The great British sitcom

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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    I did spot a newer Maxi in the background in the boat episode and thought it might have been Terry's, but it seems not. Now he's driving an R-reg ('76-7) Princess, so we've pretty much caught up with the model he drove in early Terry & June.
     
  2. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I recall being totally in love with the red Mini that Ria Parkinson drove during the run of Butterflies. It was quintessentially British--it even had a Union Jack painted on the roof. I wanted one of those so badly (paint job and all), but of course hers was old even when the show was new (1980-ish), so I doubt any of those style are still on the road.
     
  3. Mel O’Drama

    Mel O’Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh yes. That was one cute car. I'd forgotten all about that.


    There's no way any of the old-style Minis would pass any kind of safety expectation today, which was part of the reason they stopped making them, of course - it was also what made them so much fun.

    That said, the exterior shape remained virtually unchanged until they stopped making them less than twenty years ago and they did attempt to include some more luxurious items and a few safety concessions such as airbags on the later ones. They're quite beloved by Brits and I still see a number of "original" Minis on the road - although very few as old as Ria's. Just a few days ago a 1980s Mini drove into the next space to me in the supermarket car park and heads were turned.
     
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  4. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The "new" Minis they marketed over here were not the same at all, of course. They were popular for about fifteen minutes but you rarely see them on the road nowadays--at least down here in Florida. My guess is they fell out of favor because there are so many other sub-compacts on the market right now--and many who have better safety/reliability ratings.

    The way Ria was always drifting off into daydreams, it's a wonder she didn't have a car crash.
     
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  5. Mel O’Drama

    Mel O’Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That's interesting to know. They're still very popular in the UK. As a city dweller it's a rare journey where I don't spot several. I've owned them myself and loved every minute.

    But yes, it's a very different animal to Ria's little runabout. "Classic" Mini owners supposedly find the idea of a BMW-engineered version appalling, particularly as the new version has grown bigger with each version over the last seventeen years.

    :D Yes indeed. I know exactly how she feels.
     
  6. Mrs Emelee Newman

    Mrs Emelee Newman Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Recently saw 2 episodes of Friday Night Dinner. I liked it, so I bought the series 1-3 dvd box.
    Show is about a jewish family with 2 grown sons that comes home for a family dinner every Friday night. Each episode is a new Friday evening.
     
  7. Walford Boy

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    Loving the set of 6 sitcomes by Victoria Wood entitled 'Mens Sana in Thingummy Doodah'

    "Don't run the hot tap and the bidet at the same time, or you'll scorch your nancy..." :tv1:
     
  8. Mel O’Drama

    Mel O’Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I've finished the penultimate series of Happy Ever After. One to go.

    The second Christmas special got meta when Terry - having a bad day - asked June what was on television. Looking down at her Radio Times she announced "Happy Ever After" which Terry was less than impressed with. It's one of those "did I hear that correctly?" moments - a little amusing but also quite jarring. But I suppose they can get away with being a little sillier during panto season.

    The last two episodes of Series Four were both based on misunderstandings and were better for it.

    The first had Terry fearing they were in a rut and asking June to be more bold, at which June decided to pretend to have an affair with her friend's husband and set up a situation for Terry to walk into. This somewhat echoed the episode of Series Three where they had a trial separation for similar reasons and dated other people. Both cases are a way of the show eating it's cake and having it. We get to see some extramarital activity without losing the wholesome charm because it's not quite real. The Series Four episode made more sense to me than Series Three's separation which I didn't really buy as it felt too sudden, too drastic and too contrived. But I did believe that a couple married for twenty five years may want to try to inject a little spice into things and June's "I'll show him" mentality made sense.

    Naturally, June set up the situation not knowing that Terry was bringing his companies' director home with him, and so they walked straight into a farce with Terry and June's one of Terry and June's friends hiding behind the curtains sans trousers and another friend (the wife of trouserless man) barging in to accuse June of being a scarlet woman (having jokingly arranged this with June beforehand). The discomfort levels bubbled away nicely and built to boiling point at the episode's end. It all felt very familiar and I'm not sure if it's from seeing this episode years ago or from seeing this situation play out umpteen times in other sitcoms (including, perhaps, Terry & June).

