Who says sharing a flat is easy? Especially when your landlady is the woman you fancy, your life is a shambles, your cleaner is a bumbling idiot and your flatmate is a puddle of wetness. No wonder these guys are Not Going Out…
This hit sitcom features a man sunburdened by ambition or drive, and with no significant plan to address his feelings for the person he really wants to be with. He’d rather ruin relationships in comic style than tell Lucy how he really feels.
But hold up, let's just tell you about the motley crew who inhabit the show. Well, remember the flatmates from Friends, and how squeaky clean and successful they were in their careers and love lives, despite that LYING theme song? Well, Not Going Out is nothing like that. The, erm, "hero" (we're using the term VERY loosely here) is Lee, played by Lee Mack. To call him unmotivated would be to dignify the term – a lump of cheese has more get up and go than Lee. He basically slumps and bumbles from one pointless job to another, taking each day as it comes and nursing some kind of landlady fetish.
After all, he was originally in love with Californian landlady Kate, before she (quite wisely) decided to return to the good old United States. She was replaced by new landlady Lucy, who Lee naturally decided to fall for as well. Things became a touch complicated when Lucy's much older boyfriend Guy appeared on the scene, and Lee became convinced he was some sort of Guy Ritchie-esque gangster. Because, you know, there are LOADS of those around in real life, aren't there?
Luckily, Lee is grounded… well, a bit… by his pal Tim – played by Tim Vine, brother of newsman Jeremy and renowned purveyor of one-liners (he's like the new Bob Monkhouse, only not the colour of a wardrobe). Tim's an accountant and therefore a respectable, settled sort, at least compared to Lee. But the thorny issue of women does tend to get in the way of their paldom. After all, the first landlady and object of Lee-crush, Kate, just happened to be Tim's ex-girlfriend. And with Lucy it's even worse – she's Tim's sister. Way to severely complicate your male friendships, Lee.
Series two saw the introduction of Barbara, a dopey cleaner played by the brilliant Miranda Hart. She returns, with Lee and Tim and Lucy, for series three, where Lee continues his dogged (some might say scarily obsessive) pursuit of Lucy, with Barbara acting as a kind of cheerleader for his antics (when she should really be trying to stop him making more and more of a prat of himself). The only possible snag, apart from aforementioned prattishness, is Lucy's growing lesbian tendencies. Which, far from being a fantasy come true for Lee, is a cause of severe concern.
And what of Tim? Can he do nothing but look on in exasperation and alarm at the circus of sexual frustration going on around him? Not a bit of it. Our man has his own girl-based shenanigans on the go, what with his ditzy girlfriend Daisy becoming a regular character in the series. And hey, even Barbara's love life is looking up, with Pavlov the mechanic from Eastern Europe desperate to marry someone to stay in the country. Question is, will Babs oblige? Or does she have her eye on a rather more unsuitable suitor? To sum up, Not Going Out is simply spiffing comedy that's well worth staying in for.