March 5th, 2006


Green Wing? More Like X-Wing!

Thanks to kieyra's incessant pimping, I have discovered the raucous hilarity that is Green Wing. What is Green Wing? you may ask. I've never heard of it, you may say. That's because it's a British comedy whose first series ran for nine episodes in late 2004. The second series is due to start up...very soon. The British television system is very strange.

So it may seem strange for me to even bother to recommend this to you people, who will, for the most part, not be able to watch it very easily. But you all know there are...other means.

Green Wing is a hospital comedy, but it's not Scrubs. It's rather unlike any comedy I've ever seen.

Let's start with the opening credits of the pilot, which I love. A sound effect of a propeller airplane taking off as the camera enters the double doors to triumphant horns. The music is all whimsical and dance-y, and a split-screen montage shows images of doctors running down hallways, doctors dancing in the halls, doctors wearing funny hats, doctors with camels, doctors riding motorcyles down hallways, doctors showing their asses. What you will later realize is that these are all images from the entire series, which means they had all nine episodes in the can before airing. In subsequent episodes, images are replaced with scenes from last week, but set to that same music, making them the most fun and least annoying "previously on"s ever. Especially when about half the scenes don't seem to be relevant to the new episode; they just throw them in to amuse themselves.

Another trademark of the show is the incessant use of speed-up/slow-down effects. It got very irritating in the pilot, but I got used to it. The same goes for the music, which I learned to love. While it's characterized by an overuse of record scratches, there are a lot of nice little guitar and string melodies scattered throughout, and they basically use the same score for each episode.

But really, what sets this apart from other comedies is the style, which, maybe a lot of British comedies are like this, but I've never seen one. Each episode covers one day at the hospital, but when I say "covers" I mean "shows things that happen." Because the show is very loosely plotted. There are maybe three or four plot threads, at the most, running throughout the entire series. They have a huge team of writers, the size you'd have for a sketch comedy show, which each episode kind of is. It cuts from amusing scene to amusing scene, scenes which, for the most part, have no real purpose but to be funny and aren't bound by the laws of continuity. For instance, one of my favorite scenes from the pilot is of one character walking in on another character weighing each of her breasts to see how much they would cost to send in the mail. inigo deems this "anarchic humor," while I deem it "wacky and surreal."

Quick rundown of the characters:

Dr. Caroline Todd: Our entrypoint to the series, as she's the new doctor, completely confounded by her new co-workers. She's basically the straight man.

Dr. Guy Secretan: Every show needs an obligatory psychotic jackass. This is Green Wing's. I do think we've seen this sort of character a thousand times before (the sex-obsessed prick who's intent on bagging the new girl), but I think every actor puts a different spin on him.

Dr. "Mac" Macartney: The jackass with a heart of gold and a lion's mane.

Dr. Martin Dear: The one who always got picked last in dodgeball. He's entirely pathetic and insecure, but I love him. Probably the least assholish of the bunch.

Dr. Angela Hunter: Cute and blonde. Not much to say about her, really, as I think she's the most underwritten and underused character in the show. I'm not entirely sure what her purpose is supposed to be, except to give Caroline a female friend to talk to about female things every now and then.

Dr. Alan Statham: Oh, man. Alan is simultaneously extremely funny and extremely irritating. He stutters like a maniac and is the kind of character who, when caught with his pants down, will say, regardless of whether anyone comments, "So, you, you you you, you must be wondering why my, why my pants are down, and, and and and..." and then walks away. He carries on an illicit affair with Joanna Clore, who treats him like utter shit despite his romantic routine.

Joanna Clore: As mentioned above, she carries on an illicit affair with Alan Statham, much to her embarrassment. Her other character trait is an obsession with her age and how she looks.

Boyce: A resident who takes much delight in terrorizing Dr. Statham.

Kim: Kim is hot. And a secretary. I love the secretaries.

Naughty Rachel: No, that's how she's credited, really. She and Kim are the alpha females among the secretaries, much like Guy and Mac.

Karen: Which leads us to our Martin Dear equivalent, who can sometimes be found with a wastebasket over her head.

Harriet: Harriet cracks me up. She has like twenty-seven kids or something, and her character trait is that she is extremely absent-minded.

Sue White: You know how there is frequently one character who just makes a show? This is Sue White, the staff liaison. When an episode cuts to Sue's office, you never know what to expect. Will she take off all her clothes? Rub her face in cake? Pleasure herself? Dance to her ringtone? Kill someone? SHE'S OUT OF HER FUCKING MIND, MAN!

Most of the characters are awful people doing awful things to each other, and they don't really try to make themselves likeable. These are the most unprofessional doctors I've ever seen. They're the kind of doctors who will play pattycake during surgery. I'm amazed that any of them still have jobs.

The show is very thin on plot and character depth, but that's okay, because it's immensely entertaining. I love it, and you should too, which is why I wrote this post. If you need a laugh, come to the Green Wing. But if you need a doctor, for the love of God, GO SOMEWHERE ELSE.