Citizen Khan, Adil Ray’s sitcom about a Pakistani family living in Birmingham began on BBC1 last night. I thought it was okay but I’m not going to rave about it.
‘A PAKISTANI IN WITH THE FLYNNS OR MY FAMILY‘
I have to say that it’s a bit of a cliched show. A father who disapproves of his daughter’s fiancé, an often peeved mother, an emabarrassed teenage daughter and another rebellious one attached to her phone. To me, it seemed a bit like a Pakistani In With The Flynns or My Family, only not quite as funny.
I think one of the mistakes the writers (Ray, Richard Pinto and Anil Gupta) have made is heaping the lion’s share of the gags upon one character: Mr. Khan. Think of other classic sitcoms such as Only Fools and Horses and Fawlty Towers, to pick the most obvious. Yesterday I spent watching at least three episodes of Only Fools and if you think about it, John Sullivan shared the jokes between all of the characters, didn’t he? He didn’t just save them for the most obvious: Del Boy. Similarly, in Fawlty Towers it wasn’t just Basil who was funny – Sybil, Polly, Manuel, even the guests were too! With Citizen Khan, however, it really is the title character who has most of the jokes, and the strongest ones at that!
I imagine that without the (easily pleased and somewhat irritating) audience’s laughter, this would be quite a flat programme. Instead, with the laughter – whether it be canned or otherwise – it does at least have some life and is a lot more vibrant than it would be if this was absent.
‘NOT ALL BAD’
Citizen Khan wasn’t all bad, however. I’ll admit that I did laugh a couple of times during this half-hour run. Firstly, I was more than a little amused at Mr. Khan stating to his daughter, in his wife’s presence, “The first thing I thought when I saw your mother was, ‘Wow! She looks bloody cheap!'”
Then, I thought the later scene, which I will dub ‘Brokenhearted Amjad’, was well crafted and it did actually make me laugh, particularly when new Mosque manager Dave (My Family star and ex-BT employee Kris Marshall) walked in to mistake Amjad and Khan for being in quite a compromising position.
‘GLIMMERS OF HOPE’
It is these saving graces which give me glimmers of hope for Citizen Khan. There are some good lines – don’t get me wrong – but it’s mainly unoriginal and, as I said, cliched. There is actually the possibility of the title character becoming a very likeable character and a bit of a cult (yes, that’s cult) but for me that’s a while away yet. In a couple of episodes, the show might grow on me but at the moment, I’m still a little unsure.
Twitter – @UKTVReviewer
Also, keep up-to-date with the latest TV news, reviews and interviews at www.thecustardtv.com, where some of my articles will also appear.