Book Group Marathons

My partner and I are currently working our way through Book Group on DVD. Once you start the first episode of the first series, it’s hard to resist another episode, and then another until, before you now it, you’re onto the second and final series.

So many book enthusiasts seem to have missed this sitcom, which is a terrible pity for them. It’s not surprising this happened. To my knowledge, series one had its original screening in 2002, then was repeated the week before the first screening of series two in 2003. That’s it. So it was a case of blink and miss it. I kept an eye out for and then jumped when it first became available on DVD.

The sitcom follows a book group set up by Clare, an American who has moved to Glasgow and wants to find friends with similar interests. The people who arrive are hugely varied. This is deliberate. The comedy arises from the frustrations to the characters’ desires about life, companionship, and sex. They repeatedly fail to connect with each other partly out of the differences and even conflicts between each other’s motivations and outlooks. When one of them develops a longing for another, for example, it’s either never returned, or returned in ways both unexpected and unappreciated. For what sounds like a serious psychoanalytic narrative, the dialogue is actually shallow, but with implications that are subtle and intelligent. The result is a strange combination of lightness and cleverness that works a treat. Oh, and books are sort of involved. Each episode is structured around each meeting’s upcoming book.

The clip here is an edited down version of first ever episode (the narrative flow might not make entire sense!) There are some other clips on YouTube. Book Group is about my fourth favourite comedy series. Marathon viewings are recommended for weekends with wine, coffee, cake and any other major food group.

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11 Responses to Book Group Marathons

  1. What are your other three favourites?

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  2. Lucy says:

    The Hound!! I’d never heard of that program, I shall check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jonathan says:

    I remember this series being quite funny.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Stefanie says:

    I’ve never heard of this show before, but the I’m in the US. I’m going to have to try and get my hands on it to check it out!

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  5. Ste J says:

    I remember watching this when it first came on, I didn’t really get it back then, I think i was expecting in my naive way, a show about books. I’ll give it another go though, I remember quite a bit without even looking at the above edit. I need something witty after my second completion of the masterful The Thick of it.

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    • Jeff says:

      I showed the two Thick of It specials to a friend who stayed the weekend recently. Bit of a barrage really. “Are you OK with the swearing?” I found myself asking a few minutes into the first episode.
      I caught the second series of Book Group, but C4 repeated the first one the week beforehand as a catch-up for people like me. I recorded the lot. Myself and my partner wore the tapes out, so I leapt at the DVDs when they were released. It all seems so long ago now!
      You’re right, it’s not really about books – books are the pretext for a bunch of strangers to form their bonds while remaining estranged. I think the series originally picked up on what was a new craze in the early 2000s. I don’t see many book groups around, but then, I live in a literary wilderness.

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      • Ste J says:

        I agree with the literary wilderness, around Mansfield, their are a few readers I’ve met but other than that TV is more favoured. I think there is only one and a half people who I know locally with my taste in books, still it did push me to start the blog so silver linings and all that.

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