I can see where the makers have gone with this. The Office was a hugely successful British sitcom that followed the day-to-day lives of people who worked in an office. A lot of the jokes were particularly resonant because they mirrored situations experienced by those who have worked in an office. Some people have never worked in an office, but lots of people have worked in a shop — ergo, it would be a good idea to make The Office, but set in a shop.
And it works. Sort of. Ish. Trollied is set in Valco, a supermarket (A cross between ASDA and Tesco) in the north-west of England. It stars, rather brilliantly Jane Horrocks, famous mainly for doing Tesco adverts for half her life, and Mark Addy, who is now doing Tesco adverts. It’s just like having John Hurt, who played Winston Smith in 1984, being the “Big Brother” character in V for Vendetta, but with more plastic bags and sausages.
The main characters cover all areas of the supermarket — management, the butcher’s counter, checkout girls, customer service, that smelly young bloke who pushes trolleys of baked beans around whilst looking very angry, everyone. There is everything you would expect from a sitcom about a supermarket. And therein lies the problem.
Trollied isn’t bad. It’s just not particularly good, either. A few episodes in and we’ve got predictable story lines acted out by stereotypes. The female Deputy Manager with an appalling social life and a desperation to prove herself. The overweight, vulgar checkout girl with too much make-up on. The clueless elderly woman who has never had a job before. And, another example of the “inspiration” taken from The Office, we’ve got an Dawn-and-Tim style romance in the form of the junior butcher and checkout girl Katie.
The only jokes and plot movement Trollied has lies in these tired stereotypes — look, that uncouth girl is talking about having anal sex! Look, that man doesn’t know that woman fancies her! Look, those dippy women are being dippy! Ha, ha, ha! Ooo, this is so interesting! Or not. Don’t insult our intelligence. Try a bit harder, please.
But like I said, it’s not awful. And we are only two episodes in — it might get better. I wouldn’t rush to set the DVR to record it if I was out, and I wouldn’t choose it over something like Spaced, Red Dwarf or Coupling. But if there was nothing else on that I wanted to watch, then yeah, I’d put Trollied on. As background noise, it’s perfect.