The great British sitcom: The Bounder

Discussion in 'TV Central' started by Mel O'Drama, Sep 17, 2016.

  1. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for that Daniel. It's good to get a picture of how these things work. I remember having a discussion around the ongoing appeal of Mrs Slocombe, Hyacinth and Dame Judi previously.

    I'm curious about which Australian series were shown at the time. Were they their soaps, like Neighbours, or something else?
     
  2. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I remember The Paul Hogan Show, which they ran two times (maybe three) and another sketch show I sampled but did not continue to watch (too many "in-jokes" that were probably only funny to Aussies). Hogan ran prior to his movie career making him a celebrity here, so I was surprised they didn't try to run it again. Probably became much too expensive to buy after that.

    PBS was not keen on running soaps...I guess they wanted to keep some of their 'high-brow' image. It was well into the 2000s before one or two PBS stations started airing EastEnders, and even then it was sporadic and in late-night slots. I don't think they'll ever jump into that area with much enthusiasm.

    Probably the most unique Australian import I saw in that time period aired not on PBS but on WGN Superstation (a cable channel) in the late 1980s/early 1990s. It was an Australian teen soap opera called Paradise Beach that was so awful that I couldn't help but watch--in much the same way you can't help but look at the aftermath of car accidents as you drive by. :fp: A very young Ingo Rademacher was on it (eye candy then and now) and Olivia Newton-John's ex-husband Matt Lattanzi...the very sort of 'teen soap' that promotes tooth decay and doesn't do much for your brain, either. It made Saved By The Bell look like Shakespeare.:D
     
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  3. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Ah yes. I remember reading that the powers that be have found it very difficult to launch British soaps like EastEnders and Coronation Street in the States during the Eighties and Nineties with any degree of success, partly because of the extensive histories and also because of the regional dialects and accents (I swear at one point I read that subtitles were being considered for one of them). But also because the overall style of production and presentation was very different to what Americans were used to.


    Oh dear. I have vague memories of this being launched here in the early to mid Nineties and being extremely badly received. Even as someone who thoroughly enjoyed Australian soaps of the Eighties, I just knew it was bad. I admire your bravery in taking a peek, Daniel.
     
  4. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Bravery, hell! Like I said, it was my introduction to the ample charms of Ingo Rademacher. But yes, it was quite...dire.
    I'd pin it on that, mostly. We were raised on the soap production process where there is a three-sided set with excessive lighting and scenes filmed by three or four cameras simultaneously...very little exterior work, but attempts at creating "the outside" in studio. But most of all, we're spoiled by having soap actors look impeccable, with nary a hair out of place and always dressed to the nines. British soaps have people look too 'real' and the sets are not lavishly detailed (unless the plot calls for it). I've heard people claim they didn't like the realism because they want the soaps to be visual fantasy as much as anything else. Guiding Light attempted that style of production in its final years and the fans whined and complained for years before the show ended up cancelled.
     
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  5. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    To an outside eye, the low-budget technical aspect on one hand and the excessive glamour on the other combine to give daytime soaps an air of porn, but it's the preambley bit before they start getting down to business stretched out ad infinitum. (That's not necessarily a criticism, by the way.)
     
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  6. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The Bounder came to an uneventful end last night.

    The Second Series, sans Rosalind Ayres, was perfectly fine. You would think the dynamics would feel a little off-kilter with the main link between the two men - one's wife, the other's sister - absent. But no.

    It was established at the beginning that Howard and Trevor were also old friends. I'm not even clear on who knew whom first. Did Howard meet Mary through his friend Trevor? Or did Howard establish a friendship with his girlfriend's brother to the point that the brother ended up being best man at the wedding? Or did they all grow up together?

    Nor do I know why Ayres didn't do the second series. It's immaterial, really, since things worked with Mary as an absent party. Indeed, the Series Two premise could easily have been used as the premise for the entire series by design. I enjoyed that it added a further threat to Howard's pursuit of Laura, with Trevor now an effective (if not eligible) bachelor. And without Mary as a buffer, there's a more blatant Odd Couple vibe to scenes between Howard and Trevor.

    The usual sitcom boxes were ticked in the situations (computer dating; mistaken identity during a spate of burglaries; new dog causes trouble, etc.). It's mostly meaningless, but also charmingly done and very watchable. I particularly appreciated the play-like feel, with people nipping between sets, entering via French doors. Faces like Frances de la Tour gave the series permission to have fun with the staginess, and there's a knowing two-dimensionality to it that feels right. It's there to be enjoyed and if one can see the guest stars having fun it helps that rapport.

    Greasy was recast for his second appearance. Which is a shame as it was great to see Ken Jones as a link to The Wackers.

    There was a little continuity. Importantly, the key plot of Mary having left Trevor appeared to be on the way to a resolution in the last couple of scenes. And while Howard and Laura weren't about to head down the aisle, there was a kind of understanding there.

    With The Bounder, most of the things that happen are inconsequential once the end credits roll. But the series itself isn't. It made an impression on me when it first aired and it's done so again this time round.
     
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