Friday Night Dinner

The Mercedes

Series 1 - Episode 5 The Mercedes

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Review

Tonight's Friday night dinner, chez the Goodmans, is cooked by hopeless dad (Paul Ritter) as mum (Tamsin Greig) is immobile after spraining an ankle. Of course, it's a disaster as the meat is rigid with overcooking and makes terrible noises when dad tries to carve. "Should meat squeak?" the family wonders aloud. Poor Adam - this is supposed to be his birthday treat, along with a coffee table book on "heroes of the SS", a thoughtful gift for a young Jewish boy from his dad. It's another gloriously silly episode of Robert Popper's utterly endearing sitcom, which strays into Curb Your Enthusiasm comedy of embarrassment territory when dad bumps into an old girlfriend, the brassy Sheila Bloom (Frances Barber). Or Bitchface, as she is ungallantly known. Sheila is obsessed with her Mercedes to the delight of her tormentors, who find new and inventive ways of sniggering at her - not behind her back, but right in front of her face. It's packed with minor pleasures, including mad neighbour Jim and his supernaturally calm dog, and a piece of farce involving grandma in unsuitable clothing.

Summary

Adam tries to celebrate his birthday, but the evening is spoiled when Sheila Bloom, who is famously obsessed with her car, makes catty remarks about his vehicle. His father then reveals he used to date her years ago, upsetting Mum in the process. Finally, the family abandons dinner and heads to a Chinese restaurant, only for Sheila to reappear, forcing Dad to explain what the pair really got up to.

Cast & Crew

Mum Tamsin Greig
Dad Paul Ritter
Adam Simon Bird
Jonny Tom Rosenthal
Jim Mark Heap
Grandma Frances Cuka
Sheila Bloom Frances Barber
Director Steve Bendelack
Executive Producer Kenton Allen
Executive Producer Caroline Leddy
Executive Producer Nira Park
Producer Robert Popper
Writer Robert Popper
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Comedy