I love Jo brand. Since I before I was old enough to understand her humour a (too young to be watching) young me would sneaky watch like it or lump it on a Friday ch4 schedule. I love her stand up and I adore “Getting On” which I think the UK should be proud of as a successful British export.
So when Damned came out you can imagine I was delighted. It is of course critised for portrayl of incompetence but I think it’s important to take it as it is. A sitcom.
Professionally I think it is so crucial we have positive representation however personally I also think it is so important to laugh at yourself, to make sense of your situation using humour, and one of the healthiest coping techniques I know of is gallows humour..
I don’t think we are always annoyed at the programme I think we’re annoyed at the accuracy and frustration we see before us, the subtle observations of office life, like the painfully routine discussions about diets and dietary requirements!
The kitchen is so gross that it makes me appreciate the one I spend my lunch time in and I wonder if that is a deliberate gift Jo brands writing offers to us on the inside..
Quick interludes of intake calls, some humourous, some concerning but also an authentic and raw narrative tool. Jo brand, perhaps tapping in to her past life as a mental health nurse to good effect here as she did in Getting On.
Al impresses me greatly if not because I find him to be the closest representation of a social worker. But of course I live for any line Jo brand spits out.
The case conferences compels me to the screen me, this is where I think the writing comes into its own. Quick witted, hard hitting and painfully uncomfortable ending in the no win moral dilemmas of sock work and I felt heartened that in the amusement of Roses slippers and the charecter flaws that Al who was subtlety but closely followed through his quick duty assessment of a mother carrying out prostitution to make a better life for her children, but leaving them vulnerary to exposure to the children being accommodated and him re-evaluating his career expressed by that all to familiar feeling of resorting to a job application. Now I would state most workers beyond a year or twos experience have had that day. Maybe not that case but definitely that day.
As may be obvious I am a big fan of Damned, I know it might poke fun at our daily reality, and we need good representation, but is that channel 4s job? Should we really need to rely on a sitcom to give us the positive PR we so often lack.. I would argue not.