23 July 2024

TV Review: This is Jinsy

Reviewer: Dexter Kong
Air Date: September 19th, 2011 (UK)
Director:  Matt Lipsey

This is Jinsy is a new surrealist comedy on Sky Atlantic. The show was originally a BBC Three commission but was spirited away by Sky. Psychoville’s Matt Lipsey is director of the eight episode series.

Set on an anonymous fictional island, trapped in a twilight zone-esque 1970s, where it’s inhabitants are mostly dreary and bovine, run by a rather simpleton Orwellian dictatorship. Though this description is somewhat simplified as This is Jinsy falls on the liberal side of comedy and characters.

A comparison can be made to The Mighty Boosh as it follows a similar format of random musical numbers and equally up and down humor. Most of the sets are filmed against green screen to again give a surreal vibe akin to the classic kids TV show ‘nightmare’ on acid.

The first episode feels all over the place, actual laughs are hard to come by, but rather replaced by a feeling of unease as if it has spilled from the mind of someone on LSD. This may be due to the pilot syndrome with comedy where it actually takes a couple of episodes to appreciate the type of humor it brings. We often cut in and out of Jinsy’s state TV channel litter with commercials which could quite easily have been produced by Johnathan Waters.

In the second episode there is a much greater sense that the show has found it’s comedic tone and laughs, at the delivery of the characters and situation. The Island is overrun with a wardrobe following cult…

There are reoccurring character spots as well as a comedy star studded line up with David Tennant and Peter Serafinowicz making appearances; on the second iteration of Harry Hill’s shopping channel delivery as the transsexual state punishment figure, the oddball tone had struck the right chord.

Much like the early Boosh there is a feeling that This is Jinsy is still finding it’s comedy feet and an audience understanding to just how much schizophrenia is to be expected.

It is a bold move by Sky Atlantic to herald This is Jinsy as their comedy commission flagship, but there is no doubt that the show will gather a cult following.

This is Jinsy is on Mondays 10pm on Sky Atlantic.

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