiling in a big conga line and he lacked the basic social skills to join in.

There are plenty of excruciating moments that you will have to watch between your fingers. Most involve evil princess Laura, but there are also Becky and Steve's speeches. It would have been easy to make Steve's speech brilliantly funny but instead writer Stefan Golaszewski went in the other direction and made it excruciatingly awful. This series doesn't always upend expectations, which makes the moments when it does all the more effective.

If you haven't watched Him & Her yet I won't go into further details of the plot. Catch it on iPlayer and download it now. The performances are terrific and the writing is superb – Golaszewski has written plays and was previously in the sketch group Cowards with Tim Key, Tom Basden and Lloyd Woolf. His track record is good, but he has excelled himself here.

It all, of course, comes to a compellingly painful head at the end, but the biggest shock of all is that this is the final series. It's hard to believe it won't be back. I will miss Becky and Steve. But on the other hand I'm delighted I'll never have to spend time with Laura again.

Hello! Thanks for reading all the way down. I wish I could give you a prize. But BTJ needs your support to continue - if you would like to help to keep the site going, please consider donating.

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.