Fresh Meat - In The Press

As you'd expect from the creators of Peep Show, this university comedy is a cut above - and the third series was the slickest to date. Jack Whitehall was born to play JP, the show's fabulously self-centred posho (he'd prefer "ledge"). Plain-speaking punk Vod - surely the coolest character on TV - revealed her vulnerable side when her mother came to stay, making her badly behaved daughter look like a herbal-tea-quaffing nun. Also vying for the best gags was resident oddball Howard who fell head over heels for their new housemate, culminating in the most delectably awkward first date in the history of awkward first dates.

The Radio Times, 27th December 2013

Since Oregon broke off that Tunisian student's penis mid-sex on Fresh Meat (Channel 4), I've wondered about our immigration policies. Why did he get deported, not her? Tony Roche's unexpectedly tender script for this series last raised another topical question. Aren't open relationships the hellish portals to mutually assured sexageddon?

"You shouldn't be messing with that," counselled Vod when she learned that Kingsley and Josie were that nightmare, an inhouse item in an open relationship. "That's black-belt screw-jitsu." Quite so, but that didn't stop the housemates adhering to Marvin Gaye's most demanding injunction, namely to get it on: Candace and Howard, JP and Josie (kind of) - even Oregon and Vod curled up together at the end after that unpleasantness over the student union presidential election. Where will it all end? "Before you know it, you're blowing a donkey in the car park." Let's hope Vod's wrong about that.

Stuart Jeffries, The Guardian, 24th December 2013

The residents of 28 Hartnell Road have just completed the best series yet of the undergrad sitcom.

Written by Ellen E. Jones. The Independent, 24th December 2013

The third series of Fresh Meat has been an altogether darker affair, culminating in a series finale that was disappointingly short on laughs, says Rupert Hawksley.

Written by Rupert Hawksley. The Daily Telegraph, 23rd December 2013

Sam Bain - the co-creator of the Channel 4 comedy - is hoping for another series, but what is next for JP, Vod, Kingsley and co?

Written by Susanna Lazarus. The Radio Times, 23rd December 2013

Fresh Meat's Vod is a cheerleader for girls getting it on gleefully without being in relationships, or weeping about it afterwards.

Written by Daisy Buchanan. The Mirror, 23rd December 2013

It's like student life. You're thrown together with random strangers. You make friends, laugh like idiots, do bucket bongs and bond during small-hours heart-to-hearts. Then you moan about the washing up, pair up, grow up and drift apart. This third season of Fresh Meat has felt a bit like this process - and not altogether in a good way. It's as if the writers are trying to keep the first-year fun going, rather than accepting that what once was brilliant has now run its course.

JP epitomises this tail-chasing confusion - he's no nearer to understanding himself and in danger of being left behind. Jack Whitehall's character remains the main reason for watching Fresh Meat however: his blend of idiocy, neediness and entitlement is still sporadically hilarious. But we've long since ceased to care about Josie and Kingsley's relationship, so the crisis point they reach in tonight's season finale doesn't pack much of an emotional punch.

Elsewhere, Vod and Oregon break up to make up and Howard and Candice edge closer to a change in relationship status. Can Fresh Meat sustain another series? The performances continue to partially mask the longueurs, but we hope they quit while they're just about ahead.

Phil Harrison, Time Out, 23rd December 2013

This third series of the university comedy has been the slickest yet, although students home for the holidays may want to enjoy this final episode in a separate room from parents who ought to know better. As usual, the best lines go to plain-speaking punk Vod, plummy JP and the house's resident oddball, Howard.

Here the latter pips them to the post thanks to a deliciously awkward first date with Candice. "I have them in case of earthquakes or meteor strikes," he says solemnly, when she exclaims over the romantic candles. "Or local authority mismanagement."

Claire Webb, Radio Times, 23rd December 2013

Relationships take centre stage as we bid a fond farewell to our favourite undergraduates for another term. Kingsley and Josie are painfully testing out the boundaries of an open relationship, Oregon and Vod are at odds over the student president election and Howard and Candice are giving each other longing looks - but will either of them pluck up the courage to act on them? That just leaves JP to do his own thing, which in his case means doing heroic amounts of gak and rubbing the neck of his guitar in a decidedly erotic fashion. Oh to be a student again.

Carol Carter and Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, Metro, 23rd December 2013

Until last night, this faintly tired third series of Fresh Meat had plodded. That disappointment, however, was both underlined and fully forgiven by the glorious seventh episode: a madcap installment that reminded us how good Channel 4's erratic student comedy drama ought to be.

Written by Iona McLaren. The Daily Telegraph, 16th December 2013

Not just a series of student stereotypes, Channel 4's comedy drama had moments of real poignancy.

Written by Andrew Collins. The Guardian, 16th December 2013

With Oregon canvassing for SU presidency, and Howard's birthday on the cards, no fewer than four parties kick off at the Fresh Meat digs simultaneously in this penultimate episode. Meanwhile, Josie discovers a kind of Grazia-world next door, where über-groomed young men offer massages at a moment's notice - and have a working shower. And JP is trying to kill Kingsley over his "affair of the mind" with Sam. Kingsley: "Women aren't possessions!" JP: "Stop talking in meaningless riddles!"

