Italian crime drama, Gomorrah. With Season 3 just newly devoured, it’s got me wanting, craving again the comedy antidote to those criminal core behaviours. The alternative, I mean, rather than an opposite; and real bathos, I mean, by comedy. See, ganglord? How not every declaration is crystal? I love the drama, of course, and the well-delivered types, the darkness. It’s the absence of rooted everydayness – the slightest capacity for standing in the wrong place, for a surprisingly squeaky voice from a dry throat – which becomes the loudest thing for me. Because this is so about me – watching pantomime villains with none of the panto. Ineptitude, doubt, self-consciousness and de-railing – the things that dreams aren’t made of.
I find myself watching Gomarrah through two pairs of eyes – one frowning, one upside-downing: impressed at how the confederates waiting to parlay (and slaughter) have arranged themselves into that horseshoe formation; not just themselves but their fancy cars too – whilst simultaneously I’m alight with comic fantasies concerning the moment someone in the brotherhood suggested how they should stand, and someone arguing petulantly otherwise. Unmentioned choreography in all its arch-campness. The car with the broken headlight, or annoyingly stuck on full beam.. ‘well I don’t know how to turn it off!’ Just anything, frankly, to illuminate the stumbling loveliness of realness. And, yes, because I have a problem with concrete-headed alpha types; brooding and, ultimately, passion.
Best part of half-a-dozen years ago, I wrote a thing here about EastEnders villains; specifically the long-gone character, Michael Moon. It’s nice to know that the observations and goose-pimples of a younger and undoubtedly gorgeous me still represent my case. That there is form in the criminal archetype, which having been seen – and loved – will always trouble my watching any such effort which fails to deliver the goods with the baddies.
Does the lightly, cleverly, comic version of Crime Drama exist?
I skim back through a notebook and I find scattered scratchings on the subject – even efforts to set up the premise. Or brief character profiles. The nightclub owner who only talk in metaphors and ever-ready analogous scenarios. ‘Have you ever listened to a harpsichord?’, he languidly asks, when the copper rocks up. ‘No,’ says the beak, ‘and put a sock in it, cos you’re under arrest.’ Why do crime lords presume they can engage with a windy snippet of culture; assume to be understood? Yes, I have issues with authority, criminal or otherwise. The desire to subvert is funny and strong. And I’m going to start staking it out.
Link to 2012’s Michael Moon piece, here.