Review | Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope May be the RTE Dramedy We’ve Been Waiting For

New Irish comedy-drama, Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope, feels like a step in the right direction for RTE. The network in recent years has suffered from a lack of creativity, doling out spin-offs to Republic of Telly (The Fear, Damo & Ivor, Bridget & Eamon) like clockwork. Aside from Love/Hate, they’ve failed to provide much in authentic, contemporary or rooted in reality content for audiences to sink their teeth into.

Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope sees the station tackling a subject matter previously foreign to them – women in their twenties. Starring the currently much buzzed about Seana Kerslake (A Date for Mad Mary) and Nika McGuigan (Traders) as young Corkonians sharing a flat in Dublin, it covers a similar territory to Lena Dunham’s Girls but filtered through an Irish culture of heavy boozing, Coppers and phrases like “tis Baltic in ere”.

At its least, the show is funny and entertaining, at its best is painfully authentic. Writer and creator Stefanie Pressner gets the small details about Dublin nightlife completely right e.g. sneaking shoulders of vodka into clubs in fruit shoot bottles or bartering with the drivers of rickshaws. Meanwhile, series director Cathy Brady (E4’s Glue) coats Kerslake and McGuigan’s drunken exploits in warm hues, mimicking the sensation of reminiscing on good nights fondly.

Can't Cope, Won't Cope on RTE -
Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope on RTE. Source

The storylines are engaging. Kerslake’s character’s hard-partying lifestyle causing tension between her and her work colleagues (Amy Huberman as her boss, Shiela Moylette as a co-worker) raises some laughs, particularly in how it portrays the mundanity of working in an office. There is a running gag regarding Moylette’s bouncing on her work-chair which never fails to illicit chuckles. However, the clash of Kerslake’s personal and work life could enable the show to get darker as it continues, as does McGuigan’s Danielle’s struggle to succeed in life post-arts degree.


Kerslake adds to her increasingly impressive resume with another terrific performance. She carries the show on her back, with good support by McGuigan (who has less meaty material but still excels). The Mad Mary star’s comic-timing, her ability to shift from comedy to drama naturally and her Cork accent – all are impeccable.

Watch the first episode of Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope on RTE Player here,


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