I’m with Stupid (but I’m not laughing)

I’m with Stupid’ is a new BBC comedy series currently being broadcast on BBC3. The series is set in a residential unit for disabled adults and the disabled characters in the series are played by disabled actors.

Now, some people have criticised the show for being set in a residential unit, however my biggest problem with the series is that it s just not funny. You almost feel like you’ve gone back in time twenty years as it has a very dated feel to the writing and humour. If you were in hysterics over ‘George and Mildred’ or ‘Terry and June’, you may love ‘I’m with Stupid’. The cast are adequate but are just let down by the dull scripts .

Paul and Mark

The basic premise of the show is the friendship between a homeless man played by Mark Benton and a wheelchair user played by Paul Henshall. Both actors try hard to make the series work and I will admit that a few lines made me smile, but not enough to carry a 30 minute episode.

It is interesting to compare this show with Extras currently being shown on BBC2. Whilst Extras tackles stereotypes around disabled people head on, ‘I’m with Stupid’ thinks it’s cutting edge merely because it features disabled people in major roles. Some may be cynical and see this as the BBC’s tokenistic attempt at equal opportunities and to nurture ‘Disabled’ talent. Paul Henshall deserves better than this. He was much funnier in ‘A Thing Called Love’ which was on 2 years ago.

Not every comedy has to make a political point or reflect disabled people’s lives accurately but I do feel this was a missed opportunity. As a viewer, it didn’t challenge me and more importantly for a comedy, it didn’t make me laugh either.

Let us know what you think. All the episodes of ‘I’m with Stupid’ and ‘Extras’ are available to watch online on the BBC TV website.


2 thoughts on “I’m with Stupid (but I’m not laughing)

  1. It would be a shame to let your posting go un-commented!
    Let me start by declaring an interest! I have connections with one of the (disabled) cast. Personally I did find I’m With Stupid funny and, yes, I do like some of the older comedy (though I’m not sure about “Terry & June”!). In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with a gentler kind of humour that is not “in yer face”. Some comedy from years ago is still relevant and funny. We all have a different sense of humour, thank goodness. “Little Britain”, for example, leaves me totally cold. But that’s human nature.
    I think it is interesting to see that you posted your comments before all the episodes had been screened. I felt that it started slowly but that each episode was funnier than the previous one as the cast got to know each other better and as the production team began to see what was possible. Episode 6, for me, had some hilarious moments.
    Funny or not, this programme certainly broke new ground in a number of directions, particularly in the casting. 50% of the cast were genuine disabled people, unlike what has happened in the past, where non-disabled actors played disabled people – disgraceful.
    I think the BBC Comedy North team should be applauded for taking a gamble on this programme and giving some people with little or no previous acting experience a chance to learn their craft. I’m sure that if the BBC Commissioners give the team a chance for a second series, it will be even better and funnier.


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