Sheridan Smith reunites with screenwriter Susan Nickson for Sky Comedy's Rosie Molloy Gives Up Everything, which could easily be interpreted as a companion piece to their first collaboration: Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps.
Premiering in the early noughties, the sitcom followed a group of mates led by 'ladette' Janet Keogh, who could regularly be found boozing at her local or ridiculing her boyfriend for being a "big gay" (yikes). This new series answers the question of what Janet might be up to today assuming she stayed on that trajectory.
Title character Rosie Molloy had similarly alcohol-soaked formative years, although seemingly spent more time with bad influence dad Conall (Ardal O'Hanlon) than people her own age. Now in her late 30s, she finds herself a high-functioning addict, just about managing to hold down a well-paid job while consuming an enormous amount of substances on the daily.
That is until an embarrassing display at her little brother's wedding serves as a wake-up call, compelling Rosie to go cold turkey on pretty much everything – from coke (the drug) to Coke (the drink).
Despite having a serious theme at its centre – the devastating impact of serious addiction – Rosie Molloy Gives Up Everything consciously pitches itself as more comedy than drama. That's not necessarily a bad thing, either, as the genre is a great space to explore hard-hitting topics in an accessible way (a la Feel Good, Bojack Horseman, and I May Destroy You).
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However, in this case, the show just winds up feeling really shallow. There's about as much snorting, smoking and shotting as you can reasonably fit into a half-hour, but the reflection feels almost like an afterthought.
We get some insight into what traumas have brought about her bad habits, but – much like Rosie herself – the show is so concerned with not getting too serious that it doesn't give these moments the appropriate sincerity or time to breathe.
It seems altogether more interested in Rosie's outrageous misbehaviour, from escaping rehab (as seen in the series's trailer) to downing a full bottle of wine (an apparently unplanned scene which, to be fair, is impressively executed by Smith – although the wine on set was fake, of course).
Overall, Smith is solid as ever and very much carries the show, appearing in literally every scene. It's an energetic performance that commands attention, but I suspect this won't go down as one of her more popular roles.
That's because Rosie doesn't come across as a particularly nice person despite the show's insistence otherwise, as she frequently punches down to sister-in-law Ruby (Adelle Leonce) and oblivious colleague Monica (Leah MacRae), among others. There are also glimmers of the outdated Two Pints humour in her, as she makes a couple of needless jabs at gender identity in just the first five minutes.
It's fun to see Father Ted co-stars Pauline McLynn and Ardal O'Hanlon back together, this time as parents Win and Conall, but both only have a few moments to shine. The same can be said for Lewis Reeves and Adelle Leonce as newly-wed brother Joey and sister-in-law Ruby; two characters who are such wet blankets they almost glamourise Rosie's behaviour by comparison.
Rounding out the cast is Oliver Wellington as flatmate Nico, probably the least likeable character of them all, whose extreme enabling of a troubled woman borders on the sociopathic.
In a sense, Rosie Molloy Gives Up Everything tries to have its cake and eat it too; an act which is ironically befitting to its impulsive title character. In putting its roots down so firmly in comedy, the show mishandles its central theme, with fleeting moments of attempted sincerity failing to resonate.
With stronger execution, this idea could have been more interesting and genuinely provocative. As it stands, it's watchable enough, but lacks any meaningful commentary and feels like less than the sum of its parts.
Rosie Molloy Gives Up Everything premieres on Sky Comedy and NOW on Wednesday 7th December 2022. Find out more about how to sign up for Sky TV.