I kinda gave up on doing reviews. I was going strong, doing well for a while, and then something hit me: who the hell am I to tear down/praise someone else’s artistic expression? I mean, I don’t like it when people do that to me, so who am I to put a numeric value on someone else’s work?
That led me to a slow artistic decline. That is, until a saw a certain film written and directed by Wes Anderson that totally kickstarted my creative juices again, but I digress.
Saturday morning, I woke up and got onto Twitter to see what kind of fresh hell awaited me in the news cycle of the day. There was a little bit of Donald Trump here, a splash of global climate change there. Ya know. The ushe. Then I ran across a tweet from one of my favorite accounts, One Perfect Shot. What is One Perfect Shot, you ask? They literally just take shots from films and post them. It’s that simple. But it’s a beautiful account. I highly suggest you give them a follow if you’re interested in that kind of artsy shit.
There I go…digressing again.
Anyway! I came across this tweet.
— One Perfect Shot (@OnePerfectShot) April 16, 2018
“Whatttt???” I said aloud to no one in particular. “Filthy? Funny? Ancient Rome? The???” I was immediately intrigued, so after I got some coffee ready and ripped a banana off the hand for my breakfast, I sat down and began looking for it on the various streaming services I subscribe to.
Funnily enough, it’s actually not on any of the ones that I personally subscribe to. It’s on Hulu. Which, naturally, was the last one I checked. But I found it nonetheless and started up the first episode. Six episodes later, I noticed that I’d grown a beard and hadn’t moved off the sofa for three hours.
What makes Plebs so fantastic?
I mean, it’s a sitcom set in ancient Rome. What’s not to love? They do a great job of making 27 BC come to life. Rome was in a bit of a bind in 27, see. Augustus was in power, the civil wars were finally over, but no one was really sure how to live a normal life again. And you really get that feeling from the show. The main characters are immigrants, it’s unclear from where, but they just moved to the city for new opportunity. Which was extremely common then. That’s why, at its peak, there were (by some estimates) 2 million people living in the city of Rome.
There’s soothesayers, crazy priests, centurions, gladiators, and sneaky salesmen. But there’s also the creepy boss. There’s a skeezy landlord. There’s donut salesmen in the Forum, for chrissakes. It’s a wonderful take on normal, everyday life in the ancient world, no matter how inaccurate.
There aren’t really any serious moments in Plebs, but there really shouldn’t be in a good sitcom. Plus, it’s British, so you can imagine how quickly the jokes come flying out of the characters’ mouths. Although the dialogue is quick and fast paced, the stories don’t suffer. They’re well thought out, smart, and funny, all without making the 22-minute-long episodes seem agonizingly long and dull.
If you don’t get it, you haven’t watched it.
There’s so much to praise about this show. The humor is very low brow at times, but in a show that takes place in ancient Rome, that’s totally okay. So often we forget that people in the past were pretty much just like we are. They had jobs, they had friends, and they liked to laugh at penises. Don’t believe me?
That’s right. That’s a statue of a penis with legs, a penis tail, that also has a penis. The Romans, like most four-year-olds, thought dicks were hilarious so they put them literally everywhere to ward off the evil eye. (Also see: Roman penis wind chime.)
Don’t think you’d find Plebs interesting? I promise there’s something there for you. Just give it a shot and you won’t be disappointed. Three hours after you start, you’ll be sitting there on your sofa wondering where the hell the hours have gone. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing sometimes.