It has to be said that personally the final episode of Josh Widdicombe’s sitcom was not the greatest of the bunch, not so much for a lack of comedic material, but more for what is worn on screen.
In the finale Josh is preparing for his birthday which he plans to so by celebrating it himself, ideally in a way which neither of his flatmates Owen and Kate (Elis James and Beattie Edmondson) can interfere with. His plans however are influenced by his encounter with another resident of the flat, charitable Lucy (Claudia Jessie), who Josh is keen to try and pull, but Kate sees as a “goody too shoes”.
Josh therefore plans to hold a party so Lucy can come over, however his party plans are ruined by Kate and Owen trying to make the party something they would want to go do as opposed to something Josh would like: thus the party ends up being fancy-dress, which Josh hates, Kate issues strict rules banning sexy costumes, and landlord Geoff (Jack Dee) ends up coming to party too – losing his apple costume in the process.
While there are good moments from both the main cast and the guest performers, for example Edmondson as Kate dressing up as a pint of Guinness in an attempt to proof to an ex-boyfriend that she is not bitter, there is one big sticking point, which is Josh’s outfit. For the party Josh goes dressed as a Native American, complete with headdress. This does give raise to one recurring gag, as Owen is dressed as an American cop and thus Josh is worried that people will mistakenly think they have both come dressed as the Village People.
However, there is a problem with this outfit that we in Britain are not really aware of, but speaking as someone who is in a long-distance relationship with someone in USA, I happen to know that Native American fancy dress outfits, especially ones with the headdress, are increasingly considered offence and to some even racist. This is because the headdress is considered a great symbol, given to members of the tribe who have earned the greatest respect, whether it be political or military. As a result, for a white person to go around to a fancy dress party dress like a Native American, complete with headdress, is seen by an increasing number of people as being really offensive because it makes light of the brave acts committed by Native Americans. It’s a bit like taking the piss out of the Victoria Cross.
Now I should point out that I believe that Widdicombe has done this without knowing any of the implications, because as I said this is something that most people in Britain are not really aware off. What I am saying is that if Josh were to ever make it stateside this episode is going to have to undergo a major re-write. I do not want to make this a big thing, but it is something that made me feel uncomfortable when watching it.
As for the sitcom as a whole, it has done alright. The series has tended to get better as it went along, with the exception of this finale. I suspect that it probably won’t be given a second series due to the poor start possibly putting people off, but it were to come back it will be worth seeing just to see Jack Dee’s great performance as Geoff.
EDIT: Shortly after this article was posted it was confirmed that Josh actually had been given a second series, which will debut on the BBC iPlayer following the news that BBC Three will become digital only. As a result, we will get to see more after all.
Josh can be purchased as a digital download from the BBC Store and the Amazon Video.