I like Simon Amstell. I think he’s funny. I also think that in real life we wouldn’t be friends. He’d be probably be too mean to me. But in Grandma’s House, he seems like a nice chap.
Back for a second series, the first episode started it off well. I dipped in and out of the first series and didn’t really stick through it, but this was a good episode that kept me watching. So Simon Amstell plays Simon Amstell, he of T4, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, and writing on Skins fame. But he’s lost his flat and lives with his Grandma in North London. But the series he has written about with versions of himself and his family has just been commissioned where Simon Amstell will play Simon Amstell. That is until the end of the episode when his agent calls to say that perhaps they’ll get good actors instead. Yes, Simon Amstell can’t act – even as himself. But at least he’s consciously just playing himself. And as he says to his Mum (Rebecca Front), he’s stiff in real life.
I like Rebecca Front too. I think she’s a good comic actor. And I think she plays her Jewish mother role with more humanity than Tamsin Grieg in Friday Night Dinner. She’s a nice Mum concerned about her son’s sex life and acting abilities. She’s even willing to sleep with Alan Yentob (you know the one who looks a bit like Salman Rushdie) for her son’s career. Grandma’s House is actually quite a gentle comedy. The main object of humour is ‘Simon’. I think we’re meant to laugh at him because he can’t act and because he’s woken up with a 16 year old boy in his bed – who just happens to be school friends with his cousin Adam, and whose Grandma is friends with Simon’s Grandma. The boy ‘Mark’ calls him ‘Simon Amstell’ all the time and doesn’t want to take the hints that he should leave. There wasn’t much of Auntie Liz (Sam Spiro) in this episode but she does a great laugh-snort-tut. And then there’s Clive (James Smith – he was the stupid one in The Thick of It) who thinks he’s cool when he talks to ‘Si’ and tries to win Simon’s Mum back with his own version of Michael Jackson’s ‘You Are Not Alone’.
A nice gentle BBC2 comedy then. Maybe Simon Amstell isn’t so mean after all.