Death To 2020 is a mildly amusing, satirical documentary looking back at the events in this crazy, crazy year. With rehashed jokes we’ve heard a million times before, some tired impressions and cliched caricatures, Death To 2020 shrugs out the year with mild indifference rather than a scathing Charlie Brooker examination.
Of course, some of this comes in the form of the comedy we’ve actually been graced with in our new digitalized world. Unless you’ve been living under a rock we’ve had memes, satirical news sites and quick-witted comedians doing much of the heavy lifting about this apocalyptic year of ours. There’s even been jokes about 2020 being directed by Charlie Brooker as a live-action Black Mirror episode.
When Netflix hastily announced it would be producing a mockumentary commemorating what’s happened, the initial intrigue one may have with this is quickly dispelled within the first 15 minutes. Sometimes the theoretical joke is funnier than the real thing and that much is proven here with this slightly lazy attempt at satire.
In a way, this special feels very reminisce of the scrapped plans for Little Britain. For those unaware, Matt Lucas and David Walliams’ comedy show has a recurring segment involving the Prime Minister and his bumbling advisor who’s madly in love with him.
At one point, David Cameron (the Prime Minister ay the time) wanted to make a cameo appearance and play the role. This was thankfully scrapped but reinforces the above point that perhaps the theoretical joke is funnier than the real thing being played out.
Many people will have undoubtedly seen the big news reports this year and Death To 2020 simply rehashes them with added commentary in the form of talking head interviews. Instead of bringing in the most talented comedy minds and letting them riff on the events, Death To 2020 adds in some tired caricature impressions that mostly miss the mark.
You’ve got the tech-illiterate Queen Elizabeth, the racist, conspiracy theory-believing Soccer Mom, an out of touch global CEO and the indifferent, oblivious Northern lass in the UK. There’s not much here in the scope of originality and that is ultimately this special’s biggest problem.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a few well-timed jokes here and a couple of amusing skits but it’s ultimately very underwhelming compared to some of the Brooker brilliance we’ve had in the past. We’ve heard these jokes before and 2020 has been so much of a joke already that any comedy special was always going to have a hard time matching up.
This comedy special bows out 2020 with an indifferent, mild rehash of events that fails to hit the comedic highs it so easily could have had. And perhaps a Charlie Brooker satire missing the mark sums up what a poor year this really has been.