TV | Outnumbered – The teenage years

The final episode ever of BBC1’s family comedy Outnumbered has now been aired. Having followed the family since 2007, I was enthusiastically anticipating its fifth series. However, as the children turned 11, 13 and 17, reaching the teenage years we know all too-well, I was not fully certain what it was I was anticipating.

I still remember priceless moments from older series; Ben’s colour choice in chess evoked a Darth Vader-like impression; “black, ‘cos it’s the colour of death”, while Karen offered to give a stray mouse a funeral, leaving it “with cheese and bread for its journey to heaven. Or at least if it goes to hell, it’ll have cheese on toast”. The children were fantastically refreshing and delightful, while the parents provided the exasperation as they tackled the role of parental authority.

In this series, the parents continue to entertain us with dry wit as they battle with their children. The children however, appear to be at their best in past series. Karen’s once blonde, curly locks have become straight and brown, only enforcing the sense that she has lost that pivotal cuteness while Jake’s teenage self-righteousness reminds me that I am too uncannily familiar with teenage adolescence.

Yet the show successfully endorses the functional dysfunctional Brockman family. Since we’ve followed them for so long, we can’t help but feel affectionately involved with the Brockmans as they ride through the bumps and humps exemplary of any other modern family.

We can’t help but smile with  satisfaction as Ben overcomes his stage fright and performs the lead in his school play having been encouraged by his sister who finally shows her caring and sisterly side. As the series bows to an end the parents wonderfully acquiesce that they might as well “just let the kids sort everything out. Mind you, they can’t do any worse”.

Mamie Hamshere

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