Pramface is one of those snidey esoteric terms that didn’t arrive with a bang, but more of a squelch, lurching into being like a wet stick being pulled out of a deep muddy bog. It arrived as part of the coffee-smelling wave of middle-class smirking that found inexplicable creedence a few years ago and that, despite even my most half-arsed prayers, has shown no signs of going anywhere.
Terms like ‘Pramface’ were coined when the internet was only just beginning to realise its power, when proles like me were busy swearing at their useless Siemens WAP phones and those canny judgemental cynics behind Heat, Popbitch, Pop World, Pop Idol and Pop…oh I don’t know, hid behind their laptops writing blogs, wearing red trousers and replacing perfectly good words like ‘scally’ and ‘minger’ with vacuous non-words like ‘chav’ or third rate American denominations like ‘butters’.
It was an awful time awash with cheap invective that sneered its way into everyday speech and, much to my chagrin, went on to seep into television too, with lame, shagging, youth shows like ‘Skins’, ‘As If’ and ‘Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps’ springing up all over the place.
On this basis then, I’m sure you can picture my consternation when faced with the task of reviewing a programme whose very title ‘Pramface’ seems so emblematic of the goonish prevalences that I dislike so much – the bitchy asides, the preening epithets that are only ever uttered behind people’s backs – it does not take the most vivid imagination to do that.
Thankfully though Pramface turned out to be half-way decent, not good you understand, but serviceable. It’s like an amalgamation of every youth show you’ve ever seen and will continue to see until the end of time. You have the loud-mouthed douchebag with a heart, the brainy, lovelorn female pluckster, the posh one who annoyed you in Eastenders and the hapless plain faced hero who you just wish would make the right decision for once. Real teenagers are much more three-dimensional and I hope this is recognised as the series progresses, otherwise it may sink quite fast..
The twist this time is that two of the characters are having a baby together, which is actually a promising idea and that should give scope for laughs and solid story potential, providing it is handled properly and doesn’t turn into an episode of ‘The Inbetweeners’ crossed with ‘One Born Every Minute’, which, lets face it, it probably will.
Positives do lie in the wry casting of all the parents, who keen eyed viewers will recognise from throughout TV land, but the proof is always in the pudding. I laughed whilst watching this programme. Twice.
Read into that what you will.