“Laughing at farts is the foundation of a good relationship” – Marriage writer shares his wisdom | Television


‘Baftas are basically trinkets,” explains Stefan Golaszewski. “They’re very nice to have, but not central to what I do.” The multi-award-winning sitcom writer is speaking out ahead of the launch of his new series, Marriage, which proved harder to write than he had prepared. Yes, Golaszewski directed three phenomenally ironic Lesley Manville TV series in Mum. True, he created the four hilarious humorous seasons of Him & Her about a slacker couple, played by Russell Tovey and Sarah Solemani. But as he sat down to write Marriage, he couldn’t help but think he was wrong.

“There was something about my writing that I didn’t like – something that kept me from achieving what I wanted,” Golaszewski says. “So after mom, I took the time to relearn how to write.” His accomplishment? There is a fundamental lack of honesty in making people laugh. “When you write a comedy,” he says, “the dialogue is sherbet: it fizzes in the moment and then it goes away. The purpose of words is to make people laugh. But I was interested in using dialogue to seek deeper truth. When you’re writing comedy, there’s a ceiling to your ability to be honest – and for me, being honest is key.

Hence Marriage: Golaszewski’s passage in an hour-long drama. The four-part series takes a close look at a 27-year relationship, which is packed with impeccably observed detail about how couples behave in long-term relationships. Entire scenes consist of loading a dishwasher or talking about their ant problem. One sequence sees Sean Bean’s Ian waiting at the foot of the stairs for his wife to return from the bathroom. “How’s your belly? ” he asks. “A lot of gasoline? Nicola Walker, who plays his wife Emma, ​​replies, “I thought I was going to take off!” They burst out laughing, then trotted off to take care of the administration of the house.

“Fart gags are probably the foundation of a successful relationship because it’s honesty,” Golaszewski says. “My wife can’t believe how fast I farted in front of her when we first met. I’m human – we all fart!”

Writing drama might be a stylistic departure for someone more familiar with puckering the nation’s lips with squeaky comedy, but there’s one thing that’s undeniably unchanged in Marriage – the love of relationships. . Him & Her showed budding romance in your twenties, mom described how you pass the end of a lifelong bond and widowhood, while Golaszewski’s latest project is a midlife anthem. It could be the last part of a trilogy relating the lifespan of a couple.

“God, I wouldn’t be important enough to conjure up a trilogy!” said Golaszewski. “I was just interested in the beauty of marriage, which is so often seen as mundane – or portrayed as less exciting than having an affair. I think there’s more hope and joy in a lot of marriages than you often see. But I’m out of the way – I need to write about something other than relationships!”

One of the most remarkable things about the Marriage storyline is that there isn’t much of it. Although Bean said that “there are really few words in this”, it’s still surprising how many scenes are without dialogue. Sometimes we see the cozy silence of reclining on a couch with a bag of shrimp crackers. At other times, we watch Walker and Bean’s characters go about their lives in almost mundane silence: decluttering a bedroom or cleaning up a dinner party. They stretch until, at some point, one of them bursts into tears – followed by another silence.

First Class… Sean Bean as Ian and Nicola Walker as Emma. Photography: Rory Mulvey/BBC/La Forge

The series chronicles the redundancy of Bean’s character and how the strength of his marriage helps him through it. But the episodes are not guided by an obvious narration. Sometimes it feels more like an immersive on-screen experience than a typical TV drama. Is it intimidating that it’s on BBC One?

“Oh yeah! It’ll be interesting to see what happens, but I hope people understand all the silences as a reflection of life,” Golaszewski says. wasn’t about plot, but hopefully it has a similar grip or compulsion to one of those very conspiratorial shows. My shows are full of stories but I don’t prioritize the plot – in plot driven shows, humanity, character, speech, emotion and behavior only have value. ‘in terms of usefulness to the plot. I want to celebrate the human experience for the messy, delicate, glorious thing that it is.

This focus on making television as human as possible makes for some thrilling performances, especially from Bean. He is a tall, comfortable man, who has been deformed for many years. He’s crying, he’s in need, he desperately needs a hug from his wife after a hard day and takes advantage of the time she’s not around to find some “revitalizing shower gel” because he “has need that little push.” Alongside Peter Mullan – whose melting, tender performance as Michael in Mummy belies his ability to play a terrifying monster in Ozark – he is the latest actor to show a softer side in a BBC show written by Golaszewski. Is turning hardmen into cute pies something the writer enjoys?

Screen Time... Sean Bean as Ian and Chantelle Alle as Jessica.
Screen Time… Sean Bean as Ian and Chantelle Alle as Jessica. Photography: Rory Mulvey/BBC/La Forge

“You know what?” said Golaszewski. “They really are like that. Peter is more like Michael in Mum than the guy from Ozark. He’s much more likely to make you a cup of tea than sell you heroin. Sean is the same – he’s incredibly sweet and caring. You meet him and you don’t know how he’s going to be, because he’s Sean Bean on TV – but there’s real warmth and kindness to him.

It’s not just the rarely shown sides of the actors that Golaszewski is keen to bring to the screen, but the whole class system. The worlds he writes about are those of the lower middle class, with their roots in the working class, partly because that is where he comes from, but also because it is the world of the majority of the nation – which makes it the most truthful thing he could put on television, despite how rarely playwrights portray it. “It’s often difficult on TV, because people are relatively upscale. When I tell them how I want to build sets, they say, ‘Do people really live like that?’ ” He’s laughing. “I’m like, ‘Do you want to meet my family?'”

In a way, he owes his career to his attempt to curse the rich. As a Cambridge University student, he became chairman of their Footlights comedy troupe, after showing up to their auditions with the most offensive monologue he could think of to try and horrify them – only to have them audition. they burst out laughing. “I was very angry in college,” he says. “I was kind of racist towards classy people.” He spawned the Cowards comedy troupe, whose members included Tim Key and Tom Basden (After Life); they went on to create two series of Radio Four and one BBC Four sketches.

Never a chore… Sarah Solemani and Russell Tovey in Him & Her.
Never a chore… Sarah Solemani and Russell Tovey in Him & Her. Photograph: BBC/Big Talk

It also made him a contemporary of the likes of Alex Horne and Mark Watson, as well as members of Boris Johnson’s cabinet whom he is surprisingly diplomatic about – even though he didn’t associate with them at the time. . “I guess Suella Braverman worked hard,” he said. “I don’t know anything about her, but it must not be easy being an ethnic minority woman entering the Conservative Party.”

It’s exactly the approach you’d expect from someone who has said in the past that their shows have “no bad guys.” Even the most loathsome characters in Mom and He and She got the chance to show off the vulnerabilities that made you sympathize with their horror. But in Marriage, it’s a little grayer. We see an exploitative male business owner sexually attacking a teenage intern. Bean and Walker’s on-screen daughter’s boyfriend, Jessica, turns on her aggressively. Although the script tries to show the trauma underlying their abusive behavior, it’s hard not to feel like you’re witnessing a new darkness in Golaszewski’s writing. Although for him, these are plots that deal with one thing: the truth. “People have dark lives and terrible things happen to them. Then they must continue to live. These are the kinds of themes that a comedy can’t deal with.

As Marriage prepares to air, Golaszewski revels in his newfound freedom to create the most honest depiction of real life possible. “In tiny moments,” he says, “there is an enormity of human life. If you look for it, you see it everywhere. It’s in every little detail of how people hold themselves, how people articulate their words, how they talk to each other. The world is full of people who try their best, sometimes get it wrong, sometimes get it wrong, but generally try their best. What a beautiful thought. No wonder he chose to give up comedy writing for it.


theguardian Gt

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button