The new HBO comedy Sent —co-produced and directed by The Noose’s Alaric Tay — stars Haresh Tilani, the Rowan Atkinson-lookalike co-founder of the YouTube channel Ministry of Funny, as an office drone whose life is wrecked after he accidentally sends out a bunch of NSFW e-mails to his family, friends and colleagues.
There’s an eerie feeling of déjà vu that I’ve seen Sent somewhere before. It invokes the dreadful memories of some barely-funny homegrown coma-dies like... never mind. Well, let’s just say that Sent doesn’t belong on a premium cable channel like HBO, the Emmy-hoarding home of Game of Thrones and Veep. And when you’re on HBO, you’re expected to adhere to certain high standards. Is that too much to ask? But Sent doesn’t; it aims low — and still misses.
Because it's on cable, Sent has more freedom to include — whatchamacallit — ‘colourful’ language. It’s jarring at first (there’s a scene where a tea lady drops an F-bomb that’s kinda amusing), but that novelty wears off fast. Clearly, Alaric (who curiously drops his surname in the credits*) aspires to create something adult and sophisticated, but his execution is broad, slapsticky and kiddish.
Tonally, it’s all over the place, with characters, no, make that caricatures, who look like they have wandered away from aforementioned homegrown coma-dies into Sent by mistake, delivering the same predictable and painful dire-logue. I’ve only seen the first two eps (I actually saw them twice, more than what was necessary, because I had to be sure), but let’s hope it gets better. (Photo: HBO)
Watch it on: Sun, HBO, StarHub Ch 601; HBO On Demand, StarHub TV Ch 602; HBO on StarHub Go.
*There’s a reason why Alaric Tay dropped his surname in the credits. In a Whatsapp reply, he said, “Following the principal of the rule of three (or rule of thirds), people remember things better in syllables of three. So I decided to rebrand my stage name.” Yes, you can now just call Alaric….er, Alaric.