Television Revision: Gavin & Stacey – Season 3

Television Revision: Gavin & Stacey – Season 3. Starring Mathew Horne, Joanna Page, and James Corden. Rated M. By Andrew Williams.

Television Revision is a weekly feature in which our tuned in TV critic trawls through the best the box has to offer, giving you a primer on some of history’s finest shows (and warning you away from the specific episodes – or even seasons! – that might have ruined their reputation).

Now,. this is a story all about how… Gavin (Mathew Horne) has a new job, which means he is living with a much happier Stacey (Joanna Page) in Wales, but misses both his family and his friend Smithy (James Corden). Smithy isn’t doing much better; both his baby and its mother Nessa (Ruth Jones) are living with another man.

Happy days? It wasn’t until halfway through Gavin & Stacey’s third season that I started to consistently laugh out loud at the writing. Until then, the show seemed content relying on Welsh jokes, Smithy being emotional, and Nessa busting out her trademark catchphrases. It was never unpleasant to watch, but it felt like a rut rather than a groove.

Thankfully, writers Corden & Jones eventually remember that even the lightest of comedies need a plot of some description, and Gavin & Stacey starts to fire on all cylinders. In fact, I think the last three episodes might be the show at its best, featuring hilarious writing, terrific acting, and an affecting emotional core. Best of all, the previously problematic lead characters have a realistic and compelling subplot that allows Horne and Page to do their best work, both comedic and dramatic.

This is the last season of Gavin & Stacey, and while I highly enjoyed watching it, I don’t share the desire of many of its fans for a fourth season, or the need to revisit it. While writing these reviews, I’ve met many people who love it unconditionally and I can see why, but I don’t think its funny or affecting enough to place it in the pantheon of great television comedies. Overall, though, consider these reviews a solid recommendation, and you never know… you might just fall in love with it too.

The final frontier: Season Three of Gavin & Stacey takes a while to kick into gear, but once it does, it’s the series at its best.

Top 3 Episodes: 4) The Sperm. A terrific outing with several laugh out loud moments that righted the course of a wheel-spinning season. 5) The Christmas Truce. Horne and Larry Lamb (as Gav’s dad) have a standout scene of quiet emotion amidst an episode filled with raucous comedy. 6) The Big Day / And In The End. The season finale is a little trite, but leaves you understanding why fans of Gavin & Stacey still call for its return.

Worst Episode: 2) The New Job. An episode in which nothing notable or funny happens until right at the very end, while also featuring a severe lack of Uncle Bryn (Rob Brydon).

Season MVP: Larry Lamb. The former soap opera villain is doing an outstanding job playing one of the all-time good guy Dads here, and (perhaps too late) the writing starts playing to Lamb’s deadpan strengths, mining his character for comedy gold.

Gavin & Stacey – Season 3 is now available on DVD. It can also be streamed instantly on Quickflix PLAY.

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