The Thick of It is a comical satire shot documentary style (without narrator or asides) about the British government. There are four seasons (plus specials), running 2005 through 2012, clocking in at 24 episodes. It stars Peter Capaldi, Chris Addison, James Smith, Joanna Scanlan, Rebecca Front, and Chris Langham.
Season 1 centers around the Department of Social Affairs (fiction) led by the minister Hugh Abbot (Langham). Every agenda item the department has gets royally botched, making Hugh and his team look like buffoons. It’s no wonder that during the impending reshuffle of season 2, the Prime Minister’s viscous Communications hell hound Malcolm Tucker (Capaldi) throws the department out of their office and in with Citizenship, which means every department chucks all their shitty duties they don’t want anymore onto Social Affairs’ doorstep. He also uses snooty college grad Ollie Reeder’s (Addison) girlfriends and ex-girlfriends for political evil. Nothing is more funny than seeing Malcolm lose his footing the the first special, Rise of the Nutters. It must be said that the second special, Spinners and Losers, sees The Thick of It at its peak. Malcolm is even more calculating than usual, his right hand man Jamie is even more aggressive and but less directional than Malcolm while Hugh’s right hand man Glenn (Smith) has a shouty emotional breakdown, the whole thing culminating in a food fight in the board room. Now that‘s politics.
With season 3 comes a new regime. Hugh’s out, Nicola’s in. Will Nicola Murray (Front) be able to put her job over her family in order to not look like a fool in the newspapers or will she be photographed in front of a sign that says bent? Season 3 has doubled in number of episodes and is at least as good as its predecessors. The highlight here has to be Malcolm punching Glenn in the nose while on business trip. And of course, that season finale, wow! No spoilers from me, go and check it out.
In season 4, the tables have turned. The opposition, Peter Mannion, is now in power and has (rather unwillingly) obtained Terri and Glenn as part of his team, though their personalities are caricatures of the people they had been in season 1. Meanwhile, Nicola and Ollie are out of power, leaving Malcolm bored and considerably more tame until he decides to manipulate an appendicitis-ridden Ollie into dethroning her. With Nicola out of the picture (and chased by a giant pork chop–don’t ask), Malcolm gets to put his smarmy puppet in the driver’s seat, and not a moment too soon. An inquiry has been called. A perfect ending to the series is getting to watch one by one each of these jerkoffs squirm as they try to justify their behaviors, weasel their way out, in Malcolm’s case play dirty, and backstab one another to save their skins. It’s only a shame the series had to take it one half-hour too far, concluding on an episode that was (with exception of another of Glenn’s triumphant breakdowns) a bit meh.
The Thick of It has lots and lots of swearing. Do not let your children watch this show unless you want them to spout the F and Cs all about the house. Capaldi is hilarious as the potty mouth Director of Communications who can either magically appear behind you to chew your head off or spend hours lumbering toward you, causing the likes of Hugh Abbot to hide in closets. Despite being shot over many years, the series stays consistently good. The cast changes frequently, but the core handful are always there–the cockroaches of government.
The Thick of It is most notable for its quotes:
- It’s terrible! All these hands all over the place! You were like a sweaty octopus trying to unhook a bra! –Malcolm
- It is, as my dear old mother would have said, double wank and shit chips. –Glenn
- He’s calling me the political equivalent of the house wine at a suburban Indian restaurant. –Hugh
- Come the fuck in or fuck the fuck off. –Malcolm
- Malcolm must fucking love this place. Four Ministers in one building. It’s his dream. A one-stop bollock shop. I honestly don’t know which is worse; watching him slowly rumble towards you like prostate cancer or appearing suddenly out of nowhere like a severe stroke. –Hugh
- The one about the fucking space hairdresser and the cowboy. He’s got a tinfoil pal and a pedal bin. His father’s a robot and he’s fucking fucked his sister. Lego. They’re all made of fucking lego. –Malcom
Star Wars. –Ollie