I rarely use the word genius to describe anything or anyone (save myself) usually because anyone you label a genius will usually get offended that you’ve placed them on too high a pedestal and that the ‘genius’ label is something that they can never live up to or justify (save myself). But Armando Iannucci is a genius.
He works as producer, writer and/or director on projects that include ‘The Day Today’, ‘I’m Alan Partridge’, ‘Genius’ (funny that), the little seen but still wonderful ‘The Armando Iannucci Show’ and the reason we’re here today, ‘The Thick of It’. Or more accurately ‘In The Loop’ the biggifying of the BBC4 political satire.
‘In The Loop’ is a profundity-strewn comedy to rival ‘Dr. Strangelove’ in the ‘look at what douches we have running the world’ stakes and sees regular ‘The Thick of It’ cast members swap the halls of Westminster for the bigger stage of Washington. And Fictional War. Lots of Fictional War.
While US General Miller (James Gadolfini) tries his best to avert said War and Neocon-esque Linton Barwick (David Rasche) tries his best to kick it off, poor little Brit minister Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) is caught in the middle. But fear not as Shouty Scot and chief liason to the PM Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi) is there to tell him what to think. As is the rest of the ‘The Thick Of It’ cast in one sense or the other. Including Chris Langham as Education Secretary. (That last sentence was a joke. And quite a fantastically tasteless one at that.)
Without the foreknowledge of Malcolm Tucker et al, ‘In the Loop’ may seem as hard to get your head around as ‘Fast And Furious’ but it does an admirable job of keeping things relatively simple whilst also being laden with as many characters as a Robert Altman flick. Why the other characters, except Malcolm, play similar roles but with different character names seems odd to the seasoned ‘Thick’ viewer but as a stand alone piece its funny, biting and brilliantly sweary.
A couple of detractors may say this is a few years behind relevance but unless no other war is started from here until the end of time by idiots who want attention then those detractors are just plain wrong. A better argument would be does it deserve or necessitate a big screen incarnation. Well yes and no. No because the venture isn’t exactly cinematic (it would work easily on the little tele box and may be better suited) and yes because its better written and acted than 90% of the gumph on the silver screen.
Oh and the dictionary definition of a genius is someone with ‘extraordinary intellectual and creative power’ just to prove I’m not actually a genius.