Film Editor Jess Parker raves about the tragically underrated series, hailing it as some of the best work of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, with the only criticism being that there is not more to watch.
First airing on Channel 4 in 2016, Crashing is a single series comedy, written and created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Consisting of only six episodes, Crashing is undeservingly one of Waller-Bridge’s least talked about exploits.
Crashing follows a group of young adults as they are thrown together as property guardians of an abandoned hospital. To continue to reap the benefits of this thrifty and unconventional shared living situation, the group must adhere to a multitude of rules. Consisting of Lulu (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), Sam (Jonathan Bailey), Melody (Julie Dray), Kate (Louise Ford), Anthony (Damien Molony), Colin (Adrian Scarborough), and Fred (Amit Shah), the group struggle to keep up social and personal boundaries. Complex relationships form, and the group must learn how to coexist civilly before they are evicted from the premises.
As can be expected, Waller-Bridge is captivating as Lulu. A childhood friend of Anthony’s, Lulu moves into the hospital with a sense of the chaotic relatability and vulnerability that we can anticipate from Waller-Bridge’s characters. Backed by UK sitcom heavyweight Scarborough, Crashing is has strong comedy chops. Well-known for his recent Bridgeton fame, Bailey was a relative unknown when he starred as Sam. Bailey is a scene-stealer, matching Waller-Bridge’s infectious energy and standing out as an incredibly talented performer. Bailey’s success as a stage actor lends well to Crashing, seen through his brilliant comedic timing and wildly outrageous portrayal of his character.
The overall aesthetic and atmosphere that Crashing presents is both in keeping with Waller-Bridge’s more well-known projects, and many other British sit-coms shown on Channel 4. It is a kind of specifically grimy Britishness that many popular US sit-coms struggle to reproduce in their clean-cut attempts to alter British shows for American audiences.
The pacing of Crashing is very well executed, and this may be due to the fact that it is such a short series. No episode feels like it is made up of filler material, and audiences because invested in Crashing’s host of characters very quickly. Every episode feels well rounded, and leaves you excited to see what will come next.
As one of Waller-Bridge’s first fairly successful writing ventures, Crashing includes many of the Waller-Bridge-isms that fans of Fleabag may hope for. Much like Fleabag, Crashing began in the theatre. In the style of the twisted situational comedy that she is known for, Waller-Bridge originally wrote the story as two separate plays, which have been effortlessly transferred to the screen.
Crashing is undoubtedly a hidden gem of the British sitcom scene. My only qualm with it, which is not necessarily a fault of the show itself, is that lack of content that audience can actually access. As a single-season show with only six episodes that run for around 20 minutes each, Crashing leaves you wanting more. It can very easily watched in its entirety in one sitting. It’s brief nature is certainly enjoyable for a quick watch, but this does leave you with a slight sense of dissatisfaction and anti-climax at the fact that it was all over too quickly.
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