    The final episode of Series Four had Lucy discovering a letter Terry had written for June (using a term of endearment rather than her name) and assuming Terry was having an affair with a neighbour. Yet another case of including the risqué elements of an affair without compromising the main relationship. Terry's seedy side is helpful as a catalyst - he genuinely is sniffing round the neighbour in question because he's attracted to her, but it seems he balks at the idea that they could really be having an affair. Again, this scenario was very familiar having recently re-watched the pair's follow-on series Terry & June. That series had a very similar storyline in the third series where June discovered Terry in a compromising position with an attractive neighbour.
     
  9. Mel O’Drama

    Mel O’Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Last night I polished off the remains of Happy Ever After.

    Aunt Lucy only appeared in half of the Series Five episodes. I wonder why? Much as I've grown to like her, the show worked fine without her so I can understand why there was no similar character when they made Terry & June. That said, I really did love Terry's disdain for the unwelcome house guest and his snide comments towards and about her.

    Some familiar faces in Series Five included a couple of Carry On-ers: namely Dilys Laye and Valerie Leon. Two Malcolms from Terry & June appeared. There was also a return HEA appearance for Patsy Smart who would go on to a recurring T&J role in the later episodes.

    Another elaborate dream sequence arrived at the beginning of the final series. This time Terry, on a health farm, dreamt about the place in the style of The Great Escape, complete with the arrival of Aunt Lucy as a high ranking member of the SS, taunting Terry with her flagon of sherry. A wonderful moment for Beryl Cooke who seems to be channelling Marlene Dietrich.

    There was another am dram episode. Their production of The King & I with Terry's leg in a cast gave Scott and Whitfield the chance to show off their physical comedy prowess in a carefully choreographed routine that saw June lose her skirt and Terry caught up in her underskirt hoop thingy. The song and dance starts 25 minutes in:




    The last episode of the series proper brought yet another mid-life crisis for Terry who changed the way he dressed and lusted after Sabina Franklyn (another face that would return in the spin-off show for a very similar scenario). The episode ended with a little white lie from June to Terry, which kept things from getting too safe and cosy.

    I'm curious why The Go Between was shown as a one-off episode in April 1979 - six months after the final series ended and six months before Terry & June began. It's a decent enough episode, but it doesn't feel like a special. Was it filmed as part of the Fifth Series? Or perhaps an episode of a Sixth Series? Was it meant to have been a Christmas special?

    It's my understanding that the writers felt they'd exhausted ideas for the series which is why it ended. The BBC, of course, had other ideas and brought the Fletchers back as the Medfords for the follow-up series, Terry & June (making just enough tweaks to the show to prevent the Happy Ever After writers from having a legal claim).

    For anyone wondering, neither the last episode of Series Five nor The Go Between acknowledge the end of the series in any kind of way. But that's fine. There's not a great deal of continuity to work with here, and it's only proper that the Fletchers should continue with business as usual.
     
  10. Mel O’Drama

    Mel O’Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    My next Britcom Boxset is...


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    Having watched the series when it first aired I've somehow never been able to shake the mindset of Keeping Up Appearances being new and shiny. It's quite horrifying to realise that it is almost twenty seven years since I watched that first episode.

    Yet at the same time it's strange to think there was a time before Hyacinth. Even when it was brand new, it somehow never really felt so. It felt instantly comfortable and right.

    Watching it as a teenager, I never quite knew if I was supposed to like it or not. It never seemed trendy or cutting edge. It was written by the Last Of The Summer Wine guy. The cast were all three or four times older than me. Nothing really happened in it. And even on the first viewing I pretty much knew what the next line was going to be.

    Which are, of course, exactly the reasons it works so well. It never stopped being relevant because it hadn't attempted to be particularly relevant in the first place.

    As far as it being slow and uneventful: I now understand that to be character driven rather than event driven. It doesn't matter what Daddy's particular inappropriate behaviour is on any particular week. Nor who Rose's beau is. Or even Hyacinth's latest social endeavour. What matters is seeing each of the characters respond to each other.

    It's a given that in each episode certain notes will be hit. Elizabeth will be requested to take tea with Hyacinth. Hyacinth will face the window and mourn the loss of another Royal Doulton with the hand-painted periwinkles. Hyacinth will get a phone call on her white slimline telephone be it from Sheridan, Violet or someone wanting to order a number 44. Richard will be warned about perceived dangers whilst chauffeuring his wife round in their blue Rover. A crisis will necessitate a visit to Hyacinth's childhood home on the council estate where she'll have to navigate the cluttered front path and will be frightened by the dog. It's the reason why the series is no less funny several rewatches along.

