Outnumbered last episode, review: Strained relations provide final laughs


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The Independent Culture

Right, that's it then for Outnumbered. Ta-ra to lines like "Dad, can I use the computer to do my cyber-bullying homework?"; au revoir to Samantha Bond's perfectly berserk turn as Auntie Angela, a women with postgraduate levels of passive-aggression; farewell to Hugh Dennis pretending not to be able to use a phone.

Outnumbered charmed its way into the hearts of audiences in 2007, hidden after the news, with an endearing mix of childish ad-lib and sitcom ham. It slowly became more traditional, but Guy Jenkin and Andy Hamilton have known their way around a good line since Not the Nine O'Clock News, so the Brockmans were always worth popping in on.

Their last great moment came here when Karen (Ramona Marquez) tackled some kind of wider philosophical truth. Asked "why aren't you in bed?" her answer was a masterpiece in surreal obfuscation: "Because I'm in the kitchen."

The denouement also took in Ben's school's ridiculous production of Spartacus.

The laughs therein followed a trend started by Wes Anderson with Max Fischer's ambitious school dramas (Serpico!) in Rushmore.

As the family resolved their problems (getting money from Angela; Ben's stage fright), they settled down together for the last time. Just as Ben murdered a Roman with a plastic trident.