“We’re dealing with a back combed asymmetric bouffant the size of a cow, what do you want me to do give it a shampoo and set?” with this cry Stephen Fry sets the tone for the whole second series of This Is Jinsy. Jinsy is a place of weirdness, whimsey and wonder with a dark underlying tyrannical streak, it is a place with feral accountants, singing obituaries and Sandy’s Choice – a talent show judged by a dog.
With a pilot put out by the BBC This Is Jinsy was eventually picked up by Sky Comedy and is now in it’s second series, perhaps a little too off the wall for the BBC since the inevitable demise of the brilliantly offbeat The Mighty Boosh; Sky has definitely hit gold with this thoroughly British comedy series. The potential love child of The League of Gentlemen and Monty Python, This Is Jinsy is the next in a long, orderly queue of bizarre British comedies.
Set on an island, loosely based on Guernsey the home of the two writers Chris Bran and Justin Chubb, This Is Jinsy’s whimsey takes place in 20 minute long independent stories. While it is not a sketch show there are elements of the genre in the short snippets of the islands TV that we are treated to. In these interruptions to the story we are gifted with such musical numbers as “Vegetable Tricks” and “This Mock Fireplace You Gave Me”, as well as the show Extreme Etiquette for Girls.
Love: “It’s a socially acceptable form of insanity” quips Amy (Amy Adams) friend and confident of Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) a man in the depths of an all-consuming love affair with his computer. Set in an undated future where retro fashion prevails, books are a rarity and computers are wooden Theodore encounters a new form of computer operating system: OS One. This is no ordinary OS update, this is an OS with a soul. While computers with personalities have never been far from the minds of sci-fi writers, with Eddy in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy basically having a nervous breakdown, Her looks deeper than the gimmick at an all together more disturbing possibility. What if man and computer could form a real and deep connection? What if they could fall in love?
With Scarlet Johansson voicing Theodore’s “girlfriend” Samantha, this sentient computer is all but human, she can learn and evolve according to her experiences and importantly she sounds throughly human. Sentient computers have always had a habit of appearing creepy or manipulative, Kevin Spacey’s GERTY in Moon is a great example of how dehumanising adding a human voice to an inanimate object can be. Her avoids this by focusing not on the computer but on the voice that Theodore hears and interacts with, by removing the computer screen almost entirely from their relationship it can at times feel like Theodore and Samantha are simply communicating over the phone.