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Reggie Perrin: Episode 4

Here we are, four episodes in, and the main question in my mind is: shouldn't something have actually happened by now? Reggie Perrin is actually very slow-paced, which is odd compared to the original sitcom and novel, and compared to most modern-day sitcoms. It's hard to tell whether this is a deliberate device by the writers, or whether they aren't too sure about where the show is going. This episode features Reggie going on a business trip to Helsinki with Jasmine. Will Reggie's marriage survive the strain?

At last, CJ gets something to do, as he strides into Reggie and Jasmine's hotel suite after having a phone call with an unfocused Reggie. Naturally, he's useless (he also proves that he doesn't know what globalisation means in an earlier meeting back in London), but his presence does provide inspiration for Reggie, as he goes out to a bar in the early hours and devises 'Flags of the World Razors' which is a big hit with the Finnish distributors that they meet. CJ doesn't really give Reggie the credit he deserves, though, warning him "Leave it that late again and you'll be out on your ear". He doesn't quite hear Reggie's reply of "Shut your face", which is both amusing, and matches Reggie's more confident demeanour at work, and it's interesting that Reggie actually confesses to Jasmine that he's found that the way to succeed in business is not to care, which seems to mark an important watershed for Reggie. CJ also enables Reggie to justify his trip to Finland, as he convinces CJ that it's all in the interest of increasing Groomtech's global market share. CJ as Reggie's catalyst is an interesting idea, although I'm not sure if it was intentional!

The Perrin's Marriage
It's interesting that Reggie and Nicola's marriage is concentrated on in this series rather more than in the original, which could be down to the point that the writers are trying to make: that couples nowadays are subject to greater strain than in the past, due to spending less time together, and this is the pivotal episode for the Perrin's relationship. Although it starts off badly, with Reggie arguing with Nicola over not seeing her, and his telling Jasmine that their marriage is practically over, both Reggie and Nicola end up recognising that they love each other and need to save their relationship. Reggie rebuffs Jasmine's drunk advances in Finland, and Nicola similarly rebuffs Monty's attempt to seduce her (he's hanging around the house as he's depressed), although her chastising of Monty's disloyalty to Reggie's friendship makes it much easier for Nicola than Reggie.

Jasmine. Just... Jasmine.

Ahahahahaha, I am John Hoare, and I get to choose the picture for this article.

Pedants' Corner
There's two production errors in this episode: one just irritating, the other rather shockingly incompetent. Although I've been quite happy to suspend disbelief when it comes to Reggie using Chiltern Trains rolling stock for what is probably a South West Trains journey (no, YOU fuck off), it's taking the piss a bit when there's a shot of Reggie's train coming into the station with 'Marylebone' emblazoned on the front, and then for him to refer to his train arriving at Waterloo in the next scene.

The other error is quite staggering. Jasmine warns Reggie that taking a trip to Helsinki together may not be a great idea, and refers to him kissing her by the water cooler when this was a fantasy sequence. The only time they've kissed before has been in her office, as she asked him to leave afterwards. This error seems to suggest that both the writers and production team have been confused about the sequence of events in Reggie Perrin, and certainly the fact that fantasy sequences were added between us seeing an episode recorded and the transmission of that episode suggests that scenes have been juggled around to the confusion of everybody. It's very odd that no-one spotted this error, not even the actors themselves.

The Final Verdict
This has all the signs of a pivotal episode, as Reggie finally figures out that he doesn't have to care about his job to succeed, and in fact Nicola laments to Monty that he no longer takes disposable razors seriously. One thing that Reggie does end up taking seriously is his marriage, with Nicola cancelling her home meetings in realisation that Reggie deserves a bit more of her time. Although it's a reassuring sign that the series is reaching more of a focus, it's still obvious that although the series is likable, it's not really as good as it should be, not only considering it's pedigree, but also considering the talent involved. I've mentioned before that Martin Clunes is carrying the series, and although Leonard Rossiter did dominate the original, his supporting actors did a better job with better material. To be fair, Lucy Liemann is finding her feet with Jasmine, but she isn't given very much above the bland to work with, with the exception of a rather fine drunken fall. Sadly, although the show is good, it's not great, so Reggie Perrin is still 3 stars, when it's clearly capable of much more.

3 Stars

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