Starring: Anders Hayward, Ade Oyefuso, Brittney Wilson, Alice Lee, Tim Key
Humpo Show Rating | 4.25 / 5
Channeling similar vibes to that of successful Channel 4 comedies, The Inbetweeners and Fresh Meat, Gap Year is a new comedy that is shown on E4 about a merry band of travelers that have gone to Asia separately but fate has brought them together for hilarious hi-jinks and nincompoopery. A comedy well worth a watch.
The series follows the funny five-some across Asia, each episode is in a different country, as the group struggle with the usual travelling problems – language barriers, food poisoning, misunderstandings with locals, and the inevitable bust-ups with friends – all familiar to anyone that has traveled with friends and strangers. But what separates this merry band of travelers from any other is the extraordinary mishaps, dangers and mistakes that they make, whether that is shooting a friend with a poisoned dart or blowing up an orphanage! The Gap Year writers has tapped into an untapped comedy setting that helps to establish its own identity and to make it more memorable among an audience. The closest to come to it was the Inbetweeners 2 film that seen that gang “travel” around Australia. Despite that having more laughs-per-minute, Gap Year has a more solid story-line as well as story arcs for all of the characters that seem to develop with every episode which is a credit to the writers and the actors who have managed to make the viewers care about their personal struggles that many keep a secret for much of the series.
Anders Hayward plays Dylan, the university philosophy students that used the trip abroad to track down his ex (Rachel Redford), Ade Oyefuso is his plumber best friend from schooldays who is looking to broaden his horizons, Brittney Wilson and Alice Lee play a pair of US students, Ashley and May, who are traveling (on May’s parent’s money) for experience and to boost their resumes. The final member of the gang is Greg (Tim Key), who is going through a divorce and is the Obi-Warn figure for the group as well as trying to get his life back on trap following some poor investments. That’s the group, a mixture of personalities, emotions, likes and dislikes culminate in them going on a mixture of explorations, including trekking through a jungle, working at an orphanage and being an extra in a zombie film, but with everything they do it turns into a slightly hellish experience.
Of course, it’s not a perfect creation, it lacks the laughs-a-minute ratio that other E4 creations have had, but it does delve deeper into the relationships, friendships and private thoughts that the characters have. It felt like Gap Year was a realistic portrayal of travelling Asia with strangers that become friends, as well as including some outlandish events which very well could be true. The writers, actors and crew have produced a very good comedy series that I would love to see a second series of, possibly exploring South America (Machu Picchu was mentioned in the final episode) as I have warmed to all the characters and their stories.
The final episode wrapped up a wonderful series in fitting style, the speeches and goodbyes to one another tugged at the heartstrings a little and the subtle humour made it heart-warming. The episode in Nepal displayed everything that was good about the series – showcasing the wonderful scenery of an Asian city, the unpredictability of travelling and the lasting and meaningful friendships that are made. A truly wonderful watch. So thank you Anders, Ade, Brittney, Alice and Tim for a memorable series with a fitfully funny and honest tale, that mixes sentiment, realistic and excessive humour so well. I have been captivated every week, and it has made me want to travel around Asia, or any other continent for that matter.
The series has been a wonderful watch, and it has filled the Inbetweeners/Fresh Meat hole in my life. The cast evidently have great chemistry with one another, their performances in many scenes came across as if they had become real friends off screen. With a few more witty, comedic moments it could have reached the heights of some of my favourite comedies, but despite that, it has captured my attention and weekly viewing without fail. A very watchable comedy that is perfect for the 18-30 intended audience.
The Humpo Show | Richard