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.