I don't intend to dwell on the Bleak Old Shop of Stuff for long - only to say that it was a lovely, silly romp with lots and lots of jokes. Yes, a little too much CGI, and maybe an hour isn't quite the right length for this, but when somebody points out a church is called 'St Weddings', who can resist?
Well, some critics obviously. Mixed reaction, as one would expect. Now, one cannot blame someone for not liking something. There are plenty of shows out there which are not to my taste but people like them, and I must accept that. But the critic who falls into the trap of saying 'No one can find this funny' is skating on thin festive ice.
I mention this because Zoe Williams' response is baffling and slightly comical. She hates the show. Fine. She insists on relaying the jokes she hates. It really is the way you tell them. And then, it being the internet, people leave their comments. Some agree. Some disagree. Occasionally, the critic gets lured back into making comments. If you're a critic reading this (or a writer for that matter), can I suggest you don't get lured in message-board debates? Typing out a reaction and hitting 'send' or 'post' often does not end well. You may end up saying something exactly like this:
I don't think humour is subjective. I think some things are funny and some things aren't, and this wasn't, and people who think it was are misguided.
I hope that's a joke, and that the tone has not come across. Otherwise, that's a worrying statement from a critic who seems to have access to mythical equipment that tells us what is objectively funny and what is not. Can we all have a look at this equipment Zoe? Some of us could really use it in our day-to-day writing work.
Then Ms Williams makes the mistake of assuming that anyone who disagrees agrees with her must be in some way a relative the the writer. "Are you serious?" she writes. "Are you this writer's mum?" Cheap shot.
Come on, Ms Williams. You're a professional journalist and you're better than this. I'm sure you are. (I don't read the Guardian, but I assume so, since it seems to be a decent publication).
I'm making a fuss about this because the way critics write about comedy, and sitcoms in particular, has changed the way sitcoms are perceived and even commissioned - especially within the industry. But that is a topic for another blog post.
Now, please do post your carefully considered comments...