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In Sally4Ever, HBO’s critically acclaimed new British comedy, Sally (Catherine Shepherd from Peep Show) swaps her long-term relationship with a boring man, David (Alex Macqueen from The Inbetweeners), for an impulsive affair with another woman, Emma (creator, executive producer, writer and director Julia Davis, who’s also starred in Phantom Thread, Black Mirror and Little Britain) – with outrageous consequences.
Emmy winner Mark Gatiss (Sherlock) and British Comedy Award nominees Julian Barratt (The Mighty Boosh) and Felicity Montagu (I’m Alan Partridge) co-star, while Game of Thrones’ Sean Bean and Lena Headey have cameos.
“Depraved cringe comedy at its most inexplicably compelling… Julia Davis is a comic genius, and by genius I mean she has a profound and uncanny gift for pinpointing the horrors buried in your subconscious mind and wrenching them out into the open.” – The Atlantic
1. It’s from seven-time BAFTA nominee Julia Davis
Davis is a seven-time BAFTA TV Award nominee now crossing over to fame in America after Girls’ Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner reimagined her cult comedy Camping for American TV, with Jennifer Garner.
In Britain, she’s a household name for writing and starring in series like Nighty Night, which The Hollywood Reporter recently called “one of the funniest and bleakest things you’ll ever see” and Hunderby, which earned her a BAFTA for Best Writer: Comedy.
As Amy Gravitt, executive vice president, HBO Programming, puts it, ““We’ve been in comedy awe of Julia for many, many years. We’re thrilled to be a part of her latest stroke of genius.”
2. It’ll make you laugh out loud and cringe in equal measure
“Sally4Ever has sculpted my abs via belly laughs,” wrote The Guardian. “Some pals and I are now into the territory of quoting lines at each other, the way men do with The Big Lebowski.”
But these belly laughs aren’t always comfortable. Rolling Stone called it a “painfully funny cringe comedy” that “delivers some big laughs and whole lot of squirm-inducing moments.”
Similarly, The Atlantic praised Sally4Ever’s “grotesque brilliance” and described the show as “depraved cringe comedy at its most inexplicably compelling… Julia Davis is a comic genius, and by genius I mean she has a profound and uncanny gift for pinpointing the horrors buried in your subconscious mind and wrenching them out into the open.”
3. It’ll make you feel better about your life
As The Hollywood Reporter wrote, Davis is “queen of creating awful characters and making them awfully funny…”
The characters in Sally4Ever are the worst. No matter how bad your boyfriend is, David makes him look like Prince Charming. No matter how crazy your girlfriend is, at least she’s not Emma. No matter how much of a spineless people-pleaser you feel like sometimes, you’re not as bad as Sally… And there’s something both laugh-out-loud funny and weirdly cathartic about that.
As Vogue wrote, “Experiencing Julia Davis’s brand of British comedy is like getting into a very hot bath: At first, the water is so warm as to be uncomfortable, scalding, and prickly, so much so that you might even think, ‘Why am I doing this?’ But give it just a bit longer, and it feels great, nourishing, and even like you’re doing something for your health.”
4. Critics adore it
Sally4Ever has a 97% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It was one of The Los Angeles Times’ top 10 TV shows of 2018; Rolling Stone called it “explosively funny.. It’s hilarious and painfully funny and your new favorite imported show”; Variety named it “the funniest new show of the fall”; and Entertainment Weekly described it as “like nothing you’ve ever seen.”
We’re the first to admit that Sally4Ever may not be for everyone – as The Hollywood Reporter wrote, “Davis finds humor by running a knife right through you while laughing, which makes her dark comedies not for those who like nice people and bright comedies.”
But the people who do like Sally4Ever really like it.
Take The Guardian, who wrote, “Have you been watching Sally4Ever? If not, I will track you down and make you… I’ve been annoying everybody recently by recommending the TV show Sally4Ever. Whatever the conversation topic is, I will find a way to interject: ‘OK, but have you been watching Sally4Ever?’ If they haven’t, I pursue them like a debt collector. Nobody escapes. Friends, colleagues, family. Soon I’ll be writing to newspapers and stopping people in the street… It has brought me back to the joys of TV comedy.”
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