Online Review: M.U.F.F

The beauty of the internet is that anyone can go out there and make their own programmes. As Richard Herring often says, it’s a joy not to have to compromise and edit your artistic vision to please a television channel.

The liberating nature of the web – and cheap filming equipment – also means, however, that maybe quality control can be, how you say, compromised. Sometimes an outside eye is useful. This is the case with M.U.F.F, the D-I-Y six-part satire on the TV industry created by Daniel Sloss, Tom Stade, Charlie Parker and Joe McTernan, in which Sloss stars as Lawrence, an idealistic innocent working for cynical production company M.U.F.F. In episode one Lawrence – don't ask – ends up black and played by Stephen K Amos. I said don’t ask.

The strengths and weaknesses of this show are pretty much the same. Put simply, anything goes. It feels as if writers Sloss and Kai Humphries simply typed out and filmed whatever they could remember from the previous night’s meetings/ramblings.  

So some ideas are brilliant, some are awful, some are not particularly original. Many jokes are at the expense of TV programmes and formats. There are Batman-style fight sequences, continuity gags, laughter track gags and send-ups of buddy cop shows (White Cop, Black Cop) and makeover shows (Pimp My Mom). There are video game influences, Tarantino and Zombie movie influences. It’s messy and amateurish, but what it lacks in slickness it makes up for in dark, angry cynicism.

What makes this eminently watchable is that everything is fired out so fast it is impossible to be bored. It all looks as if it has been done in one take so that if it is not the slickest production it certainly has a raw energy that could make it a late-night cult. Tom Stade is particularly good as coke-snorting boss JP with a decidedly cynical take on the TV viewer: “They want the same shit painted a different colour.” I don’t know what Sloss and Humphries have been smoking, but I’ll have some please. Though maybe not as much. 

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