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‘Vicious’: Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi star in new PBS sitcom

Ian Kellen and Derek Jacobi of Vicious on PBS
Ian Kellen and Derek Jacobi of Vicious on PBS

What is PBS's new sitcom "Vicious" like? Picture the classic sitcoms “The Odd Couple” and “Will and Grace” except the characters were actually seniors. Do that, add a few laughs and some British wit and you have the makings of “Vicious,” the new sitcom starring Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi. The show premiered on Sunday, after a season of broadcast on ITV.

The pair play Freddie and Stuart, a gay couple who have been together for nearly for more than forty years and are still hiding it from Stuart’s elderly mother.

“You still haven’t told her [about our relationship],” Freddie asks?

“There hasn’t been a right time,” Stuart quips.

“It’s been forty years!!”

“And there still hasn’t been the right time,” Stuart answers back.

The comedy’s pilot is a straight 22 minute teleplay in which the loving couple bicker a sharply as “The Honeymooners’” Ralph and Alice Kramden or as the acid-tongued Cranes of NBC’s long running series “Frasier.” In the series debut, Freddie and Stuart learn that an old friend has died, causing them to reflect on what might have been with their their relationship. As they host a gathering to remember their friend, a new neighbor moves into the building – a handsome younger man, named Ash (Iwan Rheon), whom they wonder is straight or gay. The generation gap is the just one of the elephants in the room as Freddie, Stuart, are there with Ash and their friend Violet (Frances de le Tour) who flirts outrageously with Ash. Violet doesn’t know if Zac Efron is a person or a place but knows that the millennials like him. “Has anyone ever said that you remind them of Zac Efron,” she asks Ash. “That is a person right or is it a place” she says to Freddie and Stuart. “I’m quite certain I know you. Have you ever been to Zac Efron” she also says to Ash.

“Vicious” was co-created by Gary Janetti of “Will & Grace” fame who grew up watching British sitcoms on PBS, The multi-camera show is shot in front of a live studio audience.

In future episodes Ash turns to Freddie and Stuart for relationship advice and Freddie, Stuart go “clubbing” to supports Ash’s new job.

Check out “Vicious” airing Sundays at 10:30 p.m. EST on PBS.

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