Suburban doomsday cults get the Channel 4 sitcom treatment in Everyone Else Burns
“The suburbs should be a crater by now”
I’m not quite sure how I managed to miss Everyone Else Burns on release, given that it stars the magisterial Kate O’Flynn, but thanks to the joys of catch-up TV, I was able to binge through its first series this weekend (God bless the six half-hour episodes format!). And I’m glad I did, as I found it hilarious though I worry that none of my circle have ever mentioned it (fortunately, they’re not involved in recommissioning things – a second season is due next year).
Set in Manchester, the show follows the fortunes of the Lewis family, members of a small but evangelical religious sect that believe the world will soon end in apocalypse. But whilst they wait for doomsday, the realities of hyper-religious living are proving harder and harder to bear for all 4 Lewises, albeit in very different ways.
Written by Dillon Mapletoft and Oliver Taylor, the show is really very, very funny indeed. Simon Bird’s David is the would-be patriarch, obsessed with becoming an elder but very aware of the loosening grip he has on his family. As far as his children are concerned, Harry Connor’s Aaron is drawing violent pictures of his father in hell and Amy James-Kelly’s Rachel wants to break out to go to uni and has met a boy (Ali Khan’s Joshua) who is helping her to do just that.
And his wife Fiona (the wonderful Kate O’Flynn) is really chafing at the heavily patriarchal rules of the Order that David can no longer enforce. Under the influence of outsider neighbour Melissa (an excellent Morgana Robinson) and the charm of fellow Order member Andrew (a delicious Kadiff Kirwan), she strikes out for independence in setting up a business, while still – sadly – demanding total obedience from her daughter.
The humour is always pitched as just the right level, avoiding outright mockery of those who hold faith. Rather, it uses the following of faith as a prism to look at human behaviour and interactions, asking how much we might forgive through that lens and how it potentially skews the view of the outside world. Highly recommended.