There is a gap in the market for a sit-com about a couple of old queens. ‘Viscious’ has all the right ingredients: a failed actor and his long-term partner straight out of Grace Brothers’ department store (‘Suit you, sir’) living in a run-down, faded flat. For stereotype neighbours we have a randy single lady of a certain age and a young, straight hunk for the two gays to fancy from a distance. Now all you need is a funny script and two actors who can do sit-com.
What an unmitigated distaster the result is. The script might just have made it out of the waste-paper basket in 1970, brim full of limp, flaccid one-liners (limp, flaccid, geddit?) and a risible lack of plot. The biggest surprise is how bad the two theatrical knights are, ponging out every line as though they were at the Old Vic and hamming it up to an embarrassing degree. Have they not watched any contemporary sit-coms to see at what level you have to pitch performances? I have a string suspicion that McKellen and Jacobi don’t actually get on in real life. The sparks do not fly. And the laughter must surely be added afterwards. No live audience could possibly find it as funny as the chortles and applause seem to indicate. I sat through the second episode – well, most of it – without as much as a grin or a smile. It is a truly pathetic enterprise that must have set back the gay cause years. And what is the name of the production company that makes this shit? Brown Eyed Boy Productions. Per-leeese!