Sunday 10 July 2011

Meet the Adebanjo's - A British-Nigerian Sitcom

Hilarious! She said

Somehow, there are certain trends I do not react to or acknowledge until it catches the eye of certain members of my social network at which point my curiosity might be engaged to have a look just to appreciate what might have piqued their interest.

This topic had been around for over a week until it came up on the status of a Facebook friend with the text “Hilarious!!!” so I clicked on it.

The first minute presented jocular hilarity and elicited my comment - Hilarious indeed but looks like the over-acting I see on Turkish soaps.

Usually, after such a comment, I would have looked for other activity to engage myself but there was something familiar about the plot, the characters, the script and the setting, I was drawn in.

A British-Nigerian sitcom

Meet The Adebanjo’s [1] according to its website is a feel-good upbeat scripted sitcom, in reality whilst it seemed to be written in similar context as Desmond’s [2] which had a mainly West-Indian influence depicting the life and struggles of immigrants and their children, it was difficult to claim any real affinity with that situation comedy apart from the fact that it shared an immigrant subculture.

In Meet The Adebanjos, it is essentially Nigerian and quite particularly representative of the Yoruba predominantly from Western Nigeria but with the standard fare of one generation of parents who were born in Nigeria that have settled in Britain who now have teenaged children who are essentially British and the traditional, cultural, societal, religious and economic ructions that break-out as the family unit attempts to thrive with extended relations who take liberties and the parents maintain a semblance of harmony and success to the wider community.

The stereotypes are obvious in the roles and the attitudes of the cast; the father whose notion of headship of the family has hardly shifted from one-time traditional expectations that he is unschooled in contemporary romantic engagement of his long-suffering wife who now demands “All I want is one day when you will quality (sic) me.”

A familiar subculture

That is a quintessentially Nigerian line and usage where a noun or adjective can become a verb carrying its meaning with it when there is a more appropriate word, such malapropisms to the facetious are accepted usage within the community that everyone fully understands the context – in this case quality is used for appreciate with emphasis.

The children are caught between the cultures of home, school and the street, the domineering influence of the parents almost always becoming a source of familial conflict until they become wily enough to work around the sometimes absurd restrictions.

However, the genuineness of these depictions must not be lost and needs to be discussed because this British-Nigerian construct is a subculture that is neither fully representative of the Nigeria the parents left decades before nor fully integrated in the Britain where their children were born and buffeted by nostalgia, aspiration and circumstance to the point that it appears ghettoised.

Typically Nigerian

As objective decision-making and reasoning succumbs to subjective community ties that trust is misplaced and taken advantage of as it extends to relations, friends, religious circles, fellow countrymen and other cohesive forces; you have the makings of what can be termed “typically Nigerian” that could be set up anywhere in the world but in Nigeria itself.

I digressed; this is a nicely written script with usefully engaging plots all addressing serious matters with humour and hilarity that it is certainly and definitely more watchable than Nollywood at its pretentious best.

The 1st episode is built around the man forgetting and at loss at what to do for their wedding anniversary, it aired on the 26th of June 2011, the 2nd will air on the 10th of July 2011 and the last on the 24th of July 2011.

Altogether funny

There will be 8 episodes in all available for purchase as a DVD box set at some later date.

From what I have seen of the published episodes, the team behind this venture are talented, creative, interesting and fun, I would expect that this sitcom would find a good primetime slot on television or at the least with a cable or satellite channel with an ethnic audience - a few tweaks and less over-acting can make it mainstream enough to put the Channel 4 reality TV Series 3 of The Family [3] featuring the Adesina’s playing to the gallery in the shade.

Episode 1 is required viewing and if you surf the website or follow them on Twitter or Facebook, you might get to watch parts of Episode 2, which at the time of this review was password protected but compulsive viewing, I got to see it.

I do not know what else I should write to get you having a belly full of laughs. One line I cannot forget. “Will you insult the Lord?”


[1] Meet The Adebanjo’s

[2] Desmond's - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[3] The Family – Series 3 – Channel 4

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