Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Reginald Perrin - Return To Climthorpe
A leitmotif threaded through so many television situation comedies is that of highly intelligent individuals fated to be stuck fast in dread life stasis year in and year out. From Sgt Ernest Bilko at Fort Baxter and Camp Fremont to Harold Steptoe up Oil Drum Lane and Basil Fawlty down in his Torquay hotel. And from Father Ted Crilly on Craggy Island to Tim Canterbury in Wernham Hogg's Slough offices.
I have recently watched the first series of The Fall and Rise Of Reginald Perrin again which completely falls within this comedic remit while interfacing with pathways of human stress and struggle whose modern day relevance are unquestionable.
The only qualifications upon this series not being dated are the fact that the Exotic Ices Project that instigated Reggie's nervous breakdown would be the exact kind of meaty endeavour to trigger blanket salivation in any second year PR or Marketing student in our current wankerish times. Likewise the thought of trying to "keep it real" while commuting from Surrey to Waterloo - from one's attractive detached house, wife and extended family to a permanent job with benefits and a pension - is alas something most of us can never aspire to again.
Several posts ago I made reference to one particular website advertising vacancies within Westminster that were so geared towards industrial internship abuse as to actually be the subject of tabloid exposure. Two days ago I noted when revisiting the same website that the main salary division active upon vacancy searches devolved to "Voluntary, unpaid or expenses only" and "National Minimum Wage or more".
We live in the strangest of shellshocked times where the banking fraternity has acted like pantomime villains to such an extent that a villainous pantomime banker himself - or somebody impersonating one - can appear on BBC breakfast television making statements so laughably offensive as to represent a literal curse on the British economy and civil society alike. Not too far below such bastardry however - which already should be considered as a seminal moment in British social and broadcasting history - is the behaviour of the HR "industry" in underpinning the malicious spread of the internship phenomena.
Whether or not if it is even possible for the current generation in their twenties to circumvent such lose-lose logistics - where ideally one's lifetime mortgage outgoings should be out of the way by the age of 21 to free up salary slack - the fact remains that this one social development alone looks set to cause unprecedented damage to a plurality of generations in its scale and sweep.
If Reggie had seen the future shock over the horizon perhaps he could have turned things around just through looking for a new job alone as opposed to talking things through with his cat, sloppy infidelity and a faked suicide.