Monday, January 28, 2008

Some Quirky; Some Domestic

  • One Foot In The Grave has to be considered among the great classic comedies. Victor  Meldrew (played by Richard Wilson, in the role of his career) is one of those hapless individuals who seem to be unable to avoid catastrophe. He's involuntarily retired and is aware of and annoyed by all the little injustices of everyday life. He might be considered the early incarnation of Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm (though Victor tends to be less devious than Larry)
  • Only Fools And Horses  is another classic. David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst are brothers who work the flea-markets and are always looking to bend the rules, however slightly, to gain an 'edge'
  • Outside Edge is in the format of a domestic-sitcom but stretches way beyond it. It chronicles the misadventures (typically, hilarious) of an amateur cricket team
  • Prospects  is an unfairly little-known drama/comedy, starring Gary Olson (of 2Point4 Children). He and his buddy are always on the lookout for a way to make a buck (pound), but their seeming prospects  are usually a disaster
  • Roger Roger  is another of those unfairly overlooked shows which deserve a wider audience and greater appreciation. Follows the exploits of the owner and drivers of a small mini-cab company
  • Root Into Europe follows Root and his wife on a tour of Europe. He's of the belief that everyone not British is unavoidably backwards, and he shows no hesitancy in expressing his opinions to anyone and everyone. Seemingly paradoxical, it's both caustic and sweet
  • Royle Family  is almost the anti-domestic domestic sitcom. It is heavily dependent on the brilliant writing, as it focuses on the interactions of the Royles as they sit around their living room in front of the television. A modern classic
  • Shelley is an unusual program in that its main character, James Shelley, is a University graduate layabout who interacts with all variety of individuals, expressing his never-ending philosophies and opinions. Brilliantly written, it is more likely to elicit a rush of chuckles and smiles rather than belly-laughs
  • Shine On Harvey Moon follows the life of Harvey Moon, who has demobbed from the armed services, returning to his family. His wife has left him, though they continue to see each other. He is devoted to his son and daughter, lives with his mother. More a comedy/drama than a sitcom. Addictive. Don't say I didn't warn you
  • The Smoking Room is, as the title implies set solely in the 'smoking room' of a large company. The employees meet and interact act there. Beautifully written and acted, it demands close attention
  • Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em details the misadventures of the ultimate klutz, Frank Spencer. He tries so hard but gets everything wrong, despite being so endearing. He's become a classic figure/name in British folklore. Believe it or not, he's played by Michael Crawford, who originated the role of the Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Weber's Phantom Of The Opera. Difficult to believe it's the same person!
  • Steptoe And Son is another true classic. Follows the lives, adventures, mishaps, and interactions of a father and son 'rag and bone' team
  • Till Death Us Do Part  is another classic. Alf Garnett has become a figure of almost  mythic proportions in British culture. His family loves him but sees him as a pathetic figure...stridently conservative (though working-class) to the point of neanderthal-like views. He's bigoted, intolerant, strident...but, strangely, loveable. If it exists, he's got an opinion, and he's never hesitant to express it, no matter to whom or where
  • Trailer Park Boys  is a Canadian show which has become a cult favorite, to the point where a feature-length movie has been made of the show. Think trailer-trash, think unbelievable situations, think very funny, and you've pinpointed this show. However, be forewarned: a LOT of foul language. Any violence, though, is of the 'comic book' variety, never truly violent. Takes place in a trailer-park in Canada
  • The Visit  is an unusual domestic sitcom in that it takes place solely in the visiting room of a prison. Follows the interactions of a select group of inmates and their families and a group of guards who clearly would rather be working elsewhere. Very clever writing...very funny
  • Watching  revolves around two sisters, their families, friends and the 'watching' they do at a local pub, speculating about the lives of the people they don't know
  • You Rang M'Lord  a sort of parody of Upstairs, Downstairs, focuses on the life of a Lord, his family and his idiosyncratic servants (who not only run the household but, actually, manipulate their employers

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