Cuckoo (BBC) Season 1 Review “Grandfather’s Cat”

cuckoo bbc3 cast photo

This week’s Cuckoo, ‘Grandfather’s Cat’, is a good old-fashioned sitcom episode with a hilariously ludicrous situation matched with some pretty brilliant visual gags and embarrassing situations that take you back to some of the genre’s best episodes.

Crucially, the episode is built around an incredibly silly, if a little bit sad, conceit, and Ken’s strained relationship with Cuckoo actually takes a back seat. I suppose after last week’s drug-fuelled bonding session, another two-hander at this point would have been overkill. At the start of the episode, the family go to see Lorna’s father for the first time with Cuckoo in tow. Assuming the culture clash between the older patriarch and new age grandson-in-law would provide the laughter, the episode’s success actually rides entirely on Greg Davies’ performance.

First off, an outsider buying into Cuckoo’s slight madness refreshes the show’s central conceit and allows Ken to come off even more justifiably infuriated. Cuckoo’s assertion that the white cat visiting granddad is actually the reincarnation of his late wife, Deborah, is brilliantly played and the set-up from here just about stays on the right side of tasteless. The bowl test is particularly funny, since it’s always fun to see a completely mad idea seemingly proven right against all logic. We feel for the man who believes his wife has returned, but we can also see that any outcome won’t be pleasant for the unsuspecting feline.

And sure enough, Dylan finds his granddad’s old rifle, and you’re sure then that we won’t get through the episode without it popping up again. Knowing what will inevitably happen when Ken points the gun out of the window doesn’t make it any less entertaining however, and the rest of the episode takes its cues from the best examples of excruciatingly embarrassing sitcom capers. With the rest of the family believing the cat to be a much-missed family member, Ken must hide the corpse at the local pub, but picks the wrong bag in which to hide the body.

Cuckoo is building to be a strong comedy with sympathetic characters, an attention to detail, and plenty of laughs. While I still have a problem with how Rachel and Lorna are portrayed, Ken, Cuckoo and Dylan never seem to miss a beat and I have yet to find myself losing interest at any point. With only a couple of episodes left, I can’t wait to see where the family ends up, and that says something after spending only four weeks in their company.

What did you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments.