Monday, February 22, 2010

The Book Group

the book group

Tagline:  Sex, drugs, and literature.

I spent most of Sunday watching The Book Group, which aired in the US on Ovation TV a few months ago and originally was broadcast in the UK in 2002/2003 (I think you can still catch it on hulu).  The story centers around Clare, an American who moves to Glasgow for reasons unknown, and the book group she starts in order to meet people and make friends.  The members are Barney, a stuck-up grad student; the instantly likable Kenny, Rab--not sure what he's doing there--Dirka and Fist, who are both Swedish and married to soccer players; and Janice, who is also married to a soccer player but I don't think is Swedish.

When I first started watching the show, the only thing I liked about it were the discussions about books (of course); but luckily there was Kenny, who is really the only likable character on the entire show, to keep me going.  The series reached a turning point when they read a made-up book and the whole thing started focusing more on all the characters sleeping together--or wanting to sleep together--and not really on books at all (although I did LOVE all the shots of people reading, especially the Swedish housewives).

I genuinely liked this very short (12 half-hour episodes total) series.  Although the beginning is a little rough and strays into ridiculousness on occassion in a grab for cheap laughs, by the third or fourth episode I got to know the characters and was entertained by them.  The second season, though, really is funny, with Clare's new boyfriend and her sister arriving in her life to give her more problems.  And speaking of Clare's sister, Jean--when I first met her I thought she was a bit of a shrew, but she quickly became my favorite character, dispensing advice like, "So what if you hurt.  People are sick all over the place; GET OVER IT."

I also liked that the writers made reading seem sexy (they really did) and drew a parallel between all the characters' desire to escape and how reading helped them not only do that, but broaden their outlook and experiences.  This is definitely a good series for bibliophiles to try out!

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