This Country is a new mockumentary series about the life of teenagers in modern rural Britain. Written by siblings Daisy May and Charlie Cooper, this is a comedy that feels like light viewing, yet has somewhat of a cleverly undertone of despair.
Our protagonists, teenagers Kerry and Kurtan (Daisy and Charlie Cooper) are restricted by the monotony of life in this small Cotswolds village, taking their frustrations out on one another. They are rebellious and despondent in ways that an angsty teenager of thirteen or fourteen may be, yet it feels like Kerry and Kurtan are getting to this stage quite a few years late. All the people they grew up with have left the village; there is nothing for them there anymore. But this pair are reluctant to make a leap of faith and change their lifestyles, which leaves them stagnant in a place where nothing happens and pointless feuds take priority over genuine life aspirations, whether that be the result of highly competitive scarecrow competitions or arguments about who gets to use the oven next.
But This Country is not merely the embodiment of troublemaking child’s play; there are serious issues being tackled here as well. During this first series Kerry and Kurtan’s uncle gets released from prison, only to reoffend the same day; Kerry’s dad gets accused of being a Peeping Tom; and both teenagers must question whether either of them are able to forge successful careers for themselves inside or outside of the village. There is a similarly unbearable undertone of melancholy and unrealised ambition as that of Britain’s flagship mockumentary: The Office, with this obscure feeling of discontentment becoming more deeply imprinted in the viewer’s mind as the series progresses.
Despite their complaints, there is a strong bond between our two protagonists, which gives the whole programme some heart (so much so that all other characters seem to fade into irrelevance). Though it may seem easy to feel repulsed by the characters, with viewers possibly feeling they too need to escape the predicament Kerry and Kurtan find themselves in, This Country quickly becomes a compelling, if stifling, watch.
This Country expertly leaves certain things unsaid, creating an interestingly discomforting mood. Here is a thoughtful and stimulating satire, and while it’s a no brainer that fans of The Office should give This Country a go, it is certainly a comedy with a wide-reaching demographic, with frequent laugh out loud moments. I, for one, never thought I’d laugh out loud at the word ‘Tomato’.