The only thing more fun than watching this deadpan British comedy, is imagining being in at the meeting, where they pitched the idea.
“Yes, we want to make a six part comedy, about two hapless suburban blokes, walking around with metal detectors, and the women who love them, use them, or want to walk around with metal detectors too!”
“What? Are you kidding?” Well, obviously, and the writing, acting, and directing of this little gem is so spot on, you laugh every other minute without a laugh track anywhere!
The story includes: a small British town and its folk, our two “heroes” the not up to speed guys, and their set ups against the totally wicked and ridiculous “Archeological Establishment”. They too are hapless blokes, but just don’t acknowledge their haplessness the way our heroes do. They just happen to look like Simon and Garfunkel. One of them is named Paul, (snort of laughter). Mere accident… of course.
Then there are the heart felt loves and day in the life characters, so finely drawn, any superficial take makes them all nincompoops, but no… each and all seem real people you’ve had the misfortune to meet, at one point or another in your real world.
We laugh not at them, or with them, (they rarely laugh), but for them. The lost romance of men longing for days of adventure on high seas, befuddled by the modern world, searching to find and dig up, a more illustrious history. It has to be hidden somewhere, just below their feet.
These are our sad and poignant clowns, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin. We laugh because they show us ourselves, amidst superficial finds, all bottle caps and buttons, but still longing for greater worlds and vaster treasure.
At a certain point, one of our “heroes” is asked to move on by the police. While waiting for his teacher girlfriend outside her school, he discombobulates a few worried mothers, who suspect he’s a pervert.
Mortified he asks his girlfriend upon arrival, wether he looks like one to her. “No,” she says, to his earnest weasel face, “more like a drug addict”. With great relief he moves forward. This “come up in the world” assessment of his visage assures him of what, one wonders?
But it’s the beauty of the ending that makes you want the show to go on. Won’t ruin it for you, but worth every penny to make a metal detector ring to the tree tops, or awaken long buried Kings.