TV | Fresh Meat – Were the characters always so devoid of charm and wit?

Was Fresh Meat always this bad? Has its cast of characters always been so devoid of charm and wit? I seem to remember being genuinely moved by JP’s (Jack Whitehall) reaction to his father’s death, I’m fairly certain I’ve even been amused so much as to chuckle on more than one occasion at the show’s first two series. Have I just become cynical and jaded in my old age? Or is the third series of Channel 4’s student ‘comedy drama’ that proof it’s gone past its expiry date?

It seems that much like your own housemates in real life, the more time you spend with the characters of Fresh Meat the more you want to murder them with a garden trowel. The emotional core of the show; Kingsley (Joe Thomas) and Josie’s (Kimberley Nixon) ‘Will they? Won’t they?’ relationship would be easier to feel invested in were the pair not the most annoying characters on television at the moment. I actually care more about the couples in the BT adverts. Howard (Greg McHugh) remains undeveloped and even Vod (Zawe Ashton) and Oregon (Charlotte Ritche) seem to have lost their chemistry but also to have forgotten the events of the last two years. The show seems to have hit a reset button. We’ve seen ‘Chelsea boy’ JP develop from antagonist of the show to annoying toff with a heart of gold only for him to revert back to villainy. Too afraid to let their characters grow and flourish they’ve undone all their previously excellent work, turning previously lovable characters into hollow parodies.

Armstrong and Bain, the creative team behind Fresh Meat don’t do heroes. Their greatest creations Mark and Jez of Peep Show fame, are deplorable but charming and you recognise there is some genuine affection for one another there or at least fear of dying alone. Why the cast of Fresh Meat choose to stick together eludes me. Why we should continue watching them eludes me further.

Ben Cook

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