Top positive review
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I wish I could move to Clatterford...
on June 9, 2007
If I could scream from the top of the tallest Virginia mountain and have others hear me, I would. I would scream my heart out if only those sitting in New York comfy chairs would acknowledge the fact that the BBC continually, at times without effort, creates amazing television series with what seems like the least amount of effort. With the new shows coming out on American television lately we either need to have big budgets coupled with big explosions or special effects, big names to topple the ratings, or convoluted plots that keep us guessing till the very ending and still give us nothing - alas, the BBC continues to prove that theory wrong. Using a small set, justified plots, and big names - but combined efforts, the group from across the pond continues to impress me. This time, it was with a small, probably unheard dramedy, entitled, "Clatterford".
Inspired by the same minds that brought us "Ab Fab" and the team of French and Saunders tone it down a bit and bring the country into your own living room. With a subdued beginning episode that may bring a tear to your eye, it also brings us closer to this small town residence - half "Vicar of Dibly" half "Northern Exposure" and part "Gilmore Girls" lifestyle. What drew me into this show were the individual stories, the powerfully exemplified characters, and the simplicity of each episode. You don't go into "Clatterford" expecting Jack Bauer to pop out behind these ladies, which is a whole new level of watching television. "Clatterford" uses lackluster technology, beautiful scenery, and female swagger to tell a story that can be relatable to anyone, even if you live in a big city surrounding. I should mention, that isn't a show for your average male. Not that I am being negative about this, but the female to male ratio in this program is low - this isn't "24" hours in the life of a village, this is reaction vs. consequences coupled by togetherness. Sounding odd? These shouldn't seem like random encounters. This is about a village sustaining what we, as Americans, have forgotten about - our own people. The village in "Clatterford", albeit focused quite a bit on the local church organization, but surprisingly worked together. There is one episode dedicated to showing how this little gathering supports the little village. These women may not encounter each other if it weren't for this little group - and it is the gatherings and events that bring us, the audience, as well as these pivotal ladies together.
Oh, and did I mention this show was not just sincere - but also very, very funny. While I had trouble laughing at Dawn French's character of Rosie (because she is mentally unstable), she provided a small slice of enjoyment as the rest of the cast equally contributed. Of course, there is one stand out - which is the the central focus of some episodes, but it isn't overbearing. When I finished the series, I cared about each of the characters individually, which is hard to do with most modern American television series. Not to be negative about our television, but "Clatterford" far exceeds much of what I have seen here in the states. It is subtle, not everyone will get the intelligent humor, and it is rich in character development - bringing together an entire village to capture our hearts.
Overall, I would have trouble suggesting this television series to everyone, because it can get depressing, it can get involved, and it can get emotional (sans the explosions), all without the help of beefy men. Sounds impossible doesn't it? I know most will not get the humor of this program, but for me "Clatterford" was a simple show, complex emotion, and well-rounded individuals that bring humanity to a new level. I loved it. I could watch this short series again (especially the episode with the Christmas Pantomime). I will support this show, alas, I just don't think it will see the audience that it needs to in America.
Sign me up for two whole cases of these ladies' jam.
Grade: ***** out of *****