Pulling: The Complete First Season

With shorter seasons and a much more liberal view, British television has produced some very memorable comedies in the past few years, such as The IT Crowd, Little Britain and the much-lauded Gavin & Stacey. But the system that helps cultivate new talent is also rather impatient and impulsive, so some great shows get overlooked and/or neglected, and that's very much the case with Pulling. Billed on the DVD case as "the dark side of Sex & The City," it has more in common with Curb Your Enthusiasm, in that it possesses the awkwardness that makes for frequent uneasy viewing. It tells the story of Donna (played by the show's co-creator, Sharon Horgan), a 20something who decides to call off her wedding after her bachelorette party, then moves in with her two best friends (Karen, an alcoholic, slutty school teacher and Louise, a naive yet desperate waitress) with ensuing hilarity. Except the hilarity is hidden under quite a few layers of darkness and plotlines that include one night stands, suicide attempts and a Hitler moustache. Despite the fact that none of the main characters are particularly likeable and there doesn't appear to be any taboo that doesn't rear its ugly head at one time or another, Pulling is an enjoyable show that's fiercely funny. The six episodes that make up the first season don't so much propel a storyline as catalogue the disasters in the threesome's work and love lives. The DVD has a few rather predictable extras, such as the ubiquitous commentary tracks on a couple of episodes, which were obviously lots of fun to record, even if they don't reveal too much. The deleted scenes ably demonstrate why they were deleted but the interviews with the cast and crew give about 30 minutes of interesting background info on the show. It would be nice to think that the DVD release could give the show a new lease on life but it's already too late. After two seasons featuring six episodes each, it has been cancelled, with just a forthcoming one-hour special to finish things off. Don't expect any tidy, happy endings though because Pulling takes great delight in showing that life, when it comes down to it, is messy and a little bit bleak. But if you can't laugh at other people's expense, what can you laugh at? (MPI)