The Full Monty Season 1 Review: Provides a different outlook on the characters with a contemporary lens

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 2/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 4/5


The Fully Monty outperformed expectations when it was released in 1997. It became a huge sleeper hit and a cultural phenomenon whose legacy was undeniable. The film was a raging, hilarious, and profound take on the hardships of unemployment and the spirit of genuine camaraderie.

The follow-up television series of the same name sees the entire main cast of Gaz, Dave, Horse, Lomper, and others reprise their roles. But this time around, there is a stark difference in the substance and cadence of storytelling. Hulu’s ‘The Full Monty’ takes a distinguished approach to exploring social themes through its characters with a contemporary lens. The results are mixed but ultimately rewarding.

The Full Monty deploys a bits-and-pieces narrative where each of our main characters gets an episode related to their storyline. Gaz, Dave, Lomper, Jean, and Horse form the entirety of the old gang, while the new additions include Destiny, Gaz’s teenage daughter, and Hetty, a music teacher at the Sheffield Academy and Jean’s best friend. Gerald and Guy do not feature predominantly in the series. A variety of issues are explored through the characters and how they deal with the realities of an evolving world.

Don’t expect too many plot twists or jarring tonal changes as the storytelling in The Full Monty is pretty much straightforward. Beaufoy and the writers stick to a conventional story structure and do not resort to creative antics.

Beaufoy also wrote the original movie and shows awareness and understanding of his characters. What he manages to manifest in the television series is sort of like a back story to the protagonists. Even though it is, in theory, more of a writing exercise, here it is developed into a full-fledged narrative reality. The issues that the likes of Horse and Dave faced in the movie become the point of focus in the series.

Horse’s struggles with abject poverty, wherein he couldn’t even eat food for three straight days, are quite heartbreaking. His arc has been beautifully brought to life. It is impactful to the extent that you will be moved to tears by the end. There are inspirations from Ken Loach’s ‘I, Daniel Blake’ on that front in terms of characterization. We see a man sent teetering on the verge of a mental breakdown, suffocated by the promise of government schemes and the monstrous challenge of availing them.

The sense of irony looms large and as the series progress, the satirical tone slowly graduates into something indignant. Dave and Jean’s troublesome marriage and the seeds of the distance between them are also emotional in intent and give us food for thought.

As a result of the above, The Full Monty’s television follow-up is drained of humour. The underlying lightheartedness remains but only remnants of it. There are very few sequences where the gang gathers at a place to indulge in quick-fire and witty repartee or do something comical together. Although one can understand the series is appropriate to their age, not being able to see them like their younger selves, especially with each other, is frustrating. In a way, this is also because of the latent indifference in the friends’ group, which Dennis alludes to in the final episode. But there is no apparent reason for this distance between them that precludes them from sharing and caring.

New additions to the cast, Talitha Wing as Destiny and Miles Jupp as Darren, provide new avenues of emotional connection. Both characters get their distinguished arcs, although the subject matter explored through them feels too familiar. The manner in which they evolve as people in the series cannot escape contrivance. There is no disagreement in the fact that the disillusionment of the youth and immigration are vital issues. But The Full Monty falls short of providing fresher perspectives. Darren’s arc with Silvan is especially rushed and seems more like a result of a rough sketch derived from some other existing story than an original creation.

Robert Carlyle, Mark Addy, and Paul Barber are the pick of the acting ensemble. Their presence at the helm of the project is essential for bringing depth and maturity to the fore and pulling off the serious approach the creators have taken. With them on the screen, you feel more assured as a viewer of where the buck is headed. They are able to get a handle on their characters’ plights and struggles way better than the others involved.

The Full Monty’s television follow-up is a sweet albeit unauthentic chapter in the life journey of the characters. While more could have been done to develop the series in the context of contemporary themes, in its present shape, The Full Monty is a satisfactory sendoff.

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  • Verdict - 6.5/10

1 thought on “The Full Monty Season 1 Review: Provides a different outlook on the characters with a contemporary lens”

  1. I loved this series and highly recommended to others to watch the movie first then the series. I hope there will be a season 2.

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