Predictable, boring, offensive and most of all, not funny, Benidorm’s seventh series premiere left me completely unimpressed. For those of you lucky enough to have not heard of the show, Benidorm follows several holiday-goers on their sun, sex and stupid stay in an all-inclusive resort hotel in the Spanish tourist city of Benidorm.
When the title sequence began, I had very few expectations. I had heard that the show was quite popular, and had been nominated for a couple of awards back in the day. I suppose I expected it to be alright – funny, but perhaps losing its charm and originality after running for so many seasons. What I didn’t expect was a coma-inducing show that forced my brain to go into lockdown to protect itself.
The thing is, I should have seen it coming. There I was, vegetating on my bed, Coke in one hand, popcorn in the other and laptop on stomach in true Christmas holiday repose, all ready to be amused. As the title sequence rolled on, showing images of the various characters, an image of a line of men with their swimming trunks slung a bit too low popped up. That should have been my first hint.
Benidorm does not do subtlety.
As the show went on, I was subjected to more and more obvious, unintelligent, bodily humour. Jacqueline, an elderly swinger, rushes off for a “quick wee” in the hotel pool. Hilarious. Les/Lesley, the resident cross-dresser, asks the “casanova” Mateo: “Oh you’re not having one of them vajazzles are you? No, not for a man… a pejazzle!” Witty. I don’t know, maybe “in-yer-face” humour is your thing. Maybe I was just too grossed out to find it funny.
Subtlety, or lack thereof, aside, there were jokes that were just plain offensive (that is if you aren’t offended already). On receiving a letter from an American named ‘Buck A. Roo’ (haha?) stating that she was the last living descendent of a family from Arizona, Madge responds that she couldn’t be related to anyone American, for this, very obvious, reason: “There’s no fat people with big gums in our family.” Meanwhile, the hotel’s hair salon, Blow & Go, had gone mobile and was looking for slogans to promote this latest development. An idea thrown around was: “Blow & Go Mobile, we bring the mountain to Mohamed (all religions catered for)”. Regardless of this travesty of a line, the Blow & Go boys did provide some humour, and the line, “a bit like a soot covered bog brush, otherwise known as a Simon Cowell” actually made me crack a smile, but maybe that was because I don’t like Simon Cowell either.
When it comes down to it, the show suffered from really bad writing, whether it was clunky dialogue or poorly drawn characters.
When Tiger Dyke (the only description I can come up with is ‘an idiot guest’) wakes up after a night out, he says: “I’m never drinking again.” How original.
When Lesley hears that she might lose her job, she pleas, “It’s not a job, it’s my life.” Never heard that one before. Yet my biggest question after 46 minutes of sheer, unadulterated boredom was: why on earth is only ONE Spanish person working at this hotel? Have I missed a crucial piece of exposition? Do they only accept Spanish employees with “pejazzles”? Needless to say, I won’t be watching Benidorm from the beginning to find out.