Sometimes – just sometimes – a programme is so ridiculous it will make me howl with laughter. It’s not award-winning, it’s not a brand new appointment telly series I’ve discovered, it’s certainly not something I would instantly insist on buying all the box sets of. But it is something that fills me with delight at its unashamed enjoyment of its own brashness, quip-slinging, swear-smuggling and wandering accents. I was gripped and grinning from start to finish. Thank you, random third series of Republic Of Doyle.
I only really tuned in because a big shout had gone out that Russell Crowe would be guesting in the season opener. Interest piqued, I duly tuned in, only to find that the rumours of Crowe’s actual sense of humour had not been simply a PR stunt.
This is an Oscar-winner guesting so that, as a kidnapper, he gets to say such lines as; “So why’d you come back? Stockholm Syndrome?” It’s flippant, it’s violent, the last time I saw anything like this it was at two in the morning in the early Nineties and I’d just stumbled in from the pub. You know the kind of thing, usually set in Hawaii or Vancouver. Not LA and certainly not the swishness of New York.
“…what happens when The A-Team and MacGyver swear and drink”
This is in a port town in Newfoundland, and as soon as the cop chief started telling the cop star that he ‘couldn’t keep behaving like this’, listing among recent misdemeanours that he “scared a police dog into retirement”, I had that creeping feeling that this was going to be quality trash. Little did I know quite how much quality.
And how much trash.
That’s not to say that’s a bad thing. There is a time and a place for such things, as proven by the huge career of Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s what kids love to do most when they get to play outside: shooting each other; quipping and playing the tough guy. It even has the same distractions: as a kidnapper and kidnappee get caught up in a side-bar about nut allergies, in that ludicrous way you can stop mid-chase around the playground to look at a dead frog. Republic Of Doyle is kind of what happens when
The A-Team and MacGyver swear and drink. So with all this in mind it’s sort of not hard to see why Russell Crowe might have elected to join the cast for one episode. Everyone from the off is muttering about protagonist Jake Doyle – someone’s got to stop him, he’s his own worst enemy, has he been fired from the police force yet? – so it might be quite nice for the Gladiator star to get to run around the playground in which he isn’t the biggest and toughest guy around. He even gets to have a bit of a belly. And lots of fun. Like being tazered. Like most of this programme, a thing that’s so not fun in real life, but lots of fun in this kiddie’s land of make-believe rogue law enforcers. Bang! Bang!
Republic Of Doyle, series 3, Alibi, Tuesday 12 June 2012