Author Topic: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal  (Read 2619 times)

Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #30 on: August 05, 2019, 10:18:45 AM »
My one (possibly) original angle on NB that I've trotted out on here before is that it's interesting cos it came out just before the rise of Web 2.0 and mass popular social media sites such as YouTube, Myspace (RIP), Facebook etc so it looked kind of weirdly dated very very quickly. It's odd to see Barley directing people to his pimped out yet static website when just 18 months later that kind of online crib would have been a MySpace page and in the 2010s a Youtube channel with obnoxious intro video etc.

I appreciate Nathan Barley overall though even if I agree the 'narrative' isn't that compelling (beyond Dan's frustrations and self betrayals) and the lead guy is too inoffensively likeable and I would also venture, played by a slightly too old at the time actor.  It's a unique product from a distinct moment in pop culture history and is bejewelled with tons of compelling cultural details and moments you can't get elsewhere. You know what it kind of reminds me of? Swinging London films (especially George Melly's 'Smashing Time') where London's hip sector is portrayed as being so extremely affected in it's self contained, self conscious outreness that it more resembles a fantasy realm or some parallel plane of existence than anything close to reality. I like that kind of hyperreal campness, like there there's alternate world of obnoxious hipsters you can visit if you just take a few left turns down the wrong Hoxton alley. Of course, I'm sure Naboo's shop was round the corner from the SugaRape office in this magical 00s wankerland.

Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #31 on: August 05, 2019, 10:32:44 AM »
I don't think that was the point; the people in NB are mostly harmless (as well as being vacuous). Dan's loathing is entirely out of proportion to its object.
Maybe. I mean Barley did use a girl's drug addiction to get his dick sucked. It would've been interesting if she really was underage or molested by her uncle  instead of pulling their punches.

the

Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #32 on: August 05, 2019, 10:33:53 AM »
As well as the aforementioned lack of funniness and failures in plot and characterisation, another major problem is that people working in the media (even caricatures of them) aren't interesting.

Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #33 on: August 05, 2019, 10:36:25 AM »
Maybe. I mean Barley did use a girl's drug addiction to get his dick sucked. It would've been interesting if she really was underage or molested by her uncle  instead of pulling their punches.

It's weird that that punch was pulled considering Morris had done the BeS just a few years before, which certainly 'went there' full bore with that kind of content no matter what you think of it quality wise.

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Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #34 on: August 05, 2019, 10:41:15 AM »
I think the point is that NB isn't some monster and might even be likeable. I remember reading something Morris said about the original Brooker Radio Times spoof; that the hatred of the (fictitious) writer (it isn't Brooker's POV) is the most notable thing about it.

Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #35 on: August 05, 2019, 10:49:30 AM »
I blame Charlie Brooker.

If it's a piece on the self-regard of hipsters that's fine but there are pointers to the decay of journalism/journalists themselves. Jonathan Yeah is another figure that goes nowhere.

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Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #36 on: August 05, 2019, 11:33:04 AM »
I like the shonky guerilla styls direction - it feels like it could be a stupid Vice piece of something. It draws you into the whole stupid world of Nathan and co.

Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #37 on: August 05, 2019, 11:56:18 AM »
.
I think the point is that NB isn't some monster and might even be likeable. I remember reading something Morris said about the original Brooker Radio Times spoof; that the hatred of the (fictitious) writer (it isn't Brooker's POV) is the most notable thing about it.
The fictitious Radio Times voice was the thing that made the original TVGoHome Barley compelling rather than just amusing. The voice is like a ghost, or some part of Nathan's conscience or something; it isn't just sneering at his clothes from across the street, it follows him everywhere, it's with him having sex, it's ridiculing his private thoughts. There's quite a bit common with the POV games in Fleabag- where is this voice coming from?

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Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #38 on: August 05, 2019, 12:07:39 PM »
To add to what other posters have said - Nathan isn’t just a one-dimensional unlikeable twat. He has some redeeming qualities and if he was away from Smanks and the rest, he’d probably be an ok person. He’s just been consumed by this stupid, performative, all-encompassing need to be cool.

Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #39 on: August 05, 2019, 02:41:07 PM »
I gathered at the time that Barley wasn't supposed to be completely unlikeable, but his character is so badly drawn that I found it hard to ascribe any qualities to him at all. It was difficult to say anything about his 'character' on that basis. If you were drawn in to finding someone likable who was deeply obnoxious or even despicable at the same time it would have been much more interesting, but that would rely on that character being substantial, and NB wasn't.

At his best Morris could make you uncomfortable as you laughed by making you aware of your complicity, but he only occasionally managed that there. He was more successful at accomplishing it with Four Lions, probably out of doing thorough research, developing his writing skills and having a greater commitment to what he was doing.


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Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #40 on: August 05, 2019, 04:07:02 PM »
Didn't he do some horrible stuff to that young guy that was his assistant? (Stuff similar to what Ricky Gervais did in real life)

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Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #41 on: August 05, 2019, 04:20:22 PM »
Didn't he do some horrible stuff to that young guy that was his assistant? (Stuff similar to what Ricky Gervais did in real life)

Yeah he essentially bullied Pingu for content for his obnoxious shitty website, but that was just so he could be cool and hang out with Dajv Bukedis (spelling?) and the twats at SugarApe.