Ali Catterall, The Guardian, 16th December 2013

Fresh Meat's cringe comedy was in full flight this week with a campus occupation and a 'legendary' JP, says Charlotte Runcie.

Written by Charlotte Runcie. The Daily Telegraph, 10th December 2013

Tonight the university students discover their altruistic side after Oregon meets an attractive Tunisian. JP decides a sit-in is the perfect occasion to regain his "ledge" status, which he helpfully defines as someone "quick of wit, loud of voice, he's always the first person with his arse out". Even more deliciously cringe-worthy is Kingsley's protest song from the perspective of a lonesome drone.

Meanwhile, Josie and Vod endure enforced sit-ins and Howard jumps to conclusions when the new housemate makes him an unsolicited cup of tea.

Claire Webb, Radio Times, 9th December 2013

Fresh Meat's most bittersweet episode yet brought gallows humour and emotional clout, as Vod's mother visited, says James Lachno.

Written by James Lachno. The Daily Telegraph, 2nd December 2013

Vod's mum is coming to stay (JP: "You've got a mum?") and she makes Vod look like Dame Edith Sitwell. For starters, the terrifying Chris (Juliet Cowan, superb) insists on calling her daughter "Milly" - short for "Millstone". Elsewhere, Oregon tracks down her play's sole positive reviewer, and Howard attains Matrix-style enlightenment after reading Candice's feminist tract. Sadly, his well-meaning Google hunt for "ethically sourced free range porn" bears no fruit: "I would very much like to go back and take the blue pill," he sighs.

Ali Catterall, The Guardian, 2nd December 2013

The writers have finally remembered that Fresh Meat is not all about Jack Whitehall's JP, says Ed Cumming.

Written by Ed Cumming. The Daily Telegraph, 25th November 2013

The campus comedy has graduated to its third series, and with Vod at the fore and Jack Whitehall's obnoxious JP becoming likable, it's top marks all round.

Written by Scarlett Cayford. The Guardian, 25th November 2013

Just when you're wondering if Fresh Meat is losing its way, you'll notice the relentlessly amusing dialogue, the superb characterisation and the fine performances. And just when you feel like it's back on top form, you'll notice a certain vacuum at its heart; a sense that the writers might be running out of things to do with these characters.

Tonight, Oregon unveils her play - which appears to be a series of thinly veiled character assassinations of her housemates. Meanwhile, Howard gets in a fight and the rest of the gang sign up for a clinical drug trial. It bumbles along perfectly happily. You may not even notice the slight lack of focus while you're snickering at Howard's pre-fight training regime, enjoying Vod's cutting critique of Oregon's writing or marvelling at JP's 'incredibly strong' gap year stories.

But we're hoping Fresh Meat still remembers how to marry humour and drama - a climax that's both comically and emotionally satisfying could be a stretch this year.

Phil Harrison, Time Out, 25th November 2013

The reunion of the main cast made this the best episode of Fresh Meat so far, says Rupert Hawksley.

Written by Rupert Hawksley. The Daily Telegraph, 18th November 2013

There's a lack of cohesion about this series of Fresh Meat. The elements of comedy and drama aren't quite gelling with the same effectiveness, while it's telling that the series highlight so far - the orgy that never was - threw everyone together in a room. That collective dynamic has been much missed so far, with Hartnell Avenue's finest largely paired off and in danger of retreading familiar turf (Oregon and Shales, again?).

Still, the incidental pleasures are there courtesy of Vod's continued efforts to shake off Javier (this week: a Rochdale shopping centre) and JP discovering that girls - specifically Sam - can be both cool and funny. A little underwhelming so far, but probably only because standards have been set so high.

Gabriel Tate, Time Out, 18th November 2013

With Heather out of the picture, Kingsley and Josie can finally get down to the coupley stuff. First up, it's a camping trip to the country, fuelled by alcohol and lingering social awkwardness. Meanwhile, Vod's cunning (read, idiotic) plan to rid herself of Mexican boyfriend Javier reaches its end stage, though it turns out that abandoning him in Rochdale isn't quite the foolproof solution she envisaged. And the pub quiz provides the setting for the latest skirmish in JP and Howard's increasingly bitter battle over fresher Sam.

Gwilym Mumford, The Guardian, 18th November 2013

Fresh Meat has attracted a reliable audience with its lazy student shibboleths - the obsession with sex and partying, the disdain for housework - but if you took out the coarseness, erections and cynicism you could almost be watching Friends, a show about hugging. Horse laughs arise from the general shenanigans but in these inchoate relationships so too does drama of a softer sort. Vod (for me the least convincing character) may resemble something out of Viz, but her cartoonish wedding last week to a Mexican she brought back from holiday a week earlier drew in other narrative threads of resolution, pathos and reconciliation. For those of us old enough to have students of our own, Fresh Meat can be wearing but, three series in, is still surprisingly watchable.

Phil Hogan, The Observer, 17th November 2013

The Channel 4 show is one of the finest comedies to emerge this decade.

Written by Alice Jones. The Independent, 15th November 2013

For a show that started off relatively slow in Series 1, Series 3 has begun with a bang.

Written by Nico Adams. Metro, 12th November 2013

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