How Do You Want Me? (TV Series 1998–1999) Poster

(1998–1999)

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Under-appreciated, cut short too soon
jamesda9927 November 2004
An incredibly subtle, persuasive comedy (from the writer of Men Behaving Badly!!) that has more charm (particularly in scenes between Charlotte Coleman and Dylan Moran) than Hugh Grant's grin.

The supporting cast are one of the best ensembles ever in a British comedy from Frank Finlay to Emma Chambers.

The set up (married couple swap the rat race for the country where the wife's family still live, only to find things aren't as simple as they'd hoped) has been used before in may other films/sitcoms, but never with such believability, wit and inventiveness. When you watch Ed, you can't help but think that John Beckerman and Rob Burnett saw 'How Do You Want Me?' on a visit to England.

Overall, it is a vehicle for Dylan Moran and whilst his character bears many similarities to his character in 'Black Books', Ian Lyons has a humanity and loveableness that is intoxicating and absent from Bernard Black. The chemistry between his character and Charlotte Coleman is the icing on the cake.

The second series proved that this was a comedy that deserved to run and run, even if it only had critical approval. The untimely death of Charlotte Coleman meant that the second series would be the last. Deserves to be seen once more.
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As good as any sitcom you care to name.
andycurrington19 October 2004
I second the comments above - How Do You Want Me is a superb sitcom. it's very dark, the characters are quite cruel in places, and you do frequently feel that the village community is a dangerous place to be. this is counterpointed, however, by some wonderfully whimsical writing from Simon Nye and the really optimistic attitude he invests in the characters of Ian and Lisa. the guest stars are uniformly top-notch too, from Frank Finlay's appallingly nasty father-in-law to the comically bully some brother-in-law played by Peter Serafinowicz.

How Do You Want Me is an absolute treasure and ranks easily alongside the very best British sitcoms. astonishingly the BBC have not released it on DVD, so anyone who wants to watch it please get in touch with them to make your wishes known.
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Beautiful and Unique
davepalmer-219 January 2002
"How do you want me?" was one of these programmes that grow on you from week to week, slowly and imperceptibly. It hardly even qualifies as comedy, since there are so few laughs. It's about people, and real life, and coping, and making the best of a total muddle: how we all flail about through life, not really knowing what it's all about, or why we're doing it. The tenderness at the heart of it was Charlotte Coleman. Every time she was on screen, you felt that life was worth living, because this is what it's about: finding those intimate moments, when all the bulls*** doesn't matter, because you know you're in the presence of someone who cares.

The Dylan Moran character is all bluff and bluster, and Charlotte is the port in the storm, for once playing a grounded and stable character. I, for one, will remember her most for this role, rather than her more off-the-wall efforts, because after the life she lived, it seems that she would really have been happy to lead that settled kind of life. The news of her tragic death at the age of 33 touched me in a way that felt like she was a friend. She always made you feel like hugging her.
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9/10
Warm. Spiky. Lovely.
chuffnobbler7 May 2007
COnstantly surprising, this is one of the BBC's unsung gems.

Dylan Moran and Charlotte Coleman have such chemistry, there is no doubting the warmth of Ian and Lisa's love for each other. They're a perfect couple in many ways: she's level-headed and sensible, but sees their country life as bliss; he's sarcastic and thoughtless, seeing their life as a provincial nightmare. They are both right, and both wrong. The support they give each other, and the tenderness of some of their scenes, are quite touching and emotional; very unlike any other sitcom. Of course, knowing the series was cut short by Charlotte Coleman's terrible death makes it even more poignant.

Every attempt Ian makes to fit in, half-hearted though it may be, is destined to fail. Frank Finlay is frightening as Lisa's "lord of the manor" father, bringing real menace and threat to his scenes. With Lisa's icy mother and violent brother adding colour, the only normal one of the bunch is Lisa's sister, Helen, played with restraint and lack of cuteness by The Vicar of Dibley's Emma Chambers.

There are some huge laughs along the way: Marc Warren as a comedian Ian ships in for a village fundraiser, who ruins the night and trashes the stage; Ian's stint managing Helen's shop; Ian's "rural fire stations" calendar; the restrained anger of Clive Merrison's headmaster; Ian giving up booze.

At heart, this is a very dark, bleak series. The harmonica music enhances the isolated rural atmosphere, and there are some shots of the countryside that make the village seem totally alone. The shining light of this forgotten little outpost is the warmth of Ian and Lisa's love. Such a shame that this was cut short.
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Highly Underrated
pnin49327 July 2004
This was a great comedy/drama. Perhaps the best work on-screen Dylan Moran has produced, and a huge progression for writer Simon Nye (Men Behaving Badly). This programme never received the scheduling it deserved, and is long over-due for a DVD release (especially when terrible 'comedies' like Two Pints of Lager are being released by the BBC).

The programme focused on the relationship between Ian (Moran) and Lisa (Charlotte Coleman) as they relocate to her rural hometown. The seemingly idyllic location, masks a more sinister reality. The adjustment to life in The Village and especially the hatred Lisa's father feels (and shows) toward Ian make up the bones of the series'.

