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Human Remains [DVD] 
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Human Remains is a darkly comic series about six very different, very offbeat, and very engrossing couples who unwittingly expose the dynamics of their dysfunctional relationships. From a bald neurotic to a male chauvinist fiancé, the characters conduct open, honest and shocking interviews as the series sets new boundaries for extraordinary relationships in a seemingly ordinary world. Human Remains takes a documentary-style look at the lighter side of unconventional couples, as each episode develops into something funny and touching, and deeply absorbing.
Written by and starring Rob Brydon and Julia Davis, Human Remains features six different "mockumentaries" with the pair playing couples caught in bizarre, dysfunctional or hopelessly imbalanced relationships. These include an upper-class couple, in which wife openly pines for her first, lost love, whom she has buried on the grounds; a thoroughly homely hubby and wife who run a guest house in the Midlands that features an S&M parlour; and a ghastly pair of God-botherers who live in a state of curtain-twitching loathing of their neighbours.
While the sheer range of characters depicted in Human Remains represents a prodigious feat on the part of both actors, the show has much in common with Brydon's other hit Marion and Geoff. The strangeness or awfulness of each couple's situation generally takes a while to come into focus, the deeper truths conveyed through low-level bickering, cumulatively revealed in deceptively banal interviews to camera. Brydon and Davis are sometimes merciless in their satirical savagery, as with the Alanis Morissette wannabe Fonte Bund; at other times, Human Remains is too bleak to watch. However, the sheer acuity and detail with which these characters are unwittingly realised, coupled with the brilliance of the (semi-improvised) monologues/dialogue means that our encounters with them, although mercifully brief, are both hilarious and touching. This is an exceptional series.
On the DVD: Human Remains features a generous package of extras, including deleted scenes and outtakes, among them an extension of the "healing" scene featured in the episode with the S&M couple, footage of the early rehearsals and improvisations from which the characters took shape, a commentary in which Davis and Brydon recap on the circumstances of the filming, an excerpt of the pair in S&M gear singing "American Pie" in rich Brummie accents and, best of all, the Fonte Bund Band in which the folk-rock duo featured in the series have an added, Spinal Tap-type documentary also starring John Martyn (who supplies the series' theme). --David Stubbs
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Top customer reviews
very original and skin crawlingly good.
'Human Remains' is not the sort of series you can watch that often, but it is still worth owning on DVD as there are plenty of moments that are simply priceless. The DVD comes with some really nice touches, especially the option to watch the episodes with links to rehearsal improvisations. This gives a great insight into how the comic brains of Brydon and Davis really work. It also allows you to see them laugh (since they obviously can't in the actual programmes)... you can hardly blame them! If you can't decide whether you want this or "Marion and Geoff", I suggest you buy them both!
I guess the people in the programmes are just as the title says, Human Remains, once they were complete but due to past events such as lost loved ones, children being taken away, lack of emotional support etc they are now flawed.
The characters are very well created and are all totally believable, never once becoming caricatures of themselves.
There are some quite disturbing and upsetting scenes, ones that you feel you should not be privy to, Les gazing longingly through the shop door at Ray when he returns from beach combing breaks my heart everytime I see it, he lets his cheerey defence drop for a few seconds revealing a rainbow of human emotion never previously seen in him.
There are also some brilliantly funny scenes, Stephen throwing mock punches at the shop owner while his wife is trying on wedding dresses is perhaps one of the best, once he sees the shop owner flinch he goes in for the kill by getting her in a playful headlock!
All in all a brilliant series and if you are keen on new british comedy it is one not to be missed.
Rob Brydon and Julia Davis both wrote and acted in the series; each portrays a palette of characters which is each convincing and beautifully developed, distinct, and with real depth. If it weren't for its restrained twistedness, you would be convinced these were genuine people- it just looks so documentary. Half the time, you won't know whether you should be laughing or crying as the darkly desperate details of the mundane and mostly banal misery of each couples' lives unfold - I know you're thinking crying is the proper answer, but I was borderline hypoxic much of the time because this dark desperation comes cloaked in brilliant, straight-faced absurdity. The scary thing is, we all know people who are not so far removed from these characters, and the series is like a looking glass into their inner workings.
There is nothing slapstick about Human Remains- this is comedy best watched with your ears more than your eyes- and much of it is subtle. Because of this, you can watch the series time after time, and each time get a slightly different take than the last time. Now, that's value for money. This series is a work of genius and worthy of great respect.
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