    With this series it's all about the anticipation. Watching the first three episodes yesterday I found myself grinning whenever Hyacinth would arrive at the council house. Maybe the gate will fall off and Richard will be told to leave it. Maybe the dog will bark and cause Hyacinth to fall into the already messy hedge. Maybe one of Rose's lover's wives will arrive. Maybe Onslow will shout from the window. Just knowing that any of these things could happen is funny enough. The variation is less important but guaranteed to make me laugh harder than it would if I hadn't been on the lookout.

    The abundance of location filming is greatly appreciated. Looking at the series on paper it's entirely feasible that a decision could have been taken to film it almost entirely in a studio. And it would still have worked well. But the added trouble and expense of exterior shots bring a reality to these sometimes wacky characters. Would a set-bound Hyacinth have just been too much, I wonder? Either way, the location work adds a touch of class of which I'm sure Hyacinth would approve.


    As someone who enjoys seeing these cars that are now vanishing from British roads, I must give some love to Richard's Rover 200 SD3. It seems the perfect choice for them. I can imagine Hyacinth being attracted to the badge with its touch of class and rich British history, while Richard would be attracted to the economy and Honda reliability, playing down those aspects to his wife. Hyacinth would no doubt be horrified to learn that it's a re-badged Japanese car, which adds to the amusement.



    It's also worth noting that the SD3 was phased out around the time the series began, replaced by a hatchback model based on a different Honda. Even though it's a car of the Eighties, something about this the clean lines and traditional three box saloon design feels quite timeless. It's dated well, even if it's very difficult to see one without thinking of the Buckets.



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  11. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm not sure if you realize this or not, but KUA is likely the Britcom most Americans would recognize at this point. As I travel, this series (more than any Britcom) is airing on PBS stations all over the Southeast. Every US state's PBS chooses its own program slate for the most part, and almost all of them have it airing in reruns at some time during the week. I'm not sure if it's because there aren't a lot of other Britcoms available in syndication or because KUA is just that popular. As Time Goes By would be the only one that even comes close (and I think that's more because Dame Judi's in it), and it seems a lot of stations pair KUA with Are You Being Served? (which, I'm guessing, would be the cheap option/purchase after all this time).

    That said, the show is a lot of fun, once you get past the idea that no one is willing to call Hyacinth on her s---. Most people I've met who watched the show always comment on that: why doesn't ___ (fill in the character) just put her in her place and tell her to take a seat? I tactfully point out that it's the difference between us and the Brits--the Brits are just too well-mannered to smack Hyacinth in the mouth and make her gaudy hat go flying. This is one Britcom that would NEVER work as an American adaptation because we as a culture would feel compelled to stick a proverbial pin in Hyacinth's balloon and ruin the week's plotlines within five minutes. An American audience would demand Richard divorce Hyacinth immediately due to her physical and emotional abuse of the man, and demand he take up with that nice Elizabeth next door.
     
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  12. Mel O’Drama

    Mel O’Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Series One has ended and I've moved onto the second.

    The first episode of the second series is a great example of very little happening being compelling viewing. It's simply all about Hyacinth's feeling she has a right to know what is happening at her neighbour's house. Never mind that Richard needs to get to work in order for them to live comfortably. Or even that Richard simply isn't interested in why there's a strange man at Elizabeth's. Because Hyacinth cannot stand being ill-informed he gets drawn into this daft routine. This awareness that the clock is ticking added a nice tension to the wire on which Routledge did her frenetic dance. And this is the broadest we've seen her so far in the series. Gone are the subtleties. Hyacinth sings operatically in people's faces; gurns for all she's worth; gesticulates as though directing aircraft and goes way OTT demonstrating how Richard can to convince the neighbours he's forgotten something.

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    It's quite different to the energy she had in the first series. One can easily imagine that Routledge has drawn energy from seeing the success of the previous year's episodes and knowing that she is leading a phenomenon. Whether that would be a good thing or not is subjective, of course (I think not), but it feels that the ante has been upped a little here.