The darker elements of the plot never stray into caricature, and the ensemble cast provide a believable (and very funny) array of locals. The love between Ian and Lisa really holds the piece together, and its to Moran's acting credit that we believe he would continue living in this rural nightmare, thanks mainly to the on- screen rapport between him and Charlotte Coleman (who sadly died after the second series).
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Highly underrated comedy.
jason brown26 August 2001
This is one of the most brilliant and most underrated TV comedy series of all time. From the writer of 'Men Behaving Badly' Simon Nye, but in a totally different vein, this is warm, witty and often touching.

It basically tells the story of a young couple who have moved to the countryside to be near her (Charlotte Coleman) parents. The husband (comedian and acting genius Dylan Moran) resents the move and doesn't get on with her father. And that's it. But the acting and directing is so perfect that every episode was engrossing. BBC2 stuck both series of this on quite late at night and hardly anybody seemed to see it, which is a tragedy. If you ever get a chance to see it, it's well worth a look.
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10/10
FInally, a DVD release!
marwood-628 September 2006
I remembered this series fondly and had given up hope of it being repeated.

But I discovered that both series have just been put out on DVD. Only ten years after it was first made, but they got there in the end.

And I'm delighted to say that it is as funny and as sweet as I recall. Dylan Moran essentially plays his stand-up persona (himself?), and, as such, is wonderful. Rather than all the sitcoms that feature wise-cracking central characters who get rewarded with overdone canned laughter, Moran is put in a situation in which none of the other characters find him funny.

As has already been said, Charlotte Coleman is wonderful. It's also interesting to watch because many of the supporting cast, such as Mark Heap and Peter Serafinowicz, have subsequently become familiar from roles in "Shaun of the Dead", "Spaced" and "Green Wing".
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Hilarious and unique
deadmanjones18 October 2002
Previously Simon Nye wrote the award winning Men Behaving Badly. Dylan Moran went on to write the award winning Black Books. Why nobody gave this an award escapes me.

This seemingly forgotten and unappreciated work of unalloyed genius deserves repeating and above all deserves a DVD release. The cast were brilliant, the script sublime. The only series that comes close to its brilliance is Black Books.
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9/10
Comedy with a hint of tragedy
Tweekums22 December 2018
Comedian Ian Lyons has married Lisa and now moved to the village where she grew up. He is very much a city person and finds it hard to fit in. He also has difficulties with his in-laws; Lisa's father can't stand him and offers him a substantial sum of money to leave, without her. Unable to work as a comedian in such a small place he takes over a photography business; a job he is not immediately qualified to do.

This series is a real delight. Dylan Moran and Charlotte Coleman have a great chemistry as Ian and Lisa; they feel like a real couple not a comedy-couple. There characters are the most 'real' in the series. The other characters are equally impressive and only slightly exaggerated... particular highlights among them are Frank Finlay's performance as Lisa's father and Peter Serafinowicz as her psychotic brother. The various situations Dylan finds himself in create both humour and feelings of discomfort without being overly forced. The realism is increased by the wise choice not to include a laugh track. Having watched all twelve episodes it is just a shame more wasn't made; I'd certainly recommend this to people who like the idea of a sitcom that isn't just forced gags.
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9/10
Quirky and rewarding take on the 'fish out of water' syndrome.
Rupert1720 November 2017
I agree with all the reviewers bar one who misses the point of the whole exercise.

Irish city boy Ian Lyons relocates to the home town of new wife Lisa in the West Sussex countryside. Yes, he is a fish out of water among her family and the conservative rustic types that populate the area. But the narrative and message is more than that - it's about love and how far that can sustain a relationship when one of the participants is clearly treading water in a culture he doesn't understand and which fails to embrace him.

It is funny and emotionally moving at the same time. Dylan Moran and the late Charlotte Coleman navigate their respective roles brilliantly. Dylan Moran went on to other things while Charlotte Coleman died tragically a couple of years later. The show only ran for twelve episodes over two series and ended without resolution. Sometimes life has no resolution and that may have been writer Simon Nye's intention. I'll always remember Charlotte Coleman fondly and this show maintains my memory of her tremendous talent.
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9/10
A Real Gem
GrahamEngland29 November 2014
Little seen on release, not repeated as far as I know on the BBC, only DVD released years later. There have been a few shows like that but this one was special and stands on repeated viewings for it's wit, charm and acting. With the early death of Charlotte Coleman, two years after the second series - which was then the last that tragic loss made no difference there - there is an element of sadness when watching it of course, not that this takes anything away from just how sublime this show was.

The series drew a vivid, funny picture of the Yardley family, mad brother, scary dad, sweet daughters, along with various other characters of the small town community. Dylan Moran was superb too as the fish out of water.

This all sounds familiar but this comedy just did it so much better. Which is why it still stands up today and deserves more attention that it got at the time.
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3/10
terrible
kennethchristie15 November 2007
I bought this series from Amazon. I can't believe some of the comments. Warm, spiky? This is one of the worst TV sitcoms I have ever seen. There is no chemistry whatsoever between the 2 main characters and most of the jokes (mumble mumble) are very weak. The ends of each episode are horrible. Obviously they had run out of ideas. I have to say its extremely poor quality. Bring back the Good Life!

Some of the actors and actresses were obviously talented but the script is terrible. frank Finlays character has almost no menace about him at all. The only ray of light was Dean (the mad brother) who provided some laughs. Otherwise a waste of time.
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