Showrunner: Damon Beesley
Episodes in season: 6
I have wasted too much time scrolling through Netflix. I’m sure we can all relate to the “What am I going to watch?” question, and the frustration of being faced with an almost endless stream of content with no idea what mood you are in. Am I in a romantic comedy mood? Do I want to watch a Disney movie, and sing-a-long to all of the songs? Do I want to watch something deep and acerbic, something that makes me question my very existence? Or, do I just want to watch a 20 minute comedy that entertains me for a bit? Usually, I end up sticking on a family movie I saw when I was a child, and fall asleep to the nostalgia.
So now you know of my oh-so-interesting Sunday afternoon routine, I want to redirect your attention to a small show called White Gold. I say small because it seemed to pop up on Netflix with little fanfare. It was in the featured section for a while, and all I knew about it was it had some dudes from The Inbetweeners (Joe Thomas and James Buckley), and that guy from that teen-drama show I never watched (Ed Westwick of Gossip Girl fame). When I finally decided to put it on, I was extremely impressed. I instantly went to research reviews of the show, and found ONE. So, I am taking it upon myself to bring you my thoughts on this Netflix gem, while also including some general meanderings of a woman who has spent the last two hours scrolling through TV titles in frustration.
White Gold follows the dubious morality of double glazing salesmen in the 1980s. Vince (Westwick) is the Don Draper of windows, charming his way into unsuspecting households, leaving them with thousands of pounds worth of debt and a sample of their promised PVC window frames. I do have to admit, I was not even born in the time period this show is set in, however, every aspect of it is steeped in a retrograde nostalgia. My ex-council terraced family home had these windows, and my street looked like result of Vince’s window-selling rampage. The show is your typical ‘likeable a-hole screws people over, but he’s charming so we still root for him’ story, and the first few episodes do creep into predictable territory. It felt like The Inbetweeners for generation X, and while not necessarily a bad thing, didn’t really blow me away.
Then something interesting happens at the half-way mark of the six-episode series. Things stop going right for our main character. I found myself actually concerned about whether things would eventually go his way. The last three episodes, while they stand alone quite nicely, are serialised to an extent. The laughs keep coming, but this time, anything is up for grabs. It’s a rare occurrence when I do not know what is going to happen in a sitcom, and it was quite exhilarating to feel that in such a short series. When I was a teenager, I loved The Inbetweeners (as did most of my peers), but then I grew out of it. White Gold seems to have grown with me, presenting me with that childish love I had for a show full of penis jokes and gross-out humour, and turning it into something slightly more sophisticated.
But, this is a comedy. Is it funny? As subjective as this is, 90% of the jokes do seem to land. In this show, we have clever humour, dark humour, and low-brow sexual humour working together. I think anyone will find something they quite like in the show, and something they roll their eyes at. Really, if you want a short comedy to keep you occupied as the void approaches, this one will probably work for you. At times, you feel like you should feel bad for liking these people – but unlike a lot of anti-protagonist comedic personas, Westwick brings a genuine charm to Vince. Thomas and Buckley do a fine job as Vince’s hapless sales team, but are really replaying their Inbetweeners counterparts; however, neither of their characters end up as absolutely annoying as they were in White Gold‘s predecessor.
I write this review to save you from another three hours of scrolling into the abyss. You want something interesting, but light enough for you to ‘flick on’ to your TV? This is the show for you. This is the perfect vehicle for in-between your favourite shows, when every single network has selfishly stopped airing everything you consistently watch.