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The jokes on SABC3's Taryn and Sharon don't quite sink in

2017-12-10 00:00

Taryn and Sharon

SABC3 (DStv channel 193)

Friday, 19:30

Rating: 3/5

Cape Town - The description for SABC3 comedy drama Taryn and Sharon reads: “Taryn and Sharon find themselves on the wrong side of 30 and desperately looking for rich, handsome and agreeable husbands to marry and make babies with.”

On the wrong side of 30? What does that even mean? The idea that a woman is “over the hill” if she’s not married by 30 is outdated.

Sexist premise aside, the show has a fresh look and feel, and was shot on location and not in a studio. The aesthetic evokes the styling of shows such as Arrested Development as the hand-held camera work gives it a hyper-real feel. It’s like you’re peering right into the lives of these colourful characters.

The cast isn’t bad either, with Melissa Haiden as Taryn and Amanda Du-Pont as Sharon. The leading ladies could at times be accused of overacting, but I’m not convinced that they’re without skill.

Things are elevated by the legend that is Lillian Dube, who plays a pessimistic domestic worker. Her delivery and comic timing are unrivalled and she outshines most of the cast.

Russel Savadier, a seasoned actor in his own right, enjoys quite a bit of screen time alongside Dube. These scenes provide a sturdy foundation for what is sometimes a very funny show.

Du Pont and Haiden are supported by the likes of Mary-Anne Barlow and SAFTA award winning Fiona Ramsey, both of whom are under-used in this.

The rave-like David Guetta-esque music they use as the theme song and in between scenes gives the show a Ryan Seacrest productions feel, I gather the idea is that the two leading actresses are the quintessential plastics – vapid sisters slowly learning the importance of things like family and friendship.

The problem is that everything is too cute and coy. We’re a South African audience – we know life isn’t just Gucci bags and silly gags. In one episode for instance, Taryn and Sharon babysit a friend’s baby. They change its nappy and the baby pees on them. It’s all so formulaic and expected.

The timing in it also needs work. Some of the funny moments need to be extended and given room for the jokes to marinate. Very often the punchy moments go by so rapidly that you aren’t certain if what you just heard was funny.

This is the prime example of a show that could improve with time and once the writers have settled in.

(Photos: Supplied/City Press)

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