Simon Pegg, Jessica Stevenson and Edgar Wright’s Spaced was a classic cult sitcom from the late 90’s/early 00’s, and with good reason. It was weird, extremely funny, and full of pop culture references. Now we have Wasted, which aired it’s first 2 episodes on E4 last night, and it’s weird, extremely funny, and full of pop culture references… but also has Sean Bean.
Set in the West Country, Wasted stars Danny Kirrane as Morpheus (real name Paul), a dreamer who lives in the little village of Neston Berry, and runs Stoned Henge, a bong shop, with his sister Sarah (Rose Reynolds). They rent out space to their friend and tattoo artist Alison (Gwyneth Keyworth), who is also Morpheus’s crush… Not that Alison has any clue. The group is rounded off with Kent (Dylan Edwards), a failed DJ with delusions of grandeur, who sleeps on their couch rent free. He also has a past with Sarah…
There is a 5th regular cast member on the show – Mr. Sean Bean in his first major comedy role, as Morpheus’s ‘spirit guide’. Morph is a huge Game Of Thrones fan, and so Sean appears to him as the person he most trusts to guide him through those difficult early 20’s years. He is, of course, dressed in full Westerosian garb, and appears very much like Ned Stark.
The opening episode starts with Kent returning to Neston Berry after failing to make it as a DJ in Bristol – not that he’ll admit that to the group. To celebrate his return, the go on a ‘mad night out’… Cue fast cutscenes of hanging out on a bridge, and a kids playground, drinking cans of cheap beer. Having grown up in a small village myself, it’s a sight that’s all too familiar! The chemistry between the gang works really well, and feels like a group of friends that have grown up in that small, insular, environment, living in each other’s pockets.
When Sarah exclaims she’s leave and travel the world if she had the money, Kent accuses her of being too much of a wuss to do anything about it. And so, the gang hatches a plan to dig up a mythical stash of pills to sell, buried in a local field after a music festival in the 90’s – this was apparently inspired by a real news story according to the cast!
With the pills located, Morpheus, who refuses to believe they’re still viable, swallows a handful. Except these are 90’s pills… and still very viable… The timing couldn’t be worse, as Morph is about to chair a pub quiz, set up to impress Alison, after she admitted liking Jeremy Paxman due to his intellect (and the fact he has a large desk, which means he’s clearly ‘packing’). All this leads to a hilarious, if somewhat gross, scene between Kent and Morph in the bathroom of their local.
Episode 2, sees the gang stranded, when they are kicked out of a taxi because Sarah throws up after a big night in Bath – Stage 2 of the ‘7 Stages Of Sarah’. Stranded in the middle of nowhere, Sean Bean appears to Morpheus, and tells him his ‘quest’ is to walk the group the eight-miles back to Neston Berry. Excited to have a quest from his hero (even though Bean tries to backtrack on calling it a ‘quest’), he sets off to lead the group home. The journey is brilliantly represented on screen as an old 8bit adventure game, which takes them to a petrol station, where Kent takes a ‘street dump’ outside, only to be caught by Morph. Not wanting to leave the… erm… ‘mess’, for someone to find, the disgusted Morph picks up the ‘deposit’ in a plastic bag, an puts it in his satchel… You just know that’s going to reappear…
Wasted is not a show for those of a delicate disposition, but to just refer to it as a ‘gross out comedy’ would be doing it a disservice. The geek & pop-culture references are masterfully woven in by creators James Lamont and Jon Foster, from Morph’s vaping, to Twitter and Google maps references. The musical interludes, fast paced editing, and visual stylings throughout the show, are some of the things that lead it towards the hallowed group of a show like Spaced. However, it’s the wonderfully trippy appearances of the actual Sean Bean, happily sending up himself, which really add to it’s uniqueness.
Whilst some of Wasted’s humour maybe crude, it is excellently put together, and is laugh out loud funny. There’s a wonderful sweetness to the characters, particularly Morpheus’s love lorn longing for the (completely oblivious) Alison. And for anyone that’s ever lived in a small English village, there’s an awful lot of familiarity!
You can catch up with Wasted online now, and watch new episodes every Tues at 10pm on E4. If you want to know more, you can also listen to our Geektown Radio podcast, where we interviewed Danny Kirrane, Rose Reynolds, Gwyneth Keyworth & Dylan Edwards.
GT Rating: One of the funniest new comedies in years!