3 out of 5
Created by: Chris Reddy
covers seasons 1 through 3
Right-o – having a kid is eaaaasssy. At least, it seems that way in TV land. Sure, sure, there’s always the requisite episode or two where there are stinky diapers and fussy babies but that passes soon enough. Pramface – in which the 16 year old Jamie has a drunken encounter with the older Laura, resulting in a wee daughter nine months down the road and an on-again off-again maybe-we-don’t-like-each-other-all-that-much relationship between the two – follows this general model, tossing in the other norm of the breast-feeding mishap episode, but to be fair, despite its premise: it’s not really about raising the kid. And it’s a comedy, first and foremost, never treading into any heavy commentary or otherwise seriousness that might come from having a young couple from two variably broken homes (Jamie’s parents are destitute; Laura’s parents hate one another) trying to navigate school and work and each other while still very much growing up… and it never plays at being more than this, so it gets a big pass there, resulting in an easy-on-the-eyes show.
Where it does break out of the mold – and where it seems to initially offer, in its first couple seasons, some potential surprises – is in the way it never really takes it easy on anybody. So, yeah, having a kid in a sitcom seems easy, but life isn’t: life is fraught with uncertainty, and Pramface emphasizes that constantly: the puzzling nature of our own emotions; the lack of clear reasons or explanations for why things happen the way they do. Playing this for laughs is a very tricky balance, though, and so the show inevitably starts to fall into some questionable stereotypes of the shrewish mother and the heartsick and naive lad; i.e. what starts out somewhat bipartisan, gender-wise, feels like it starts leaning too heavily on a masculine point of view. Thankfully, the show ended before it could go further down this road, leaving us with three seasons of enjoyable, relatable fare, with well cast regulars and a varied assortment of relationship / kid-rearing woes to fill up its thirty minute installments.