If you saw the first series of Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy you most probably walked away going - "What the fuck was that?" and it turns out you weren't alone.
The series first aired on E4 in January 2012 and was a psychedelic character based comedy show half filmed and half animated. Each episode revolved around Noel and his (rather strange) friends which if I'm honest, added very little to the story (of which there wasn't one really).
I really like Noel Fielding, so I wanted it to be good, but the more I watched, the more confused I got, and frustrated. I'm pretty sure it made complete sense to Noel, but for the public watching at home? Not so much. Even Noel himself has admitted that the first series was "quite experimental, with the emphasis on 'mental'."
Speaking at the launch for Luxury Comedy 2, Fielding said how the first series made people angry, and that "...someone called it the second 9/11" (bit strong and in very bad taste) and then there's the tweet he saw the other day, that read "I've not seen Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy but I've got a feeling it's going to be shit!"
Rather than me tell you how the second series is different, here's what Noel says at the start of the first episode (yes, he breaks the fourth wall by talking to the audience). "Welcome to the second series of Luxury Comedy. We're in a coffee shop this time. I know what you're thinking - "That sounds like the setting for a boring sitcom" - it's not going to be because I've put a little twist on it. It's a coffee shop, on the edge of a volcano, in Hawaii." And that pretty much sums up the new series.
I remember watching the first series, and how I felt after, but this time around I enjoyed it a lot more, and... wait for it... I actually knew what was going on! What I think happened in the first series is that the strange/mental element took over and the end product made sense to very few people, however now that he's tried a traditional sitcom approach, it works much better and I believe will be more accessible for people to 'get into'.
Yes it's still strange, weird and all the things that the first series were, and I wouldn't expect anything different, but this time it's much easier to follow. One of the characters in the first episode is called Paul Panfer, the brother of Pink Panther and is an internet sensation remaking Elvis videos on his phone - which is as ridiculous as it sounds!
Breaking the fourth wall is something that was there in the first series, but now that the show is set up as a sitcom it's more obvious to the viewer. That said I really like it. I like the honesty it brings, for example at the start of the first episode when Noel is asked who he's talking to, he says "The people, watching at home, I'm giving them a way in. A friendly map and compass.
Because apparently last time, people were confused." Another dig at series one. One of the main characters is Andy Warhol (Tom Meeten), the famous painter, and when we first see him again in the new series he's confused as to where he is. When Noel tells him they've been given a second series, he can't quite believe it - "We got another series? Sounds like the setting for a boring sitcom to me." This time around, Andy is working for Noel as front of house.
Then there's Smooth, Noel's right hand man who'll be making the coffee and is played by Noel's real-life brother Michael Fielding. He's half anteater, half man (see what I mean? Still very ridiculous). And finally, there's Dolly (Dolly Wells, Doll & Em) who's is Noel's attractive model friend (previously girlfriend).
Noel begins the second episode in the series by saying "Hi, welcome to the show. I've got a bit of confession to make. I haven't actually written an ending to this episode. But it's fine though! Does a story really need a beginning, a middle and an ending?"
Well, if you're Noel, no you don't need an ending, and Luxury Comedy, be it for good or bad has proved this. However when Andy Warhol gets hold of the script he starts to panic as there is no ending - "What about the people who watch this show?" - To which Noel responds "Who? Terry?" I love these digs at the series and whilst normally I'd support having a beginning a middle and end, you can't help but enter a fantasy world that consists of just yourself and Noel Fielding (probably).
There are also some great guest stars to look forward to this series including Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd), Steve Oram (The World's End), Simon Farnaby (Horrible Histories) and Rich Fulcher (The Mighty Boosh).So in short, Luxury Comedy 2 is a much better series than the first. I'm pleased Noel has listened to feedback from the public (very few would) because the outcome of that means the show will now makes more sense to viewers at home. Having watched the first two episodes back-to-back, I couldn't (and still can't) wait to see how the rest of the episodes play out.
Don't get me wrong there are still some "What the fuck?" moments, but far less frequent than series one, and having the series set in a coffee shop, OK it's on the edge of a volcano in Hawaii, really does help.