With the way this year is going, we’d be glad for a holiday, even if it was with someone we’d rather avoid. Alas, we are destined to stay local and pine for the days of sun on a piazza, and a dodgy belly after a suspicious sandwich in a foreign train station.
If you’re feeling particularly blue about being trapped on your own shores, you might not want to watch BBC’s new drama, Us. Married couple Douglas (Tom Hollander) and Connie (Saskia Reeves) are in a bit of a pickle after Connie announces she’s leaving him out of boredom. The pickle then intensifies into full blown sauerkraut when they remember they’ve got a three-week tour of Europe booked with their indignant teenage son, Albie. They stand for some time in their huge size-of-a-London-flat kitchen, pondering what they might do whilst unpacking an undoubtedly overpriced Ocado shop. Their struggle truly knows no end. But once you get past the envy, there is a pretty nice show here. Hollander plays a broken man better than anyone, and you can’t help but have hope for their marriage. However, if you expected Albie to realise he’s incredibly lucky to have an all-expenses paid holiday and become less of an arse, you might be disappointed.
The reviews seem to praise this show purely for offering us a glimpse back to the life we once had. In The Independent Ed Cumming calls it a “vision of paradise, filmed before lockdown,” making for “classic Sunday night viewing… funny and touching and acutely observed.” This longing for the recent past was also felt by The Guardian’s Rebecca Nicholson, who notes “as strange as it is to feel nostalgic for such a recent period of time, that nostalgia was felt keenly.” But was the show any good outside of reminding us what we’ve lost? Anita Singh in The Telegraph says: “It all made for an enjoyable watch. But it needed more bite.”
First shown September 2020. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.