As I have argued before in my posts, comedy is a subjective area. I have found things rip-roaringly funny that hasn’t even raised a smile from others. Then there is the whole debate of comedy being dramatically defined merely as the absence of tragedy. That in itself raises questions over the more bleaker comedies, for example Getting On. Personally, I am a fan of black humour, so long as there is no victim or cruelty to it. A joke at the expense of how we treat the disabled – yes. A joke at the expense of the disabled – no.

Which brings me to The Walshes. Is it a comedy that mocks Irish family life? Or is it more of a celebration of individual quirks that humanity has? I find that this largely falls into the later category. For people who find Mrs Brown’s Boys grating and over-the-top, this is a perfect antidote. The set up is similar: fearsome but loving matriarch, anarchic kids, patriarch on the side lines, oddball neighbours. Yet with The Walshes, there is a lighter touch.

The second episode, screened Tuesday night on BBC2, is a great example of this. The normal, everyday act of a daughter’s boyfriend moving in sets a chain of reactions that prove to be hilarious but honest. The mother, panicking over the morality of the situation, pretends to be fine with everything whilst clearly not. The dad worries over feeling intellectually inferior, so tries to change himself. Both plots build nicely to a finale based around a very tense family board game night, featuring perhaps the first joke to reference Encarta 95.

Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised at the quality. It is the latest creative child of Graham Linehan, who has teamed up with Irish comedy ensemble Diet of Worms. Originally screened in Ireland, and then hidden away on BBC4, it is finally making a break for it on BBC2. A second series is dependent on its success, but I hope there is one. And a longer one at that – three episodes just isn’t enough. The pedigree of those working on the show alone should be enough for the commission. After all, someone keeps buying more episodes of Mrs Brown’s Boys. If the bar for success is that low, The Walshes deserves at least double the investment.

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