It’s my first time covering Pete Versus Life here on Unreality Shout. In case you haven’t seen the newest Channel 4 sitcom, here’s a quick primer for you:
Pete is a hapless, socially awkward sports journalist. While he bumbles through life, a pair of commentators – Colin and Terry – give the inside scoop on Pete’s shambolic life. In keeping with the sports programming theme, the commentators will often call to screen statistics cards showing some of Pete’s past adversaries or girlfriends.
Tonight’s adventure involved Pete revealing his friend Jake’s bum fingering dilemma – Jake’s girlfriend liked to slip him a finger at the height of their lovemaking – to all their friends. In fairness, it was to get himself out of an awkward situation after ignoring another friend’s pushy girlfriend.
When he’s not destroying relationships, Pete turns to petty crime to replace a pair of trainers he lost on a drunken night out. The scenes with him disguised and looking quite disturbing as he robs a pretentious shoe-store employee were hilarious. Even better was the ending, when he got caught out for his crimes in the alcohol-free bar.
The thing about Pete is that, well, he’s a total scrote. Alright, his friends’ girlfriends are all loathsome creatures, but Pete behaves with a total lack of honesty or dignity toward them all that none of the ‘other halves’ like him at all. For instance, after causing the perfect Jake to get dumped by his girlfriend over the whole bum fingering thing, Pete visits her to plead on Jake’s behalf. And ends up sleeping with her.
True to form, they have an uncomfortable conversation the next morning. “I feel bad about last night…it was definitely a one-off, etc” But Pete actually has the audacity to ask why she didn’t give him the finger treatment. Idiot.
What’s to like about this series? Lots of nice little touches – like the girlfriend offering Pete some cream from her finger just after Jake confessed her penchant for anal fingering. And Jake’s livid reaction to finding out Pete slept with his girlfriend – a pathetic slap to the face and the admonishment, “I didn’t want to have to do that.” (I’m paraphrasing). Perfect, pacifist Jake would never land a full-fledged punch on someone.
Even the little bits in between work rather well – like Pete encountering his old English teacher, always at moments where it looks like Pete’s floundering. It’s reminiscent of that scene in the IT Crowd a couple of weeks back where Roy’s university friend thought he was a window cleaner. Except in this case, Pete’s teacher thought he was a tramp.
The only thing that brings the series down a little is the sports overtones. It’s just not my thing, so it’s a personal turn-off rather than a problem with the show. Otherwise, I’m enjoying watching this bumbling cretin struggling to get through each day. You should too. Channel 4, Friday nights at 10:00pm. For the next three weeks at least.