Meet Andy. He’s an unkempt wannabe musician somewhere in his 20s or 30s, an overweight loser who, in the opening minutes of the first episode, is trying to think of reasons not to kill himself. His unlikely saviour is his sister, who rings to ask him to pick up his 12-year-old nephew Errol from school, having already tried every responsible adult she can think of. And from this is born a distinctly atypical odd couple comedy; two very different social misfits stumbling through life together and, just occasionally, managing to help each other.
There are some similarities to About a Boy, but this is a much grimier and more adult take on a similar concept. Consequently, it feels much closer to real life than a floppy-haired idle millionaire learning the benefits of human contact. In fact, one of the best things about Uncle is that it steers clear of the saccharine – this is a world in which almost everyone is imperfect. Errol’s mother is a recovering drug addict, and Andy is endlessly lusting after his ex Gwen, a waitress at the gay strip club owned by her transgender father.
None of this is exactly classic sitcom material, and Uncle never feels like a classic sitcom. Instead, it’s something more interesting and unusual than that; a weird hybrid of dark humour and overblown musical video parodies (yes, really) that’s somehow laced with enough heart and warmth to be genuinely affecting. Most importantly, it feels original in a way that sitcoms hardly ever do, and is a true hidden gem that’s well worth seeking out.