I have never been a great fan of Brian Sewell, but his review of ‘Vicious’ in today’s Evening Standard is spot on. I have only watched around 15 minutes of this abortion of a comedy, but it probably the unfunniest so-called ‘comedy’ to reach our TV screens this century. And there has been a lot of competition. How actors like Derek Jacobi and Ian McKellen can bring themselves to appear in it is quite beyond me. It plays up to every gay stereotype that has ever been invented and listening to the dire repartee almost turned me into a homophobe. As Brian Sewell points out most older gay men spend their dotage living quite ordinary lives devoid of the kind of homo-cattery so prevalent in ‘Vicious’.
How did this programme get commissioned in the first place? How on earth did it get past the ITV commissioning editors? Were they so desperate to prove their pro-gay credentials that they just took the first thing that was offered them? It seems like it.
They should have looked across the Atlantic to America if they want to show a gay comedy that is both genuinely funny and imparts a subliminal message – that hey, gay people are really just like straight people. Same emotions, same hangups, same dilemmas, same needs. I refer, of course to E4’ brilliant sitcom The New Normal, which I have written about before. It’s about two gay guys who want to have a child. There’s no buttock clenchingly ebarassing moments. There’s no ‘yuckiness’. It’s a programme you can watch with your mother and not be embarrassed. Whereas with ‘Vicious’ the only place to watch it is alone in a darkened room (No, not THAT sort of dark room!). Brian Sewell writes…
Throughout that half-century decent heterosexuals, politicians, lawyers and clerics among them, have supported homosexuals arguing for unashamed equality. To some extent this is now in place, but in society as a whole it is far from secure, and Vicious, in reviving all the old exaggerated jokes, the posturing, the determination to be heard, may well revive the pernicious prejudices against the faggot and the poof so long familiar to men of my generation. Remember the three teenagers who kicked a man to death in Trafalgar Square.
At such happenings men of my generation can shake our heads — we have seen it all before — but for any adolescent or young man troubled by what he sees as his unorthodox sexuality, keeping it undisclosed, Vicious may seem a terrible revelation of the distant future when the beauty of youth has perished. Imagine that boy, sitting with his family to watch this excessively publicised programme. What can his reaction be, other than horror — “Is this what I too shall become?” is the question he will ask.
Imagine another who, having recently come out only to find that his father not only disapproves but is disgusted, has to accept the contemptuous “Is that what you really want to be?” — for these are fathers for whom Vicious encapsulates something of the truth. I see Vicious as embodying an older meaning of the word — morally reprehensive, injurious.
Read Brian Sewell’s review HERE