REVIEW: Fresh Meat return is not so fresh but still packs a punch
We’ve long awaited a resolution to the university years of JP, Kingsley, Howard, Oregon, Vod and Josie, and finally it is here with the new year. The students that made university living look, well, like real life, are in their final year at Manchester Medlock University, except for poor Josie, whose drunken dentistry in first year has kept her behind everyone else.
The series returns for six new episodes, instead of the usual eight, but it will please fans to learn that the actors and writers are still on top form, even if the format and stories are a little tired after four seasons and three years.
This review might have been different had it not been for the introduction of Tomothy, JP’s older brother (the parents couldn’t decide between the names ‘Tom’ and ‘Timothy’). Tomothy, played by a fantastic Richard Goulding (and a bit of a ringer for David Cameron), injects fresh humour into the show as the ridiculously elitist elder brother of JP. If you thought JP was ridiculously lovable, Tomothy is just ridiculous – and it’s hilarious. His first course of action is to offer JP a job at his banking firm, doing something boring and suited, where JP can live a high life that consists of money, never seeing one’s family and working 5-9 (yes, 5-9, not 9-5). He casts aside JP’s dreams of being a lion tamer or penis artist, in the most eerily accurate parody of rich privilege the show can muster.
Vod tries her hand at drug dealing for one episode only, as she quickly discovers there is too much health and safety to selling illicit substances. After selling Tomothy a £200 pill, she is horrified to learn that the pill might be potentially lethal – sparking a hilarious sequence of her surreptitiously checking Tomothy’s temperature and blood pressure, as Tomothy attempts to cheat on his wife with Oregon.
Employing Goulding for this episode (and series, we’re told at the press conference afterwards) has really been a masterstroke, with the best of this episode’s stories revolving around him.
In other plots: Oregon has a self-help book for students out, Kingsley scores with her personal assistant, Josie’s getting separation anxiety, and Howard’s being… well, a heartbroken version of Howard, which is as one can imagine, vaguely terrifying.
Laugh of the episode: “You can call me the Fritzl of revision” – Howard, offering an alternative nickname for himself after Tomothy insults his decision to live in the cellar to revise.
Fresh Meat airs on Mondays on Channel 4 at 10pm. Catch the first episode on All4.