Thursday, September 7, 2006

TheTVObserver: The LAB on SABC3

I have watched the show “The Lab” since its premiers, and I should really congratulate the channel on a good drama. It’s not a Jerry Bruckheimer drama, but for the producers and writers of the show, they do a very good job of delivering a new breed of drama.

The actors are great, and I love the subtle humor of the show. It always cracks me up.
When they showed the program’s behind the scene commentary before it aired, I was very worried and I thought to myself “Oh yet another local drama”. But soon I found myself intrigued by it.

Mnet has always pioneered good local drama productions and this new show seems to have delivered on what has always been expected only from the Mnet camp.

They have brilliantly tried to decode the investment banking lifestyle and language to appeal to regular television viewers. Although I would prefer the real deal, it is more fun when you experience the actual lifestyles, culture and language of the people being portrayed. Then again, that’s just me perhaps the rest of South Africa does not feel that way.

TVSA’s show page reports that it was researched for 3years. In one way or the other, one can at least see that a lot of work has gone into getting the show right.

Monty…. Monty…. I don’t understand why all of a sudden we are given a de-tour to gayville. There is nothing wrong with having a gay character on the show. In fact I think it’s great, especially because if, in fact, Monty is gay, he would represent a majority of executives and non-camp gay viewers.

What I don’t understand is why they did not have a good lead-in to the gay revelation. Maybe they wanted the shock effect, which worked because it knocked me right off my seat, although I kept saying…. No Monty! No Monty!

You know from the stare he had for Mr. Party Planner. Everyone knew what was going to happen next, but I could hear all the Christian families going – what the hell is going on now, and boy did he follow-through on his plan or should I say stare.

What I also appreciate from the show is how they have kept the black and white issues out of the core message of the show. You see the characters as people but not their race, which most shows fail to do. It reminds me of how Grey’s Anatomy has skillfully managed to carry that through. I particularly enjoyed when Simon “Jaws” Bhengu’s wife discovered the affair and did not bring in all the drama about race. Not to mention the fact that the affair was seen and delivered on-screen, as just that, an affair not anything else.

On the other hand we have Charles’s girlfriend, Ahaaa the trouble maker. I think this was a brilliant storyline. To have Charles the poor mummy’s boy dating a career driven, and self-righteous journalist. I particularly like the scene when Pearl was first to arrive at the couple’s house warming party. That was funny. I enjoyed how Pearl delivered her confrontation lines to little Ms News.

What made me laugh uncontrollably is when the guests where all members of The Lab, and I thought to myself, doesn’t she have any friends. Anyway, the gang starts talking business and she excuses herself. What bowled me over is when they (Monty and Jaws), tell Pearl that they have decided to buy the bank. Pearl throws a fit and Ms News comes back only to be stopped by Charles when she tries to leave again. Hahahahahaha. I loved that. This crew is very good at doing awkward scenes.

This is the first time I watch a local drama that I found informative, representative, and very entertaining. I can honestly say that the editing and producing on the show always me not to have a favorite actor or actress, in stead, I find myself enjoying the company of all the actors, both lead and guests. This is a true achievement in local drama. That is why I consider this show a “Breed of New Drama”.

SABC should really order a second season and give the producers and creators of the show an opportunity to return the series with more drama.

TheTVObservers Reviews
“A BRILLIANT show from the producers and creators”
“SABC has made a FIRST-RATE business decision to order The Lab”
“For a South African production, this drama is EXCELLENT!”
“Great storyline, good actors and an enjoyable HOUR on television”

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