Green Wing, surreal British sitcom, every episode currently available on YouTube for your free consumption. There are 2 seasons and a long Christmas special. Not usually my cup of tea, as it’s quite lowbrow sometimes, but it’s also clever and has a great cast. The show is scripted, but the actors are encouraged to adlib and are given workshops to help improvise the scenes. Although the show was intended to show all aspects of hospital life from groundlings on up, it’s mainly just about the doctors and management.
For the moment, all the episodes are on YouTube. They are also on Hulu for free. The DVDs are available from Amazon.com, but they are region 2 PAL, so you’ll need a region-free DVD player or set your DVD player to region 0 to watch it.
There are nearly 20 characters to keep track of, all of them insane, except perhaps the IT guy Lyndon, played by Paterson Joseph, who I interviewed once on my podcast. The craziest of them is Sue White, as anything can happen when she is around. There have been wild animals in her office more than once, often silly costumes, and sometimes even the impossible occurs. The show is an hour-long sit com, but has plotlines like a soap opera, everyone either being in love with each other in shapes more complicated than love triangles or being mysteriously related.
PLOT SUMMERY – SPOILERS AHEAD
Caroline Todd is the new doctor in town. Against her better judgment, she allows her beautiful and competitive co-worker Angela to be her lodger. Caroline works the closest with anaestheitist (anesthesiologist) Guy Secretan and surgeon Dr. “Mack” Macartney. Guy is a sleazy womanizer, proud of being half Swiss, despite that he knows little about his parents. Mack is charming and witty, but has serious commitment issues after his 8-year relationship with a woman called Holly ended when she decided to have an abortion against Mack’s wishes. Caroline and Mack don’t get along at first, mostly due to Guy’s meddling, as he plans to seduce her, but eventually Caroline is stuck trying to decide who she loves more, Mack or Guy. Dr. Martin Dear is also in love with Caroline, but let’s face it, he never stood a chance. Karen from HR dotes on Martin, and Martin does eventually agree to go out with Karen, but her lustiness over him freaks him out and he dumps her while they are trapped in the lift together. Martin goes back to pining after Caroline. Halfway through the first season, we find out the Martin is actually the son of the head of HR, Joanna Clore, but only Martin and Joanna know about it due to Joanna’s embarrassment of Martin. Joanna is having a not-so-secret affair with radiologist Alan Statham, whose physical comedy is John Cleese-esque slapstick. Their destructive relationship is on-and-off-again, and Joanna sees nothing wrong with trying to get into the pants of the hot IT guy, Lyndon. Fortunately for Dr. Statham, Lyndon is terrified of Joanna and winds up falling for one of Joanna’s underlings, a pregnant mother/wife named Harriet. After only one picnic-date, Harriet politely dumps Lyndon out of Macbeth-like guilt. Dr. Statham, meanwhile, is being bullied by Boyce, one of his students. It is unclear at first whether Boyce bullies Dr. Statham out of hatred or love, and whether Dr. Statham feels anything back for Boyce, though they do wind up in bed together after a few too many drinks one night.
Series one peaks when Martin discovers that Guy is also the son of Joanna Clore, making Guy his half brother. It appears that neither Guy nor Joanna know. Before he can tell anyone, Mack challenges Guy to sleep with someone a little more mature than the naïve young girls he usually goes after. He dares him to sleep with Joanna Clore. With Dr. Statham having supposedly found Jesus, or simply fallen in love with the hospital Chaplin, Joanna agrees to go back to Guy’s place. When Martin hears of this, he rushes over to Guy’s, but he’s too late. Martin unveils the truth, and Guy loses his mind when he discovers he just had sex with his mother. He stabs Martin in the leg with a botox needle and gets drunk. After sharing their first proper romantic moment together, Caroline and Mack hear that there’s been a stabbing at Guy’s and rush over with the ambulance to find that Martin has lost use of his legs and Guy is running around drunkenly in a short robe. After the medics load Martin into the ambulance, Guy steals it. Playing hero, Mack hops aboard and is trapped with the drunken, depressed, mentally traumatized maniac driving the ambulance. Eventually, they drive so far away, they are in a field. Guy swerves to avoid hitting a sheep, and the ambulance balances precariously off a cliff, Mack and Guy teetering in the front, Martin half-paralyzed in the back.
Season 2 opens to find that Martin has survived the incident. Guy has just returned after a one-month suspension and is now on probation. Mack is in a coma from the crash. Caroline is devastated because she and Mack were just beginning to feel something for each other, having shared a kiss the night that Mack ran after Guy in the ambulance. Sue White, the hospital staff liaison who’s in love with Mack and probably crazier than everyone else in the show, steals some of Mack’s semen while Mack is in his coma. She impregnates herself with it, in hopes of giving birth to Mack’s son. Despite not looking pregnant, by the end of the series, she does in fact give birth to a lion cub, referencing the fact that she often calls Mack’s red hair a lion’s mane. When Mack does wake up, he’s lost weeks of his memory, rewinding his timeline back to when Caroline just joined the staff and she and he didn’t get along well. Guy takes advantage of the situation. After selling his flat to free himself of the Oedipus memory, he becomes Caroline’s new lodger, now that Angela has gotten a movie deal in Canada. At first planning to merely seduce Caroline, Guy winds up accidentally falling in love with her. However, Caroline will not give him the time of day. She tries to win back the good graces of Mack, and just as his memory returns, so does his ex-girlfriend Holly, who brings with her a little ginger-haired boy, claiming that she did not go through with the abortion and that she’d like them to get back together so that little Mackenzie can have a stable family. Caroline allows Mack to break free from their almost-relationship to be with his son. Guy tries confessing his love for the now single Caroline, but she winds up dating Jake, the hospital’s complimentary psychologist, who has a thing for Tamagotchi. Guy interrupts their first kiss by throwing a Swiss army knife from the upstairs window, which embeds into Jake’s skull. Eventually, Sue White discovers that little Mackenzie’s hair is dyed and that his DNA doesn’t match Mack’s. When Mack learns that the whole thing was just a way for Holly to try to get back together with him, he banishes her from the hospital. He and Caroline are still on shaky ground as he’s disappointed her too many times. Guy takes this opportunity to propose marriage, which she says she’ll think about. Mack finally has the spine to tell Caroline how he feels and tells her that they are going away together for the weekend. Later, when she receives a note that tells her to meet at the train station, she assumes it is from Mack, but when she arrives, she finds Guy. After promising a weekend away together, Mack has stood her up yet again. On the train platform, she agrees to marry Guy and they go away for the weekend. Back at the hospital, Mack has forgotten about his weekend plans as he’s just heard that during his post-coma routine checkups, they’ve discovered that he’s dying and only has about two months to live.
Meanwhile, Joanna Clore decides to play a joke on Dr. Statham by paying her cousin, who is a dwarf, to paint himself green, hide under Dr. Statham’s desk, and jump out screaming. The joke works so well that Dr. Statham thinks he’s some kind of evil creature and beats him to death with a stuffed heron. Realizing that between them, they’ve just killed a man, Joanna and Dr. Statham put the body in the incinerator and go on the run. They steal a camper, which Martin has stowed away in, and wind up in a field where they swerve to avoid hitting a sheep and end up balancing on the edge of a cliff. Martin has deja-vu.
The Christmas special begins with a funeral where Martin does a mime to show his mourning. We assume that the dead person is Karen, who we saw fall out a window in the last series, but accept that it could also be Joanna or Dr. Statham. We eventually learn that Angela had been mauled to death by a moose in Canada, Karen survived the fall but had to get a prosthetic hand, and that Joanna and Dr. Statham are still on the run. Mack returns after a month’s leave. He pretends to be happy at the news that Caroline and Guy are engaged. He tells Guy that he’s dying and makes him promise not to tell Caroline, but she overhears Guy and Martin talking about it.
Meanwhile, Joanna and Dr. Statham, trying to hide from their murder crime, wind up accidentally murdering several other people, including the mechanic changing their oil, the shop clerk they tried to rob, and a police officer who died of allergies after Joanna smeared a peanut butter sandwich in his face. After Dr. Statham accidentally blows up the camper trying to fuel it with vodka and shit, they decide they have nothing left but to either die or swim to Spain. The last we see of them, they swallow strange objects to confuse the autopsies and walk into the sea.
After much convincing in the pub by Boyce–who’s missing Dr. Statham something fierce–Guy decides he’s going to do the right thing for the first time in his life. He tells Mack to marry Caroline, hoping that after Mack is dead in a few weeks, she’ll still want to marry Guy. The show ends with Caroline and Mack’s outdoor wedding, with Guy in a kilt, Sue with a new boyfriend, and Caroline being lifted away by balloons.