Reggie Perrin: Episode 2
Well, the second episode of Reggie Perrin has been and gone, so what of my fears that I talked about last week?
I was worried about Neil Stuke's performance as CJ in the first episode, but he does seem to have settled into the role, and, curiously, seems to have been made up to look older, which seems to help. He's beginning to attack Reggie, critising him for not having a briefcase (leading to a good fantasy of Reggie carrying a suitcase which CJ's severed head falls out of), bullying him into trying to improve his small talk with the office bore, Colin, and informing Reggie that "It's cold out there". Neil has adopted some rather effective pauses as well, which has lifted his performance. However, his 'didn't get where I am today' joke fell a bit flat.
I didn't get where I am today without not having consistent makeup jobs between episodes.
The second episode was all about Reggie wanting more quality time with his wife, and so enabled Fay Ripley to play a more interesting part than I'd seen so far. It also gave rise to a very funny joke, where Reggie and his wife are in bed, and after declaring that he would cook his wife breakfast in the morning, asks her "Full or continental?". She replies "Do you mind if we don't? I'm really knackered", then realising in the awkward succeeding pause that he was referring to breakfast. Reggie's theme of people not talking properly is underpinned by the unexpected presence of two of Nicola's colleagues in their living room. Reggie decides to take off his trousers in the hall in order to relax further, and only realises that they're there when he marches into the room in his pants. The next shot of Reggie sat on the sofa, still in his pants, emphasises his sense that the women don't even register his presence, and their obliviousness to his attempts to join in results in a nice fantasy flash of Reggie shooting one of them in the head.
The Wellness Person
Reggie's encounter with the Wellness Person is funnier than in the first episode, with Reggie ending up stuffing her wind chime down his trousers whilst in the process of trying to silence it before her entrance. She tells Reggie that she took being called simple as a compliment, and appears to be happy because of her obliviousness to any other emotion. Her mentoring of Reggie in conversational ping-pong ends with Reggie telling her "...then I'm off on a two day self-harming course in Purley". She doesn't see the funny side.
What do you mean, I'm not as funny as Doc Morrissey? You sad sausage.
The rest of the supporting cast
Although Lucy Liemann creates the adequate amount of awkwardness after Reggie kisses her, neither the Yes Men or Reggie's PA make any more of an impression than in the last episode. The second episode also sees Reggie's mother (played by Wendy Craig) and father-in-law (played by Geoffery Whitehead), and although Wendy Craig does a reasonable job in playing a character as sarcastic as Reggie, the effect is not as amusing. Geoffery Whitehead has been handed a really tough character, as it simply requires him to imitate Geoffery Palmer's Jimmy from the original series, which needs a masterful performance to carry off. He doesn't.
On the whole, the second episode seems to be more settled, with a train delay announcement proclaiming that the delay is 'due to whatever', a cross-country car ride (literally) meaning Reggie misses the meal his wife cooked for him, and the episode closing with Reggie smelling winter jasmine on the train, after stating "perhaps we should all stop and smell the flowers", signifiying an increase in confidence. Let's hope it continues, as the series has already shown that it can produce some very good jokes when it's sure of itself.