Talk about a show that never would have existed even a few years ago without the exploding demand for content. Landing Stateside on IFC, “Ideal” is a too-cute title for this dark British comedy about an obese, slovenly hashish dealer, who spends every moment inside his bleak, rat-infested apartment, where customers drop by to purchase (and occasionally indulge in sampling) his wares. The dialect is so garbled that most Yanks will require subtitles, and nothing much happens. Yet as played by portly comic Johnny Vegas, for some reason I couldn’t take my eyes off it.
Vegas plays Moz, who basically sits around waking and baking, peddling pot and Hash (nothing harder, he insists to a nanny who visits with a tyke tucked under her arm) to the colorful low-lifes that keep popping in. Of course, life isn’t all a smoke-filled dream, inasmuch as Moz’s girlfriend (Nicola Reynolds) seems to want nothing to do with him. Moreover, the two have an altercation that leaves his already putrid-looking T-shirt covered with blood, though he continues wearing it throughout the premiere.
Frankly, I understood about half of what Vegas said, and that pretty much goes for the rest of the supporting cast. Still, as created by Graham Duff, the series is so unabashed in its approach to casual drug use as to be oddly refreshing, even if Moz’s life looks like nothing that anyone might want to emulate. Perhaps that’s in part because the protagonist is such a sad, pathetic clown of Gleason-esque proportions — one who tries to pass off a rat as a pet to calm an attractive client.
Obviously shot on a shoestring, Ideal dovetails with the grunge comedy niche IFC has carved out with programs like Z Rock, aspiring to an indie film look and tone. And for once, you don’t need to be loaded yourself — and fumbling to tear open a bag of chips — to be in on the joke.