The only thing more fun than watching this dead pan British comedy is imagining being in on the meeting when they pitched the idea.
“Yes, we want to make a six part comedy about two hapless suburban blokes walking around with metal detectors, and the women who love them, use them, or want to walk around with metal detectors too!”
“What? Are you kidding?” Well, obviously yes, and the writing, acting, and directing of this story is so spot on, you laugh every other minute without a laugh track inserted anywhere.
The story includes: a small British town and its folk, the two heroes, both not up to speed guys, who are set up against the wicked and ridiculous “Archeological Establishment” who just happen to look like Simon and Garfunkel (yes, and one of them is actually named Paul).
Then there are the heart felt loves, and day in the life characters, so finely drawn, any superficial take would have made them all nincompoops, but no… each and all seem real people you’ve had the misfortune to meet, at one point or another in the real world.
We laugh not at them, or with them, (they rarely laugh), but for them. The lost romance of men who long for days of adventure on high seas, now befuddled by the modern world, searching to find, or dig up, a more illustrious history, hidden just beneath their feet.
These are our sad and poignant clowns, like Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin. We laugh because they show us ourselves amidst superficial finds, bottle caps and buttons, still longing for greater worlds and vaster ancient treasure.
At one point one of the “heroes” is asked to move on by the police, because while waiting for his teacher girlfriend outside her school, he discombobulates a few worried mothers, who suspect he’s a perv.
Mortified he asks his girlfriend upon her arrival wether he looks like one to her. “No,” she says, to his earnest weasel face, “more like a drug addict”. With great relief he moves on. This “come up in the world” assessment of his visage assuring him, of what one wonders.
But it’s the beauty of the ending that makes you want this show to go on. Won’t ruin it for you, just know its worth every penny, that would make a metal detector ring to the tree tops, or awaken long buried Kings.