Review – Trollied
Trollied – Sky1 – 1 Season – UK
Over the last year or so Britain has seen a resurgence in sitcom production thanks to channels like Sky1 who are investing heavily in UK comedy. There was a time when suggesting that America produced smarter, funnier sitcoms than their rivals across the pond would have gotten you laughed out of wherever it was you were at the time of making such a statement. Recent years however have seen a huge comedy boom take place in the States while the UK has gone through some lean years. There have been good comedies scattered about the place but there haven’t been that many of them. Trollied, which debuted in 2011, was the first sitcom Sky1 had produced since 2002 and while the show isn’t all that funny it’s a confident first shot from the channel which has gone on to launch a whole batch of new comedies since.
Trollied opens with a faux-ad for a faux-supermarket chain called Valco which has the slogan “Serves You Right”. This intro is not only a pitch-perfect mockery of every supermarket advertisement you’ve ever seen but it also serves as introduction to all of the kooky misfits who work there. There’s a wide cast of characters who include the stuck-up but unloved Deputy Manager (Jane Horrocks from Absolutely Fabulous), a pair of larrikin butchers played by Mark Addy (Game Of Thrones) and Nick Blood, a cynical checkout chick (Chanel Cresswell from This Is England) and a whole range of other misfits and weirdos. Each episode hops around from one part of the supermarket to another like a less obnoxious version of Come Fly With Me that just happens to have more than two people playing all of the roles.
To suggest that Trollied has a plot would be like suggesting that drying paint has a good singing voice. There is the tiniest sliver of a plot involving the Deputy Manager’s lack of guests for her upcoming birthday party but it is so minor that you have to squint to notice it. Trollied is far more interested in small moments than it is in telling a story. It’s chosen its supermarket setting not as a place where wacky adventures can unfold but in order to comically highlight how very little goes on when you work at a supermarket. Most of the laughs that do appear come from people doing whatever they can to keep the boredom from eating away at them. There’s a funny scene where Mark Addy’s butcher sees if he can guess different types of sausage based simply on how they feel when placed on his shoulder.
When you work in a menial job you have to do whatever you can to pass the time. There’s a bit of an Office feel to Trollied, highlighted by the good-natured flirting between Creswell’s checkout girl and Blood’s butcher. They like each other and a bit of flirting brings a bit of fun to their otherwise boring days – even if there’s still a ping of disappointment when Blood’s girlfriend shows up to take him to a party. The unfortunate thing about focusing on such small unconnected moments is that Trollied can at times feel inconsequential. It’s amusing, and the cast are all likeable, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a point to any of it. Creating bigger storylines that tie all of the characters together would lose some of the show’s charm but it would stop scenes from feeling otherwise disconnected from the rest of the world. There’s a lot of potential in Trollied and it just needs a bit of a push to get there. You know, like how you push a trolley? Ahhh, nevermind.
Good, Alright, Bad Or Ugly?