One of the strangest oddities of television is that the audience that advertisers, and therefore for the most part Tv bosses, aim for is the 16-24-year-olds. A fair amount of disposable income (even in these hardened times), combined with commercial naivety, makes this market fair game. Yet this is also the age group that arguably watches the least TV, due to them being less dependent on it. They still have “lives” that are beyond the four walls the TV is dependent on in order to entrap its audience. So why make shows where all the lead characters are of this age? The cultural abomination Hollyoaks aside, no student-centred programme survives for very long. This is presumably because people who have never been students, or who have been but left that bubble a long time ago, have no interest in what fictional students get up to.

Which brings me to Fresh Meat. It should be everything I hate about shows that attempt to depict the ‘comical’ aspects of university: scripts written by people who left education a long time ago, plotlines involving drugs and booze, all the characters as socially inept to one degree or another. Yet it’s good. Very good in fact. Maybe it’s because it is written under the watchful gaze of Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, the creators of the cult hit Peep Show. Another factor that helps is the ability for the show to produce a sparkling bit of dialogue or physical comedy that is far higher in quality than you expect. Most importantly though it is the fact the characters stay on the right side of caricature; Jack Whitehall as JP in particular pulls this trick off, creating a posh berk whose only wish is to impress old school fellows, not realising they never were, or will be, his friends.

Of all the characters though, it is Vod who has stolen my heart. It worries me that most critics of the show ignore her role, considering as she actually gets some of the best lines. Last night saw her come up with a gem of a response to why she was planning to throw some blood at the student protest: “Dunno. Maybe as something symbolic. Maybe as just a bit of blood throwing.” she shrugs. Kingsley and Josie may provide the romantic plotline, Howard and JP the most obvious examples of social ineptitude, and Oregon the (slightly clichéd) storyline of student/tutor sexual shenanigans, but it is Vod who is the beating heart of the show. Without her, Fresh Meat would become a little rancid.

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