    The two new additions to the main cast work very well:

    Clive Griffin as Emmet feels as though he's been here the whole time. His introduction to Hyacinth brought the added element of seeing an objective, uninitiated newcomer thrust into Hyacinth's mad world. The character seems to have been introduced to serve a function: with Elizabeth living alone and it already established that she comes to Hyacinth on cue rather than the other way round, there's now a reason to see inside Elizabeth's home. Elizabeth and Emmet can now act - up to a point - as a kind of Greek chorus - two sane people occasionally commenting on the antics next door. And Emmet being a musician taps into Hyacinth's certainty that she is destined for greatness in this area. One could argue that we don't need to see inside Elizabeth's house; that Hyacinth's behaviour doesn't need to be commented on - the reactions of others are enough; that Elizabeth and Richard's occasional connection is its own Greek chorus; and that Hyacinth's musical ambition isn't as important as her social ambition (this point I'd disagree with most strongly. One is part and parcel of the other). So the series could have worked without him. In many ways it may have worked even better without the character. But the fact is that Griffin's chemistry with the cast is good and since it was decided that we have an Emmet, we have the right man for the job.

    Mary Millar has also made her debut. Her Rose has a very different energy to Shirley Stelfox's portrayal. Stelfox just looked completely right in the role. It's to her credit that in spite of her Brookside stint as conwoman Madge being at the front of my mind when I first watched KUA, I completely believed her Rose as someone who'd spent her entire adult life smoking and shagging. There was no doubt in my mind that she was streetwise and her lined face could tell a few tales. There was also a hardness to Stelfox's Rose. She's not someone whose bad side I would want to be on. Millar's interpretation is more flighty, ditzy and a little more cartoony. But she's very likeable and works well with her onscreen family. In spite of the different approach, I didn't find her first appearance to be jarring. When she walked into Onslow and Daisy's bedroom there was no doubt that she was Rose.



    Until I read this on Wikipedia I had no idea it was quite so popular:

    I'd love to know what the appeal of the show is to an American audience for it to make such a big splash. Not too drastically different to the reasons for it being popular here, I suppose. But I wonder if the appeal has added elements.


    Gosh, that rather surprised me too, until I read the bracketed part and realised why.


    Yes. I think it's changing and (many) Brits are becoming more assertive, but there are still many Hyacinths who get away with murder because people are polite to them.

    Incidentally, are you familiar with Routledge's earlier character of Kitty who has some Bucketisms of her own:



    Victoria Wood - the very talented comedienne who created and wrote Kitty - has a very specific style of humour. It's very British, mentioning lots of brand names, TV shows and colloquial words. More specifically, the style is very Northern English - very direct and no-nonsense. It's occurred to me that Roy Clarke and most of the KUA cast also have that in common.
     
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  13. Mel O’Drama

    Mel O’Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    My watch of Series Two ended last night.

    Like so many men before me I've had an on/off relationship with the new Rose. Frequently I keep finding myself imagining how Shirley Stelfox would say the words. Millar has struck a nice balance: mostly this Rose is very much hers - quirkier and more likeable - but every once in a while she'll deliver a line that's uncannily like I imagine Stelfox would have.

    The gentle continuity has been quite good. Hyacinth's old three piece suite showed up in Daisy's house in the episode that followed them collecting it and dialogue clearly establishes at what stage we are with Rose's sexual harassment of Emmet.



    I'm loving this aspect of the series so much. A conversation continuing whilst the phone rings and I'm willing someone to answer it; people inside the house having a conversation about who is at the door while all the time I'm conscious that someone is standing out in the cold; Hyacinth happily talking at length with Sheridan on the phone even though her new furniture could arrive at any second and she needs (ok - wants) to phone her neighbour's house to draw them to the window; and then there are other phone calls where she listens and then without telling the other party she clutches the phone to her chest in order to relay the conversation to someone in her house.





    Today I came across this and though of you, Daniel.

     
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  14. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    "I want to meet Sheridan. I'm sure he has issues."

    From the one-sided phone conversations, I'd say that guy's got whole subscriptions. Entire volumes."
     
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  15. Mel O’Drama

    Mel O’Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    As Series Three began I thought I'd spotted a blunder when Daisy's old brown sofa reappeared. It was saved by some throwaway dialogue from Daisy, who commented that she'd had a nice sofa from Hyacinth until someone made Onslow an offer; to which Onslow replied that the sofa was too firm "It was like sitting on your Hyacinth".

