30th Aug2014

‘Cuckoo: Complete Series 1’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Andy Samberg, Greg Davies, Helen Baxendale, Tyger Drew-Honey | Created by Robin French, Kieron Quirke


A cuckoo is a bird that lays its eggs in other bird’s nests, so in human form it’s easy to assume that the Cuckoo is another man moving into a family’s home and encroaching on the territory of the parents.  In Cuckoo the BBC comedy it’s not only about the family but also an American comedian going head to head with a British one.  When these comedians are Andy Samberg and Greg Davies the results are as expected, very funny.

When Ken Thompson’s (Greg Davies) daughter arrives home from holiday with a new husband he is horrified by what he comes face to face with.  Cuckoo (Andy Samberg) is a new age hippy with a liking for drugs and getting naked when the urge takes him.  As the two get to know each other though and the relationship between son and father-in-law strengthens Ken’s view on Cuckoo starts to soften.  Not that that will stop his attempts to get rid of him though..

Cuckoo was a surprise because when it was first televised it was hidden away on BBC 3.  I’d seen it advertised but I didn’t notice that Cuckoo was played by Andy Samberg or I’d have made time to watch it.  The coming together of Greg Davies and Samberg is something that if it works is too good to miss really and as a fan of Wilfred the easy way the two can be compared really helped build up my liking for the show.  The charm of Cuckoo though is not just down to the two lead actors, but the anarchic and outlandish style of the comedy itself.

The fact is that none of the characters could be classed as normal, they are all crazy and eccentric in their own ways.  Be it the mother Lorna (Helen Baxendale) and her gleeful acceptance of the craziness Cuckoo brings with him or Dylan the brother (Tyger Drew-Honey) and his ambivalent attitude to almost everything the typical traits of all the characters feel they are taken to the extreme which of course creates the comedy.

What is important in Cuckoo though is that the friction between Ken and Cuckoo has to be something that holds the show together and keeps the audience interested.  Andy Samberg is very good at creating that type of character that is likable but also annoying for those around him (think Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and Greg Davies of course is very good at playing the annoyed elder male (just look to his role in The Inbetweeners for proof of this).  Bring these two styles together and there you have the chemistry that makes these two a comic duo that for the most part does exactly what it is meant to do.  I did notice a few times that Cuckoo did shows a certain mean spirit that didn’t fit the character for me, though this was kept to a minimum, for the most part he sticks to being the free-spirited and fun character he should be.

If there is any problem with the first series of Cuckoo it’s that it doesn’t last long enough for me, I was left wanting more.  Now the second series has begun and Taylor Lautner is the new “Cuckoo” (as Dale the son of Cuckoo) it’s a shame that there is a lack of Samberg.  Greg Davies and Andy Samberg really are the duo that holds the show together and provides a life to the story that makes the show good.  Chemistry is something that is important to a show and Cuckoo has an excess of it, funny and never dull hopefully the changes in series two won’t be too harsh of a change.

**** 4/5

Cuckoo: Complete Series 1 is available on DVD from September 1st.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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