Netflix Review – Sick Note Seasons 1 and 2 (Spoiler Free)

Nick Frost and Rupert Grint star in this serial sitcom based around constantly-accelerating lies and cover-ups.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Daniel Glass (Rupert Grint) is kind of a shithead. He’s lazy, a habitual liar, and has finally hit the breaking point with both his job and his girlfriend, Becca (Pippa Bennett-Warner), with both of them ready to dump him on the same day. He fakes an injury in an attempt to buy time and sympathy, but his doctor, the absent-minded Dr. Iain Glennis (Nick Frost), informs him that he has esophageal cancer. Suddenly, everyone treats him better, his girlfriend takes him back, and his boss, Kenny West (Don Johnson), gives him a job as a spokesperson for the company.

SickNote - 1Cancer.png
The show also nails the feeling of being diagnosed with cancer. 

However, Dr. Glennis arrives to tell him that there was an error due to his own incompetence and that Daniel does NOT have cancer. Daniel, not willing to go back to the life he had, blackmails Glennis into pretending to treat his non-existent cancer. Naturally, the pair keep having to cover things up and each lie escalates to the point of insanity as they try to maintain this con.

SickNote - 2Laid.png
Yes, he does use the “Cancer Card” to get laid. No, it doesn’t work if you’re not Rupert Grint.


This show is in the vein of Fawlty Towers or The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, where the humor is derived largely from a series of increasing schemes and counter-schemes. Every lie told on this show, by necessity, has to be an escalation of the previous lie. Beyond that, though, one of the recurring themes in the show is that everyone around Daniel is often being just as dishonest as he is, just about something else. There is only one character in the show that tends to be honest with people (so far) and that’s Linda (Marama Corlett), one of Daniel’s co-workers who is often depicted as being almost creepily open with people.

SickNote - 3Smile.png
This is her response to someone telling her they have cancer.

The core lie in the series, that Daniel has cancer, is interesting in that it forces most of the other people to be dishonest out of a desire not to be seen as crapping on someone that has a serious illness. Having had cancer, I found this to be a refreshingly honest statement about how people deal with cancer patients. Most people who were in your life will treat you better because you’re already dealing with enough (which is true) and they love you (which they do), but a few people will treat you nicer solely because they just don’t want to be perceived as being mean to the sick guy. It’s usually very obvious, but we generally tend to approve of it because they’re being nicer even if it’s insincere. This show, however, turns this up to eleven by having the people go out of their way to try and hide all of the things that they thought or felt about Daniel, many of which were completely justified, as Daniel was a lying crapbag even before he decided not to tell people that he doesn’t have cancer.

SickNote - 5Bird.png
The rare image of someone flipping off NOT having cancer.

Another source of humor is the interactions between Dr. Glennis and Daniel, because, even though Glennis is presumed to be learned based on his position, Nick Frost perfectly portrays him as an absent-minded, unfocused bumbler. He manages to commit fundamentally stupid mistakes on almost any given task. He forgets his phone with incriminating texts, he loses other patients, and he routinely leaves incriminating evidence at scenes of cover-ups. At any given point, he’s basically a fountain of Murphy’s Law. Despite this, Glennis actually starts to become relatively successful during the course of the series, mostly because of his association with Daniel’s “miraculous” appearance during his supposed chemotherapy treatment.

SickNote - 4Botox.png
And Glennis is so dumb he botoxed his own eye shut.

The supporting characters are all fantastic, from Daniel’s best friend Ash (Tolu Ogunmefun), to his online friend Will_5000 (Dustin Demri-Burns), to Ash’s wife, Vanessa (Camilla Beeput), to his boss’s daughter Katerina (Lindsay Lohan). They’re all hiding their own secrets, some of which are arguably much worse than Daniel’s. Much like Daniel, they constantly have to go increasingly unbelievable lengths to cover up their sins. Hilarity ensues.

Overall, this is a pretty solid show if you like black comedies, Nick Frost, or Rupert Grint. Give it a shot sometime.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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