Critical Condition: Motherland

Motherland | SoHo, 9.30 Thursday

➢➢ “Motherland is a six-part illustration of the unadulterated hogwash that is the concept of “having it all”. It’s Butterflies for the 21st century, where burnt rice puddings and the fantasy of an affair are small potatoes among working mothers for whom getting through the day without anyone dying is a triumph … There’s something exhilarating about how Sharon Horgan, Graham Linehan and co don’t even try to make these people likable.” — The Guardian.

➢➢ “Motherland cleverly combines the twin British comedy staples of class and cringing social embarrassment, and makes the most of slamming them together. It’s quite a conventional sitcom in that sense – there’s no mockumentary-style wobbly camera work and crashing zooms, or breaking the fourth wall, but it’s none the worse for that. The subtle, and quite fresh, thing about it is how it explores the differences and tensions within the broad strata of the English middle classes.” — The Independent.

➢➢ “There’s a danger that this kind of thing could easily become a bit of a middle-class snowglobe with jokes for and about a small subset of Londoners whose lives do indeed revolve around kids’ parties and school fundraisers (me, for example). But the comedy in Motherland is so scabrous and unrelenting that nothing about it ever feels cosy.” — The Telegraph.

➢➢ “Motherland wants everything about parenting to be heightened, frantic and awful, and picks a format that contrasts flustered working mom Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin) with nonworking, everything-is-perfectly-easy queen-bee mom Amanda (Lucy Punch). Basically, Motherland is a high school clique comedy about parents, including Kevin (Paul Ready), the eager-to-please single dad, and Liz (Diane Morgan), the jaded, whatever-works mom, relegated to a less cool table in the cafe where they all gather every day … Its biggest issue is one that hurts plenty of comedies regardless of the premise: It’s too forced.” — The Hollywood Reporter.

➢➢ “The overall experience of Motherland is the same. Well-intentioned and with strong ideas worth supporting — seriously, people, help out your spouses — the BBC Two comedy can’t balance the chaos it creates with the chaos it instills in viewers. Cringe comedy can provide an outlet to pent-up frustrations, but Motherland mainly builds more of them.” — IndieWire.

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