Lunch Monkeys Review: Silly, Predictable…But You’ll Laugh

LUNCH MONKEYS: Thursday 10th February, BBC Three, 10.30pm

The first series of Lunch Monkeys didn’t exactly set tellyland’s criticsphere alight (“If you find incontinence, phantom shitters and armpit-farts the acme of wit, you’re in for a treatâ€? said Tom Sutcliffe of The Independent) but, undeterred by that and average viewing figures, BBC3 took a chance and commissioned a second series of the office based sitcom last year.

Set at law firm Fox Cranford (which even has its own fictional website, such is BBC3’s dedication to keeping up with all things multi-media), the comedy inevitably draws criticism for daring to venture – in this ‘post Office’ world that we live in – into modern workplace sitcom territory, which is presumably why it wisely scrapped the original title Admin. However, putting all of the above aside, I am going to go out on a limb here and say that Lunch Monkeys is actually quite funny. There I said it. If you’re of the snobby critic view, then yes it’s silly, pretty much one dimensional and a little bit predictable, but if it gets some laughs out of that, then why not?

The show centres on the admin workers at said law firm, who are a hopeless mixed bunch of lazy school leavers and dopey characters. The ultimate ‘thicko’ in this bunch is Asif, whose naivety and literal interpretation of sarcasm sees him pretty much playing the role of a slow 12 year-old. Then there’s Darrel (who in looks, can be described by the formula of Mr Bean + Steve Carell), a socially inept simpleton who in this episode, falls for the boss’s (Mike Cranford, played by Nigel Havers) daughter, much to her indifference. But not before he mistakes her for Mike’s young girlfriend and makes a series of inappropriate “there’s life in the old dog yetâ€? remarks…

Meanwhile, Tania (newly-promoted post room supervisor and committed jobsworth) and Kenny (long-haired and completely bored) are the office’s newest couple; cue some protocol lessons in the art of dealing with the office romance. This episode also sees beer-loving Shelley step in as Mike’s PA to organise his business presentation, which involves a sophisticated ‘nibbles’ menu of crisps, snakebites and butties. The highlight of Shelley’s work is seeing her introduce Mike to the ‘crowd’ in the style of a wrestling host, which as you would expect goes down like a (bemused) lead balloon. Silly and unsophisticated, Lunch Monkeys comes from the Two Pints of Lager school of comedy and when taken as such, it’s not bad..