Nathan Barley - Thoughts in retrospect? Page 4

Nathan Barley. Nathan Barley (Nicholas Burns). Copyright: TalkbackThames.

Nathan Barley

Comedy series which mercilessly parodies the lifestyles of young London media types

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Tokyo Nambu

  • Friday 2nd August 2013, 8:13am
  • England
  • 189 posts
Quote: Aaron @ July 31 2013, 6:26 PM BST


By contrast, everything in Nathan Barley, from the characters to the settings, their clothes, their lifestyles, technology and really entire existence, was confined to the small north London media elite.

Part of the problem was that all the characters were loathsome, so you weren't clear who was supposed to be being satirised.

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Maurice Moss

  • Friday 2nd August 2013, 8:45am
  • England
  • 120 posts
Quote: Tokyo Nambu @ August 2 2013, 8:13 AM BST

Part of the problem was that all the characters were loathsome, so you weren't clear who was supposed to be being satirised.

I agree, but not to the same degree though. I mean Nathan and other idiots are out and out pricks - they're idiots and they're loathsome. Although I see what you mean, Dan was a prick - the closest "likeable" character was probably Claire (ignoring Pingu, and Sasha for a mo), and she wasn't that likeable either (although not loathsome).

That made me appreciate the show more, it didn't take the one dimensional approach by mocking idiots and ending up glorifying the non-idiots. It doesn't have to be so, does it?

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Godot Taxis

  • Friday 2nd August 2013, 10:12am
  • England
  • 5,243 posts
Quote: Maurice Moss @ August 2 2013, 4:28 AM BST

By the way, at the time, what was "They babble into handheld twit machines about that cool email of the woman being bummed by a wolf" supposed to refer to? Handheld twit machines, i.e.?

Mobile phones.

Quote: Aaron @ July 31 2013, 6:26 PM BST

By contrast, everything in Nathan Barley, from the characters to the settings, their clothes, their lifestyles, technology and really entire existence, was confined to the small north London media elite.

Well, it's East london, proof that Aaron isn't a c**t.

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reds

  • Friday 2nd August 2013, 10:13am [Edited]
  • Australia
  • 2,651 posts
Quote: Maurice Moss @ August 2 2013, 4:28 AM BST

Yep, agree. That seems very likely to be the case.

By the way, at the time, what was "They babble into handheld twit machines about that cool email of the woman being bummed by a wolf" supposed to refer to? Handheld twit machines, i.e.?

Hand held twit machine would be a mobile phone. The email might not be a particular email but just a reference to those viral emails that used to go around. I guess now as far as videos go, we would be more likely to just look at something on YouTube.
That's my opinion anyway.

I'm not sure you really need to know the world it was trying to mock. I knew very little about it but still got it. I only saw it a few years ago though, so maybe it goes back to what Aaron said about everyone being more aware of that type of person

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chipolata

  • Friday 2nd August 2013, 10:25am [Edited]
  • England
  • 29,293 posts
Quote: Tokyo Nambu @ August 2 2013, 8:13 AM BST

Part of the problem was that all the characters were loathsome, so you weren't clear who was supposed to be being satirised.

They were indeed loathsome, but they were one-dimensional loathsome. The Thick Of It is stuffed with pretty horrible characters, but I at least believe they're human beings. Nathan Barley just seemed crammed with cardboard thin tossers.

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zooo

  • Friday 2nd August 2013, 10:56am
  • England
  • 69,147 posts

Julian Barratt's character wasn't loathsome.

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Godot Taxis

  • Friday 2nd August 2013, 12:06pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 5,243 posts
Quote: chipolata @ August 2 2013, 10:25 AM BST

They were indeed loathsome, but they were one-dimensional loathsome. The Thick Of It is stuffed with pretty horrible characters, but I at least believe they're human beings. Nathan Barley just seemed crammed with cardboard thin tossers.

