When I saw the ads for "The English Class", I'll admit I was excited. Comedy-based drama, I figured it would be pretty decent. Sadly, I was mistaken.....
The English Class is a 6 part drama, focusing on a group of immigrants attending a late night english class in "Dublin City College", actually filmed in Ballyfermot College of Further Education. The class is trying to get to grips with the language after recently arriving to the country. The thing is however, that Myles (their teacher played by William Morgan) is more focussed on the members of the class filling in gaps in his life rather than teaching them the language.
Whilst there has only been one episode broadcast so far, I can already draw some unfortunate conclusions. The series features an ensemble cast from Poland, Russia, Spain and China. Myles Brennan, is a tragic soul, and his part-time teaching job in a night school quite literally is his life. He is completely oblivious to his student's frustration towards his haphazard teaching style, as he is far too self-absorbed in the misery of his own life to even notice. At the beginning of the episode, we see him sending in a request form to work permanently as a teacher.
In the first episode we meet Myles and get our introduction to his class. A new student arrives this evening, but the Belarusian is feeling like a fish out of water. To help her settle in, Myles encourages her to tell her story so the class can get to know her a bit better - the 'Myles Brennan Method' of teaching in action.
It's quite hard to describe the style of this programme unless you've seen it, but for a "comedy-based" drama, I could find no evidence of anything worthy of a laugh, not even a "heh". As far as I was concerned, there was nothing funny at all. I guess some people could laugh at both Myles' tragic existence and the dissatisfaction of the class....but even then you're struggling.
For what it's worth, Morgan's performance is really the driving force, as the cast representing the class have little or nothing to say at any time. Morgan plays the part to perfection though I must say. He really puts out the image of a helpless and lonely man who almost hears only what he wants to hear. Again, the rest of the class are ok, they don't play their parts wrong, but I think the failure of the show must come from the writing. The characters are ok again, and the cast seems to be well suited to their characters....but they just need more and funnier things to say if this programme is intended to survive as a comedy!
There's really nothing more to be said. To be frank, I only really watched it because The Panel was on afterwards. I did have fairly high expectations, and perhaps that's why I'm so disappointed with it now. But to be fair it was the first episode, so maybe its successors will be more impressive. Should things develop, I'll post another blog.
The English Class - Mondays, RTE 2, 9.30pm
The English Class.....more like Mechanics Class...aka BOR-ING