    I do wonder about the artistic reason behind the retrogression. A number of reasons spring to mind: perhaps casual viewers wouldn't understand why this sofa with Hyacinth's signature florals was in Daisy's home. Or maybe the props people lost track when refurnishing the sets for the new series. I'm running with perhaps the simplest explanation: the brown sofa just feels more Daisy and Onslow-ish.

    I must confess that I'm rather fond of that brown sofa. Like a number of other items in that house, it's practically back in fashion for those with more vintage tastes. The plush Marl fabric, mid-century design and wood accents look very much like the "G-Plan Vintage" range (I imagine it could well be an old G-Plan). I'd take it over Hyacinth's chintzy florals any day.

    There's been some redressing too over at the Bucket residence, where Hyacinth's door inserts are now even poppier (the hallway doors now have red accents instead of the previous mauve. Offset by cream of course). The kitchen has new cabinets and tiles and the bathroom set has made its debut.
     
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  16. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Regarding Hyacinth's "cast-off couch," another possible explanation is that it ended up in a large, prop storage facility used by numerous other productions. Another show could have taken it and placed it in one of their sets, making it unavailable at the time KUA did another series of shows.

    Back in the glory days of US daytime soaps, the networks used to utilize one or two large storage facilities in New York City, and it was inevitable that set pieces would end up doing "crossovers". A bookcase that was seen in a home on General Hospital for a year or two would later be spotted in an apartment on One Life To Live, or a unique staircase in a mansion on The Edge of Night could end up in a hotel set later on As The World Turns--that sort of thing. It became a sort of online game for eagle-eyed viewers, pointing out the recycled props and set pieces. Hyacinth's floral couch might very well show up in another of your Britcoms with different people sitting on it (I'm picturing it fitting in quite well in the Bayview Retirement Home on Waiting for God, for instance).
     
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  17. Mel O’Drama

    Mel O’Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Great point.


    Oh yes - it was rather Bayview, wasn't it?

    Off the back of your comment it occurred to me that it would also have fitted into the Meldrews' living room in One Foot In The Grave. And...

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    I don't beliiiiiieve it. :eek:




    The Meldrews' other suite, too, is quite Hyacinth. It might even be her other one:

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Mel O’Drama

    Mel O’Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Last night I finished the series proper of Keeping Up Appearances, although the wrong placement of episodes in my box set means that I still have the '93 and '94 Christmas specials to watch in addition to the '95 special (I knew the chronology had gone wrong somewhere when Hyacinth mentioned having sailed on the QE2 without me having seen that episode).

    I'd say the quality of the episodes has been consistently high, with every episode containing several moments that feel like "comedy classics". I've enjoyed little variations on running gags, such as the "barking dog in the car" gag. One of these variations had the dog barking at Hyacinth from Onslow's Cortina at the church car park; another had a tipsy Hyacinth attempting to play the dog at its own game by poking her head into Onslow's old front lawn Avenger and barking, only to be surprised by an old lady inside the car barking back.

    That said, I do feel that things were slightly weakened in the latter episodes by having too many characters in collusion. In the early episodes, Emmet might bemoan her singing to Elizabeth in the privacy of their living room. The Vicar and his wife might talk in hushed whispers about "the Bucket woman" behind closed doors. Onslow may talk to Daisy about wanting to rescue Richard as they lay in bed. But in public there was censorship. Everyone was too polite - too British - to say the words out loud, which explained how Hyacinth got away with her behaviour. In keeping with the series' themes, it's all about etiquette, social politeness and British stoicism.

    Seeing Richard trapped in that world with no lifeline filled me with sympathy for him. In early episodes, there were scenes between Richard and Elizabeth where it was felt they were sympathising with each other, but it was all unspoken and vague which is exactly what would happen with stiff upper lip British WASPs. But in the last couple of series there were some scenes where everyone but Hyacinth - Richard, Elizabeth, Emmet, the Vicar and his wife and Onslow - had all shared with each other their disdain about her domineering ways. This brought with it an element of support that diluted the awkwardness and made it less funny. Their overt empathy with each other somehow diminished the empathy I felt for them as a viewer. The sheer numbers of people making little comments under their breath so that others could hear or exchanging sardonic looks behind Hyacinth's back at times had the opposite effect, making them seem quite unpleasant and shaming and giving me sympathy for Hyacinth. Maybe that was the idea.

