5 life lessons from Spaced

I figured that if ‘5 life lessons from…‘ was going to be a series on this blog, the next show I had to address would have to be what is possibly my favourite television programme of all time. Despite the fact there are only 14 episodes of less than thirty minutes each, Spaced had a massive impact on me when I first watched it and still continues to inspire and influence me sixteen years after the last episode aired.

1) Fake it ’til you make it
In trying to secure a flat that has been advertised as for ‘professional couples only, Tim and Daisy not only convince their landlord-to-be Marsha* that they are a couple, but also that they have successful careers. We see Daisy working in a series of frustrating and unsuitable temp jobs (self-identifying as a writer throughout), and Tim works in a comic book shop. By the time we get to season two, aspiring journalist Daisy has now had several articles published in national newspapers and magazines, while wannabe graphic artist Tim has landed his dream job at Dark Star Comics. If these losers can do it, so can we!

2) Good friends are worth their weight in gold
When Daisy’s dog Colin goes missing, Tim rounds up the troops to help find him. When Marsha leaves, the gang enlist help to win her back. Spaced is full of big and small moments of pure friendship joy, but it’s not just on screen where the show highlights the wonders of friendship – behind the scenes was a massive love-in too. Created and written by its two main stars, Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes, Spaced was directed by film nerd Edgar Wright and featured Pegg’s real life best mate Nick Frost. When you hear or read the four of them enthusiastically talking about Spaced on the commentary or in interviews, it just makes you adore the show even more.

3) You start feeling old as soon as you leave uni
When planning a last-minute housewarming, Daisy’s celebrations get overshadowed by a party hosted by their landlord’s teenage daughter Amber. The gang eventually join the other party instead, marvelling at how the young revellers are like an alien race as, once you’ve reached tour mid-20s, youthful exuberance can seem so far away. When Daisy gets told off by the woman at her temp agency for not being able to hold down a job, the woman is portrayed as a fresh faced but worldly-wise young girl with braces on her teeth. Although I swiftly realised that 25 isn’t ‘old’ (far from it!), I recognise now that pretty much everyone starts feeling old after the age of 21. You always think you could/should have done more by now, which leads me to…

4) No one has their life sorted in their 20s
These days, social media might have you believe everyone else has their lives 100% sorted and that every 25-year-old is way more successful than we were at their age, even though we know that everyone shows only the best version of themselves publicly. Spaced shows us that this self doubt existed way before Instagram. Twist is described as ‘working in fashion’ when we know that she actually does shifts at a dry cleaners. Tim and Daisy have career and relationship goals in life, but no real idea how to get there. When you watch them messing up but having huge amounts of fun along the way, you realise that’s really what your 20s were all about.

5) Friendship can be found in unlikely places
Tim says he likes Brian but isn’t sure why. Despite their differences, they spend time together and embark on a ‘cultural exchange’ with Tim going to art galleries and Brian watching the original Star Wars trilogy. Daisy and Twist are so different that it’s often difficult to work out why they are friends, but their on screen moments often reflect friendships we’ve all had – imperfect but valuable. Mike and Marsha’s growing friendship in season two is a pure delight to watch and reminds us once again that friendship can be found in the most unlikely of places. Differences in age, gender and background don’t necessarily mean you won’t get along with someone. In fact, these apparent ‘mismatches’ are often what help us grow.

Images via fanaru.com. *Yes, I know that Marsha is referred to as a ‘landlady’ in the show, but I prefer the word ‘landlord’.

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