There wasn't enough distinction between them. To satirise Barley and Jonatton Yeah! and others effectively for the average viewer would have required a very straight character as a reference point which they clearly weren't willing to do. Think Rory Kinnear in Count Arthur Strong rather than Julian Barrett.

Barret also lived with the Noel Fielding DJ character. Why would he do that if he hated these people and wasn't part of their scene? Incidentally Fielding would have been much better casting as Barley but presumably didn't want to play a 'c**t'.

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zooo

  • Friday 2nd August 2013, 12:09pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 69,147 posts

Or they just didn't offer it to him. He's not exactly the best actor in the world, bless him.

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Maurice Moss

  • Friday 2nd August 2013, 3:33pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 120 posts
Quote: reds @ August 2 2013, 10:13 AM BST

Hand held twit machine would be a mobile phone. The email might not be a particular email but just a reference to those viral emails that used to go around. I guess now as far as videos go, we would be more likely to just look at something on YouTube.
That's my opinion anyway.

That would make sense, yes.

I'm not sure you really need to know the world it was trying to mock. I knew very little about it but still got it. I only saw it a few years ago though, so maybe it goes back to what Aaron said about everyone being more aware of that type of person

Yeah agree - which was again, my case too. I've come to read much of this criticism about this lacking relatability and being too niche later on - I was perfectly able to relate to many parts and was still largely unaware that it was supposed to be mocking this specific people in London.

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Maurice Moss

  • Friday 2nd August 2013, 3:50pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 120 posts
Quote: Godot Taxis @ August 2 2013, 12:06 PM BST

There wasn't enough distinction between them. To satirise Barley and Jonatton Yeah! and others effectively for the average viewer would have required a very straight character as a reference point which they clearly weren't willing to do. Think Rory Kinnear in Count Arthur Strong rather than Julian Barrett.

Kinnear isn't very straight per se though - he comes across as fairly bitter and selfish on occasions.

I get your point and agree that characters being all loathsome (well to varying degrees) probably made it hard for many to digest - but doesn't that actually make the sitcom somewhat unique in that respect? I don't perceive it to be a negative aspect, but rather a strong-suit of NB. And unlike @chipolata, I actually think it's the exact opposite of one dimensional. Ashcroft is a mess, he doesn't know how to survive in a world of Idiots - and funnily any resistance to not join the crowd just ends up to be much worse for him (refuses to write about 15peter20, tries to leave Sugar ape and ends up tossing off a builder). Was a painful watch, but I still was able to empathise with him - for being trapped in such a living hell and there was no way out for him.

Barret also lived with the Noel Fielding DJ character. Why would he do that if he hated these people and wasn't part of their scene? Incidentally Fielding would have been much better casting as Barley but presumably didn't want to play a 'c**t'.

He made peanuts (constantly borrows money from Claire) and the Idiots were everywhere either way - so I don't think he did have much of a choice did he?

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Godot Taxis

  • Friday 2nd August 2013, 4:43pm
  • England
  • 5,243 posts

You're a fine apologist for the show Maurice. :)

I hate DJs which is why I don't live with one.

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Maurice Moss

  • Friday 2nd August 2013, 9:34pm
  • England
  • 120 posts

Thanks mate :D I'll take that as a compliment. Obviously I really like the show, so obviously my perspective might be biased here. Still trying to be as objective as possible though :P I seriously think Dan staying with DJ isn't that hard to believe.

There are other loose ends though - the ending, Dan wearing balaclava etc. felt out of place to me. But that still lead to one of the funniest moments when Claire walks in on him tbf.

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Godot Taxis

  • Saturday 3rd August 2013, 1:00am
  • England
  • 5,243 posts

Yeah, well I like the show too! It's a shame if I've given the opposite impression. I still use catch phrases from it from time to time and as I said in the other thread I still play cock, muff, bumhole with my girlfriend.

The point is it could have been the defining show of the last few years. That it remains a cult hit is testament to the quality of the bits that worked.