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Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #42 on: August 05, 2019, 05:32:37 PM »
Didn't he do some horrible stuff to that young guy that was his assistant? (Stuff similar to what Ricky Gervais did in real life)

Who can forget the Downing Street DOOM parody

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Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #43 on: August 05, 2019, 08:03:42 PM »
How on earth are people claiming Barley had redeeming features? He was quite clearly a complete arsehole. I suppose the last episode where he thinks he's killed Pingu and becomes all vulnerable and his accent 'slips', but that doesn't excuse his obnoxious, manipulative, self-serving behaviour for the entirety of the series.

As for the show itself, I'm fond of it. Many of the criticisms are valid but I like how it's almost unfocused with its own anger. It's a grimy snapshot of an era which has imploded in on itself and a culture which is nowadays so rife it can hardly be properly represented. Stuff like Dan and Claire's squalid flat with Fielding's character DJing ear-splitting noise music at every hour of the day taps really nicely into the sheer overwhelming pitch of urban life, the fucking depressing reality of living in the capital as a 'professional creative' (gag). I also love how clearly you can tell what's Morris and what's Brooker. The ad for 'Place' - 'a farm for idea' - and Doug Rocket - 'groundbreaking collaborator with natives' - is practically Brass Eye.

Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #44 on: August 05, 2019, 09:10:21 PM »
How on earth are people claiming Barley had redeeming features? He was quite clearly a complete arsehole.

I wonder if it comes from him being such a blank with little substance or presence who people can project things on to.

Morris himself said NB wasn't supposed to be completely unsympathetic character, but he didn't seem to realise that was mostly because he had very little character at all. He's more like an assemblage of verbal and behavioural tics.

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Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #45 on: August 05, 2019, 09:15:24 PM »
Would anyone fancy a CaB rewatch? I feel like I might be misremembering it

Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #46 on: August 05, 2019, 09:29:32 PM »
I'd be up for that.

BlodwynPig

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Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #47 on: August 05, 2019, 09:30:47 PM »
Yup

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Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #48 on: August 05, 2019, 09:51:10 PM »
Ok - this is now a rewatch thread. Tomorrow evening at 9pm, we watch ep 1.

We’ll go an ep per day unless anyone objects. Pretty sure it is on youtube now so don’t think we’re encouraging anything untoward.

tomorrow at 9pm - it begins

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Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #49 on: August 05, 2019, 11:20:15 PM »
I will be up for this.

Hope I make it through the first episode unlike when we tried to do Derek.

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Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #50 on: August 05, 2019, 11:26:55 PM »
The Derke rewatch was fucking grim by design. I just don’t think anyone knew how grim it would be.

I’ve still never seen it all.

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Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #51 on: August 05, 2019, 11:34:19 PM »
I am looking forward to seeing if, now I am loads older and have had marginally more life experience, I will understand if there was any point to the character of Dan Ashcroft's sister at all.

Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #52 on: August 05, 2019, 11:54:23 PM »
Barley is an average character.  He's not a total idiot compared to Ayoade's character etc.  He hasn't become as cynical as Yeah? He's not as sympathetic as Pingu or Dan's sister. And he hasn't become as pathetic as Dan. Hence meh. He's just a billiard ball knocking into things.

Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #53 on: August 06, 2019, 01:17:31 AM »
Having just rewatched Episode 1 for the first time in years, it is much funnier than I remembered. Also I'm not sure that a single character on the show is supposed to be sympathetic other than maybe the Sugarape receptionist.

BlodwynPig

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Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #54 on: August 06, 2019, 07:35:54 AM »
Barley is an average character.  He's not a total idiot compared to Ayoade's character etc.  He hasn't become as cynical as Yeah? He's not as sympathetic as Pingu or Dan's sister. And he hasn't become as pathetic as Dan. Hence meh. He's just a billiard ball knocking into things.

I always thought him peripheral to the show, oddly.

Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #55 on: August 06, 2019, 07:42:13 AM »
Julian Barratt could be viewed as the lead character in a way. You can sympathise with his frustration and plight. He has morals so struggles whereas Barley is a windsock and life is easier for him as a result.

BlodwynPig

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Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #56 on: August 06, 2019, 08:18:09 AM »
Do you think Nathan Barley would have been even better as a stop motion project directed by Tony Hart

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Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #57 on: August 06, 2019, 10:26:50 AM »
Do you think Nathan Barley would have been even better as a stop motion project directed by Tony Hart

Is there anything that wouldn't be improved by this treatment?

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Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #58 on: August 06, 2019, 10:40:29 AM »
Is there anything that wouldn't be improved by this treatment?

The Sorrow And The Pity.

Re: Nathan Barley: a reappraisal
« Reply #59 on: August 06, 2019, 03:09:10 PM »
latterly I've come to realise that the main MB promotional image was a disturbingly accurate promotion of Milo Yiannopolous's standard publicity pose circa 2016.