Mrs Brown's Boys

Mrs Brown's Boys

With Splash set to come back for a second series, does it once again show that in actually fact, us critics are actually out of touch with what audiences want.

We may sit here and extoll the virtues of Breaking Bad, The Killing and The Thick Of It, but time and time again these shows that are often referred to simply as ‘critical darlings’ come up short when it comes times to look at the viewing figures.

Splash has ruled the roost when it comes to the Saturday evening schedules over the last month, getting in over six million viewers for its season finale despite having attracted so much bad press that Tom Daley’s mother even took to writing letters in defence of the show.

It’s not just reality TV though that is showing up the gap between critical and audience love.

Mrs Brown’s Boys is roundly hated by critics, often called a dinosaur by reviewers and never even given the time of day by most people who professionally call themselves those in the know when it comes to TV. I’ll be honest with you; I can barely watch more than ten  minutes and just find it looking tired and old even when compared to much older shows like Father Ted.

Despite the battering it takes week in, week out from all sides of the press, Mrs Brown’s Boys has attracted a massive audience over the last three years and is currently the biggest comedy on British TV. Routinely collecting over seven million viewers each week (with four million tuning in for the repeat), this Irish comedy also got over 11 million viewers for its festive special, outperforming the much talked about Doctor Who and Downton Abbey specials with ease.

The show is also an awards goliath, scooping up the (audience voted) National Television Award for best sitcom earlier this year and won the BAFTA for best sitcom last year.

The show’s success has left critics gobsmacked and has let many scratching their head as to how a comedian whose main influences are Cannon and Ball is making the rest of the crowd look silly in 2013.

It’s not just in the UK though. Over in America, Community, Parks And Recreation and Awake are (were in the case of Awake) heralded by critics from the top of the mountain but are continuously pummelled in the ratings by the much derided The Big Bang Theory, Two And A Half Men and NCIS.

Why is there the gap though? We critic’s haven’t been bred in a test tube, live in the same world as the general audience and are as liable to a guilty pleasure as anyone else on the planet. Is it that critics are too concerned with appealing cool or maintaining their viewer cred by piling on an unpopular show?

While a few are likely to fall foul of this statement, personally I don’t feel like I’m in that percentage. I love a bit of trashy TV and am just as likely to watch The Vampire Diaries as I am Borgen and enjoy them both in the way that they should be. We natter on about Revenge up here in FemaleFirst towers as much as we discuss Game Of Thrones.

So while we continue to wonder quite how different the tastes and preferences of the critical few and mass market, those able to capture the hearts and minds of the latter will continue to prosper over those loved in the media.

What are your thoughts? Are critics too high and mighty to have a good time, or are audiences just being led astray? Let us know in the comments.