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I TALK Fresh Meat

Last night saw the final episode in the debut series of Fresh Meat air on Channel 4.

The series, written by Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, follows a group of students as they embark on their first year at a fictional University in Manchester. After reading several books on Sitcoms and Comedy writing, one of the areas they each say to avoid is 'Student life'. However, after watching eight consistently good episodes of Fresh Meat, I am thankful that they went against the advice of many.


Fresh Meat is one of the freshest (no pun intended) and meatiest (OK, a little pun there) comedy to have debuted on Channel 4 since The IT Crowd & The Inbetweeners. So much so that the series was recommissioned for a second by Channel 4 before the final three episodes of the first had been aired.


Being a student myself, where I feel the series did so well was the way in which it dealt with its characters. All very eccentric but  equally realistic and believable at the same time. There is no denying that at every University in the UK there is a JP, Josie, Oregon, Vod, Howard and Kingsley. However, Fresh Meat avoids the typical stereotypes and has created characters that many 20-30 year olds would easily recognise form their university lives.


This was helped by the team of writers that were involved in creating each episode. Sam Bain & Jesse Armstrong started the series by writing the first episode and then enlisted the help of other writers such as Tony Roche, Penelope Skinner, Keith Akushie, Richard Pinto, Rose Heiney, Jon Brown and Tom Basden, most of whom have used their own University lives to influence their writing, which shows through in the shows authenticity.


My favourite character throughout the series had to be Vod, but this is not to say that I didn't enjoy the others. In fact it's very rare to fall in love with all the characters in a programme, in a similar way that when asked 'Who is your favourite in Friends?' the answer often changes as they are equally endearing and the same can be said of Fresh Meat.


Despite finding each of the characters lovable and entertaining, I have to admit that the character of Vod (Zawe Ashton) is one of the greatest comic creations of recent times. I looked forward to every moment she stepped into the shot, even at her lowest moment, in hospital following an overdose, I couldn't help but laugh at her every moment.


Many of the memorable lines from Fresh Meat have come from Vod including last night's brilliant line whilst at a funeral '...if I knew the food was gonna be this good at my dad's funeral I'd kill the fucker tomorrow' and fobbing her mate off with the line 'I'd rather you didn't. Yeah, you know, nothing personal, I just don't want to be in the same room as you.'


What surprised me most in Fresh Meat was Jack Whitehall's performance. I am not particularly a fan of his stand-up and whenever he's on a panel show I'd much rather Russell Brand. However, since the first episode I found myself warming to him and wonder why he hadn't acted before as his portrayal of JP was spot on and full of great comedy moments.

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