Ah, Simon. How do I super-like thee? Let me count the ways…
Fourteen. That’s how many episodes of Spaced aired from 1999 to 2001. Not only is Spaced a fantastically original and hilarious TV show, it also happens to be the brainchild of my favorite actor, writer, and nerd: Simon Pegg.
Before going any further I should offer a side note: Jessica Stevenson, the other creator of Spaced, is equally hilarious and amazing. But since this is a total man-crush piece–and you can’t have a man-crush on a woman (in most cases, anyway)–Jessica will be the subject of another post. But I digress. Where was I?
Ah, yes. “Fourteen.” Both surreal and wickedly funny, Spaced ran for two seven-episode seasons and never missed a beat. The show follows the antics of Tim Bisley and Daisy Steiner, two post-modern twenty-somethings trying to figure out the complexities of adulthood. Its great cast, comedic timing and terrific nerdery aside, Spaced also served to make peroxide-treated hair cool again (if only for me) and to teach this American phrases like to “go pear-shaped”, which is nice. By the way, it means “to go awry”.
But this isn’t a review of Spaced. It’s a man-crush piece, as I said, and Spaced certainly didn’t kick off Pegg’s career. It didn’t even spark his relationship with director extraordinaire, Edgar Wright. What it did do though, was catalyze the collaboration of the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost/Edgar Wright dream team, which has brought us the likes of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, and is about to close their Cornetto Trilogy (or “Blood and Ice Cream” Trilogy) with The World’s End later this summer.
As with Spaced, Pegg co-wrote these films and it shows in their unique brand of hilarity and wit. Having Pegg’s voice in all three films also serves to give them signature correlations like eating ice cream, drinking plenty of beer and jumping over fences and hedges–rather poorly…”What’s the matter, Danny? Never taken a shortcut before?”
But Simon Pegg isn’t just a great writer. He’s genuinely fun to watch. Even when he hasn’t been a leading man, Pegg has routinely stolen the show from supporting roles in big-budget films like the Mission Impossible franchise and the two most recent Star Trek films. Even better, he’s starred in some really great offbeat comedies like Paul, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, Run Fatboy Run and my most recent obsession, A Fantastic Fear of Everything, which I highly recommend.
All in all, Simon Pegg is his own brand, and what a great brand that is. I really, really can’t wait to be on the receiving end of more Simon Pegg humor. He just makes me that happy.
Simon, if this ever finds you…please be my friend? I promise not to make you watch your own filmography…but if you’re up for it, I’ll bring the Cornetto.