Monday, 22 April 2013

S is for Spaced

Spaced is, without doubt, my all-time favourite television sit-com. I could wax lyrical about Father TedRed Dwarf , The Royle Family, The Thick of It or many, many other classics, but for me Spaced has everything. There are believable characters you really care about, pop culture references scattered throughout, a great balance between realism and dream-sequence stylings, a great soundtrack, fantastically frenetic music-video edits and, of course, the hilariously funny writing.

Written by Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes (then Jessica Stevenson) the series follows Tim Bisley, graphic artist and comic shop employee, and Daisy Steiner, a currently unemployed aspiring journalist, as they decide to rent a flat together. At the heart of the series is the premise that Tim and Daisy, despite being relative strangers when they first move in, pretend to be a couple, believing that to be a requirement of renting their flat. We meet some other residents of the building including Marsha, their wine-loving landlady, and Brian, the artist that 'rents downstairs'. Tim's friend, the gun-toting Mike, and Daisy's fashion-mad friend, Twist, also join the narrative as it unfolds, each episode revealing new layers of the relationship between this group of friends.

Right from the start, the writing is media-savvy, and aware that its audience is too. We are introduced to our main protagonists backgrounds cleverly through the device of them having to learn each other's history in order to appear as though they are a couple. This slickly edited sequence not only fills us in on the nature of these two characters, whilst referencing a number of different films, but also shows to us how little they really know each other. The efficiency of the exposition is incredible and, as a result, the audience are immersed so quickly and effectively, that the first episode flies by, making us feel that we have known these characters for a lot longer than we have.

Tim & Daisy = More Shaggy and Velma than
Fred and Daphne.
In the past, some people have suggested there are similarities between the character of Daisy, and I - something I've often shied away from. Sure, there is, in her, the journalistic ambitions I once held, the constant tea-drinking, the propensity to procrastinate, the love of plastic jewellery and the Velma-not-Daphne Scooby Doo characteristics. I did, also, once write a piece for the magazine called 'Winter Skincare Do's and Don'ts', as does Daisy, in one of her few published pieces of work. I would previously blush at the comparisons, perhaps because I could also see some of my less favourable traits in her character. Her laziness, insecurity and tendency to say the wrong thing when it matters most are things I can see in my own character. However, in recent years, I have come to see the comparison as a flattering thing, as Daisy is really quite a hero. Nothing says it better than this brilliant piece all about Ms. Steiner on Wit&Fancy (link).

There is an underlying possibility of romance between
Tim and Daisy throughout the show, but
crucially it does not diminish from the focus that
this show is about a group of friends.
Choosing my favourite clip from Spaced is pretty impossible. Episodes hang together so well that it is always hard to select one element that is more or less funny, immersive and enjoyable. I do love the idea of an unspoken telepathic mime-combat skills that exist within a group of men and the subsequent sequence after a night out in Camden. I love the cleverly intercut sequence from the very first episode where we see Tim and Daisy in a conversation that ends a relationship - only revealing at the last that they are not actually speaking to one another, but two other soon-to-be-ex partners. The final sequence in season 2 where we see the group reform after a turbulent time to the strains of Lemon Jelly's marvellous track, The Staunton Lick is so emotional. So many fabulous moments, such memorable scenes.

If I had to chose a favourite episode, I think I would go for Art, Episode 3 from Series 1. It features a marvellous opening sequence where a hallucinating Tim fights off zombies and Mike has managed a cross-country journey by train, whilst 'chemically refreshed'. Brian agonises over whether to attend a piece of performance art by his former partner and 'non-gender-specific-ex-chaste-heterosexual-lover', including a fantastic sequence where he chooses what to wear, whilst Daisy manages to get an interview at a new women's magazine. Like so much of the writing on the series, it interweaves the different characters' narrative strands together expertly, concluding eventually in a shared experience - the gang together again. Like Scooby-Doo, in a way. There are many stand-out moments from this episode but this fabulous scene, which features Tim attempting to console Daisy after her rather appalling performance at a promising job interview is just brilliant, in every sense.

If you've never seen Spaced, I heartily recommend it. You can get Series 1 and 2 in a boxset for less than £7! 


  1. This show looks awesome! Happy A-to-Z 2013! ~Angela, Whole Foods Living,

    1. Thank you, Angela! Hope you are enjoying the A-Z Challenge as much as I am :0) x

  2. That looks so funny!! I don't think we get it in the US?
    I'm going to have to look. I don't know the actors name. The lead. He cracks ME UP!! (I really should learn his name in that case!)
    A to Z-ing to the end
    Peanut Butter and Whine