It is the new successor the the Inbetweeners, and the first comedy about university humour since the 1980s hit show 'The Young Ones'. The reason for this is perhaps due to the fear that no other student life comedy would live up to the legend that was 'The Young Ones'. However, the Peep Show writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong prove themselves once again and succeed in creating a classic British comedy, with the vital ingredient of the socially awkward humour we are masters off down to a tee.
The show focuses on six Manchester University freshers living together in a house share. Amongst the cast are some familiar faces: Inbetweeners star Joe Thomas who progresses from his high school acting playing yet another clusmy, luckless in love student in the role of Kingsley; Greg McHugh aka Gary the Tank Commander who stars as the socially inept, know-it-all Howard and comedian Jack Whitehall as the pompous, arrogant and vulgar public school boy JP. Kimberly Nixon plays Josie, the overly enthusiastic girl who just can't say no, to anything, including marrying her boyfriend who she planned to break up with after cheating on him with both JP and Kingsley. Zawe Ashton plays the part of infamous straight talking and hard living character of Vod and her desperate to be cool loyal follower and secret swot, Oregon, who is played by classical singer Charlotte Ritchie.
In spite of the usual difficult first episode most programs suffer from, the relationships between Bain and Armstrong's characters were quickly established and engaging: the animosity between JP and Howard shown in their bathroom stand off, JP's power over Kingsley who quickly becomes the groups doormat, Oregon's unspoken contempt for Vod's laziness and also Josie's secret drunken encounter with JP which decreases the chance of her getting together with Kingsley, who she clearly has feelings for.
The characters continue to develop with the series and prove to be complex, deep and authentic. In the final episode the surprisingly lovable drug abusing flunker, Vod says, 'Sorry Kingsley, you have to be honest in I Have Never or it's total chaos', a line that could have passed through any students lips.
The character of JP who at first is repulsive, turns out to have a sweet side and can be quite caring shown when he comforted Oregon after her horse died. Whereas Josie, who thinks she is a caring person, turns out to be the fake, evident when she is ditched by fiance Dave after he found out about her various infidelities, which follows with a drunken night out reminiscent to that of the first episode, which ends in similar consequences with JP.
Overall, though sometimes over exaggerated, as these shows tend to be, the series realistically and hilariously depicts the lives of six students. The larger than life characters such as Vod and JP ended up being more convincing than the stereotypically 'normal' student Kingsley but perhaps this is because there are all sorts of types at university. As a student myself I find it hard to define what constitutes as normal in the student world anyway, maybe that question will be answered in the second series of Fresh Meat which is due to return in late 2012!
For those who missed the first series you can watch all the episodes on 4od: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/fresh-meat/4od