Intro: Hardy Bucks is now a fully-fledged TV show, but it has become a pale imitation of its online predecessor, writes Conor O’Nolan
I am rarely ever dumbfounded by a television program. My brain generally reserves such a reaction (or lack thereof) for that Catherine Tate creature, or the mother of all abominations: Katherine Lynch. Needless to say, when I sat down to watch the new TV adaptation of Hardy Bucks, I expected to at least laugh a bit. Instead, I sat there, with my mouth agape, wondering: “What the hell happened to Hardy Bucks?”
For those of you unfamiliar with Hardy Bucks, it started off life on YouTube back in 2009. It was a web series partaking in an RTE competition to become a TV show. Back then, Hardy Bucks was a brilliantly surreal mockumentary, following the life of a group of lads in the fictional location of Castletown. It had a beautifully strange plot connected with the most outrageously odd set pieces, like the ‘Mitzi Turbo Cup’ and the epic ‘Foamy Nites’.
The TV series consists of the best bits of the web series re-shot with better equipment. Sounds good? Yes. Is it? No! I’m not sure if it’s RTÉ putting pressure on the writers to make the show fit for broadcast, or if it’s the actors actually trying to act, but the show has become a slow, unfunny mess, with some incredibly forced acting.
The first episode got off to a bad start with a two minute segment that consisted of disconnected one-liners, strung together in an attempt to get a laugh out of the viewer. In the entire 28 minutes of the first episode, I laughed twice. Once at an exercise sequence and again at the admittedly brilliant Pan African Irish Garda Exchange Scheme.
The second episode just went further downhill from there, so much so that I didn’t even laugh once. They somehow managed to ruin two of my favourite pieces from the web series – the foam party and the previously hilarious project manager interview scene. Both scenes were again reduced to stilted and forced attempts at acting.
The show is just plagued with problems. Most worrying is the fact that the actors are trying for too hard. The web series, by comparison, was so much more natural. The Viper, the main antagonist is no longer funny. In addition, the show is just far too long. At around 25 minutes, it more than doubles the length of the original web series’ episode length. Maybe they’re just not funny enough to hold our attention for that long.