TV Review: Crashing Episode 1, Channel 4

Someone needs an orgasm”

After the Olivier Award-nominated success of her solo show Fleabag, Phoebe Waller-Bridge has now made the leap to the small screen with Crashing, a new six-part comedy which is airing on Channel 4. Reuniting her with frequent creative partner Vicky Jones, its set-up involves a group of youngish Londoners who have opted out of increasing rental rates and signed up as property guardians for a disused hospital in which they now reside. 

It’s hard to judge a series on its first episode alone but it does feel that Crashing has a way to go if it is going to work effectively. The writing does feel rather derivative – I kept having flashbacks to The One, with its repeated fake-outs – and rather too determined to be bolshy and indeed banterish, instead of, well, funny. The jokes about tampons, lesbian porn et al try too hard, the will-they-won’t-hey trope is deployed twice in this first episode alone, there’s work to be done… 

Where potential does seem to lie is in the quality of the cast. Waller-Bridge’s Lulu is a little too knowing-manic pixie dream girl to really work (that ukulele…) as the presumed spanner in the relationship of her old friend Anthony and his fiancée Kate but a relaxed Damien Molony and a repressed Louise Ford show promise. Adrian Scarborough brings class wherever he treads and I look forward to seeing more of Susan Wokoma’s character too. 

And despite the fact I should know better, the prospect of Jonathan Bailey’s bleached-blond possible closet-case estate agent Sam and Amit Shah’s nerdishly shy Fred maybe getting it on has its perks (thanks to director George Kane for the flash of the former’s abs), though the over-compensatory womanising may wear thin before then. So if nothing else, Waller-Bridge knows the gays are easy to please and we’ll watch the ensuing episodes of Crashing with more interest than this first episode perhaps merits.

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