    Series Five had a scene where Richard did the previously unthinkable and raised his voice at Hyacinth. In public. With Elizabeth present. I suppose that had to happen but once the series has dipped its toe into this territory it's hard to backtrack, so it's only right that it should happen towards the end.

    The other changes towards the end were Daddy talking and Violet appearing on screen. Personally I'd have preferred Daddy to remain silent for the entire run (though I do feel a little happy for the actor playing him that he got a bit more to do). Violet worked really well, though. She was well cast and the scenes in which she appeared all worked well. I liked the "mystery" element early on, but I felt I was ready to see her. Again, I'm glad they held off on this for as long as they did.
     
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  19. Mel O’Drama

    Mel O’Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Having finished Keeping Up Appearances a couple of nights ago, my next choice Britcom could not be further removed from Hyacinth's world...


    [​IMG]

    My main motive in watching The Young Ones is for location spotting as I'm very familiar with the places used for exterior filming. Not that there is anything like as much location work as Keeping Up Appearances, but the first three episodes haven't been without it.

    I've watched some of the series before, but I couldn't say how much. Perhaps all of it, perhaps two episodes.

    If memory serves the first episode I watched was a repeat of the final one. I was aged twelve and attached myself to the rebellious nature of the show, but I think it was a few years before I saw any more. I have a memory of recording and re-watching scenes from the University Challenge episode (quite possibly from a compilation show).

    Anyway, I was expecting it to be quite bad and it's safe to say I haven't been disappointed. It's not unwatchable though, and as someone with very little stomach for on-screen bodily waste (especially anything from the nose and throat) I'm glad to say that so far it's nowhere near as offensive as I was expecting it to be in that regard. It is feeling like a bit of a chore though. Something that if I get through I can say I've done it and that's about it. I paid 99p for this, new and sealed, in a bargain bin pricing error, so at least I don't have a lot at stake here.

    As one of the earliest mainstream examples of alternative comedy it's easy to imagine this would have stunned audiences back in 1982. Alternative comedy itself seems to be partially built around the audience's insecurity. If you don't get it, or just find it unfunny it's because you're uncool, unintelligent or have no sense of humour. Or perhaps you're too old or too straight (I'm sure this would be one of the best shows to watch whilst stoned. Or perhaps the most terrifying). At least that's the mindset I had as a new teenager who felt it was worth the effort spent trying to get this stuff that seemed frankly a bit daft.

    Watching it now it's good to see the layers: Rick in particular seems to embody at least part of the series' intended audience while the Nozin' Around show within a show (hosted by a young, rather good looking Ben Elton) served to express dissatisfaction at mainstream TV's patronising attempts up to that point (and indeed since) to connect to a trendier audience.

    Some of it still seems daft, but then it depends on how fond one is of the different styles. I frequently struggle with surrealism and there's plenty of that here. Are the talking rats and vegetables genius or just stupid? It's for the viewer to decide (I'm leaning towards the latter but keeping an open mind). A bit of research has shown the series has more subtleties than first appears. I haven't spotted the fifth housemate yet, but I think that's because I haven't been paying close enough attention. Watch this space.

    Three episodes down. Nine to go.
     
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  20. Mel O’Drama

    Mel O’Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Coming back for a second series after an eighteen month break is quite risky. It's almost inevitable that the cast and crew's awareness of the series' success will reflect in the energy of the show in some way and it's possible this can make or break a show - particularly a cult series whose raison d'être is to be alternative rather than mainstream.

    There has been a seismic shift in quality right from the opening scene of Series Two: the tone was noticeably - and immediately - improved. The noticeable changes are all for the better - the new title sequence, even the more memorable episode title style that flashes up over the first scene (which have proven a stark reminder just how much of The Young Ones was borrowed when Girls On Top arrived on the scene the following year). Suddenly The Young Ones feels like less of a chore. And I've found myself laughing.

    It helps that they led with strength. Bambi is the first episode that springs to my mind when I think of this series (turns out I have seen the entire episode. It all came back to me as I watched) and I'm now wondering if they can top this episode. It seems to encapsulate everything this series is about.

    With the second series, The Young Ones does feel a little more mainstream. At least to me. But you won't hear me complain about that.
     
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