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Iddo Goldfarb

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Iannucci's Renaissance of Ribaldry

Posted: 21/09/2012 10:42

Regardless of what stupid people will tell you, swearing is not a sign of a limited vocabulary. It serves as a vital linguistic purpose as any other: conveying anger, passion and, if you're from the deep south or Colin Firth in the final scene of Bridget Jones's Diary, romantic intent. More often than not, swearing actually constitutes a valuable public service: namely give the recipient of your abuse a sporting chance to stop being a dick before you cudgel them into a coma.

A few years ago I was assailed by the terrifying thought that perhaps I swore TOO MUCH. I know, I know, I'm a saint. This was not, I hasten to add, born of any concern that I was descending into vapidity but rather that if I expleted too frequently, the impact of my swearing would be diluted. Cock and whore would lose their shock and awe. People would be like "Oh, Balls to Monty said 'bum' again; must be a Tuesday." The very thought brought me out in a cold sweat, I don't mind telling you. For me, you see, for me, delivering a well-crafted and devastatingly-timed execration was like having Scarlett Johansson lovingly placing chocolate covered raisins onto your tongue and I'm ashamed to say I became addicted to the sensation. Henceforth, I've tried to earn the right to swear. To consider swearing as a treat. I've failed dismally but still....what the fuck have you ever done?

Anyway, the point is that those idiots who persist with the benighted philosophy that swearing is neither big nor clever should be pointed gently towards The Thick of It where they'll have their eyes opened to a veritable renaissance of ribaldry.

These days, The Thick of It doesn't have to expend much creative energy on plot-lines - the vagaries of the coalition government and Ed Miliband's weekly Peewee Herman impressions serve up a species of situation comedy that fiction could not possibly hope to outdo. However, what this does mean is that Iannucci and co. can focus fully on the show's other lynchpin: the rudeness. Here are some classic examples:-

•"Come the fuck in or fuck the fuck off" (Malcolm Tucker answering the door)
•"How much fucking shit is there on the menu and what fucking flavour is it?" (Malcolm Tucker bollocking an employee)
•"Fuckity-bye" (Malcolm Tucker...saying goodbye)
•"You breathe a word of this, to anyone, you mincing fucking CUNT, and I will tear your fucking skin off, I will wear it to your mother's birthday party, and rub your nuts up and down her leg whilst whistling Bohemian fucking Rhapsody, right?" (Malcolm Tucker.....)
I could go on but I won't. Watch it. Make your kids to watch it. If my kids couldn't swear properly I don't think I'd be able to live it down

 

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