I just started in on Sam Leifer’s sitcom Plebs. It’s the story of Marcus, Stylax, and Grumio, three roommates fresh from the suburbs, trying to navigate being on their own for the first time, life in the big city, and the prospect of women. They hold low positions at their monotonous office jobs and are subject to the whims of their landlord (always good to see Karl Theobald). Ultimately, it’s like any other laddish sitcom.
Except it’s in ancient Rome.
The very first gag sets the tone: A bouncer at the door asks for the boys’ full names, and they respond with their full Roman names which would seem ridiculously long now. Genuinely hilarious. We’re off to a good start.
Marcus (Friday Night Dinner‘s Tom Rosenthal) falls for the new girl on the estate, Cynthia (Sophie Colquhoun), who’s just arrived from Britain with her slave. Marcus has a slave, too, Grumio, but it doesn’t have too much effect on their friendship. Every gang has one scapegoat, don’t they? It’s established that Marcus is prudish and shy about going to the local orgy, which makes the viewer feel sympathetic toward him. But he is a victim of his own ineptitude and fails to win the heart of Cynthia.
I don’t like period dramas, so it’s refreshing to get a period comedy, which doesn’t care too much about historical inaccuracies and instead uses the cultural references as the base of jokes. It’s like The Inbetweeners meets Blandings. I’ll definitely be watching more. Two seasons are now on Hulu.