TV: Breeders, Sky One

TV Review: Breeders, Sky One

My partner and I had a right old exchange of views about the new parenthood comedy Breeders. A bit like the disagreements that Martin Freeman and Daisy Haggard have in the show but with less swearing. I lost count of the number of fucks that Freeman in particular comes out with, but if this was intended as authenticity then parents swear a fuck of a lot more now than they did when I was first a dad. 

The sit part of this sitcom is pretty straightforward. Freeman and Haggard play young(ish) professional couple Paul and Ally trying to juggle bringing up two small children and holding down jobs. Now I think about it their names are pretty apt for their roles. Haggard needs sleep to avoid looking haggard, while Freeman would partly like to be a free man again with no responsibilities: “I would die for those kids, but often I also want to kill them” is the key line here. 

Apart from the potty mouthed bits of dialogue it’s absolutely spot-on relatable for anyone who has had children. The sleepless nights, the sheer frustration when just as they have dozed off after the umpteenth read of The Very Hungry Caterpillar they wake up again. The anxiety, exhaustion and desperation. It is so well observed I thought they had spied on me and added some cussing. Freeman gets the absolute rage and total love of being a father right, although he is better dressed than most dads I know. And their modern house is rather enviably stylish.

Later episodes will no doubt home in more on Haggard but in a way the first episode is very much Freeman’s. And as ever he exudes charm and watchability even when being grumpy and knackered. My partner compared Breeders to Motherland, which she finds very relatable, and I guess this opener could have been subtitled Fatherland. Or Fucking Fatherland. 

There’s also a nice cameo from Patrick Baladi (who like Freeman got an early break in The Office) as family friend Darren, who has no children but wants them and offers a parent-free perspective on parenting. Alun Armstrong (who looks like he hasn’t aged in thirty years) and Joanna Bacon play Paul's old school mum and dad while Stella Gonet is Ally’s mum and Spinal Tap’s Michael McKean is due to pitch up as another grandparent later in the run. 

The script is by Simon Blackwell who has worked on The Thick of It, In The Loop and Veep, so he knows about crafting a comedy and also about swearing. And Chris Addison directs, lending the whole thing plenty of energy. And Martin Freeman co-created it. The first episode positively zips by. It lasts about 25 minutes, though I guess if you took the fucks out of it it would be around a quarter of an hour.

Breeders, Sky One & NOW TV, Thursdays from 12th March, 10pm.

 

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