Chris O'Dowd and Nick Vincent Murphy's Moone Boy is - dare I say it - the funniest thing to come out of Ireland since the last funniest thing to come out of Ireland (I don't need to tell you what that is. If you think it's Mrs Brown's Boys, you may as well stop reading now). And I'm not just saying that because they sent me a load of fizzy jellies, Sparx popping powder, those watches made from what's meant to be Refreshers but more like tasteless hunks of chalk wrapped around an elastic band, and a rake load of other E number imbued moments of pure joy I've not cracked my teeth against since 1989 - which I then proceeded to munch through while watching the first episode and hence this big long rambling sugar induced sentence of eternity.
Opening with O'Dowd's dulcet tones announcing "Ever wanted to be the imaginary friend of an idiot boy from the west of Ireland? Me neither", Moone Boy starts how it means to go on, with charming animations, bad perms, the obligatory moustache-riddled sister, Sultans of Ping and The Four of Us backing track, Dynasty, enviable school lunches (I used to get two heels slathered in jam wrapped in an old Brennans wrapper), a drunk dad bumbling into your room to bid goodnight, boil-in-the-bag sausage stew, and the aul token purchased birthday gifts. Think the coveted Cabbage Patch Kid from H Williams, but in this case it's a bike from the makers of 'Readybix'.
Moone Boy manages to mix unbridled childhood innocence with an underbelly of latent inappropriateness, which - in essence - was Ireland in the 80s. Set in Boyle (that's in Roscommon. Don't worry you'll be shown it on an animated map), episode one sees our protagonist Martin Moone get a new bike for his birthday - but then the local twin bullies get their mitts on it. That's where Simon Delaney and his rod come in. Stick around for tonight's second episode at 10pm which features Mary Robinson, Maeve Higgins, Deirdre O'Kane in a naughty nurse uniform, and Steve Coogan getting hosed down in a pair of manties by a small child.
If I had to come across with one lone quibble, it's that Chris O'Dowd's Sean doesn't appear quite as much as expected (particularly in Episode 2), which makes his interjections feel a bit shoehorned at times. That could be easily remedied by simply having more Chris O'Dowd... I wouldn't complain.
Moone Boy kicks off at 9.30pm tonight on SKY1 and SKY1 HD.