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con-pilot
25th Apr 2002, 22:24
How many people here really, really, really, really miss Fawlty Towers.

Boy I do, my wife got me the complete series on VCR tapes. I watch them all the time.

During times like this we really need Basil back.

:D :D :D

Hugh Jarse
26th Apr 2002, 01:27
Yeah. Bring it back! A classic show if ever there was one :D
--------------------------
Is not a rat. Is a filigree Siberian Hamster

somewhatconcerned
26th Apr 2002, 01:38
All I have to say is 'Flowery Twats'!!!

GrandPrix
26th Apr 2002, 01:46
Best Brit-Com I've ever seen.
Besides, Polly had a nice rack.

Slasher
26th Apr 2002, 03:58
Yeh bring back Basil!

Who can forget

* "Ah...biscuits? Or wou...wou...would you care for a rat?"

* "Ducks off. Sorry!"

* "Well he wouldnt fit in the safe and all the draws were full!"

* "Oh please dont smile....."

* "Oh thats spiffing! Absolutley spiffing! 2 down, 15 to go!"

* "This is typical. Absolutley typical. The kind [email protected] I have to put up from you people! You poonce in here expecting to be waited on hand and foot while Im trying to run a hotel here!"

* "Fussy is he? Poodle?"

* "Dont mention the war!"

* "My Fawlty, Kurt is drunk! "I see......... AAAARRRGGGGGHHHH! Sorry......sorry!"

Tartan Gannet
26th Apr 2002, 05:31
Yes a total classic!

The episode with the Germans is still fantastic and Basil's assault on the car has passed into British Folklore. One can even buy a model of him with branch in hand hitting the vehicle. Far better than some of the [email protected] American "comedies" we have to endure these days.

DC Meatloaf
26th Apr 2002, 05:45
It's amazing how any post on PPRuNe nowadays is another opportunity to slag all things American. Sheesh.

By the way, I'm a huge fan of Fawlty Towers....

Biggles Flies Undone
26th Apr 2002, 10:17
That was just a tad harsh TG! Agreed that most US comedy does not travel well, although I’m told that Frasier is pretty good (never actually seen it myself) – but then humour can be very ‘nationalised’ in its appeal.

The Americans do some things much better than we do – Hill Street Blues was way ahead of our offerings of the time, ER is very much better (written and acted) than the UK hospital dramas and Band of Brothers was quite simply the best of its genre that I have ever seen on TV.

flapsforty
26th Apr 2002, 10:59
" Is this a piece of your brain?"

"If you do not get here RIGHT now and fix the door I will come and insert a large garden gnome....."

"Are you the orally men?"

"Ever seen my wife make toast?"

On complaints from a guest about the lamb chops being cold:

"Ask your fat wife to sit on them"

"what do you expect to see from a hotel room in Torquay? Krakatao erupting? The hanging gardens of Babylon?"


First time I saw a Fawlty Towers was when I lived in Scotland; it was the Dont mention the war episode. I literally fell of our new pink sofa from laughing so hard.
I reckon I know all of the episodes by heart, that's how often I have seen them. Still watch them when they get a re run, still laugh till tears roll down face.

My husband runs hotels. He is the kindest of people and very sociable but has rather a short fuse. Day to day contact with the guests is best avoided.
At staff parties over the years, the employees of various hotels, enboldened by alcohol, have showed me how he can behave when he thinks guests are less than reasonable in their demands.
Similarities between Mr.Fawlty and my very own Mr40 are many! ;)

And yes, before any of you wits points it out, Sybil Fawlty and I have ceratin traits in common as well :D

yes con-pilot, I miss him too!

M.Mouse
26th Apr 2002, 12:37
Over 25 years old too. I was given the set of 12 episodes (remarkable that so few were made but it did prevent them running out of ideas) by my girlfriend and still find them brilliant.

I don't like much American TV humour but Hill Street Blues, Soap and some of Malcom in the Middle compete with the best. Besides we (Brits) cannot exactly shout when we can produce pap like Gimme, Gimme, Gimme!

WX Man
26th Apr 2002, 12:38
Satisfied customer. We should have him stuffed.

HugMonster
26th Apr 2002, 12:43
The reason many Brits get such a janduced view of American TV Comedy is that low-cost shows are bought by Brit TV companies on the cheap just a schedule-fillers.

Yes, we also get some good ones. Cheers, Frasier, Friends and Ally McBeal come to mind here. (Whatever happened to Grace Under Fire?)

But we get some awful dross as well. Many times the dross comes as part of a package. You can't buy the good stuff unless you take another show, of rather lower quality, as well.

Brits can console themselves that we don't get nearly as much low-quality American TV Comedy as the Americans (poor souls) are fed!

As has been pointed out, there has been some really excellent British TV Comedy. Dad's Army, Fawlty Towers, The Good Life, Yes (Prime) Minister to name but a few. But, as has also been pointed out, there are some really dire shows made in Britain as well...

Nopax,thanx
26th Apr 2002, 13:41
Timeless stuff it is too.......I'm fortunate to be of the age to have seen them first time around, and then taped them during one of the repeat series - my kids (now 16 and 20, then probably about 10 and 14) absolutely loved it, and it turned them onto Python too!

In fact, my youngest, who has a religious side to her, even taped 'Life of Brian' and watches it repeatedly! She also loves Rocky Horror, but that's another story.....:rolleyes:

You want it when?
26th Apr 2002, 13:46
Hate to cross thread slightly but whenever I'm lurched into a discussion with MS - the old favorite line comes to mind

"Please try to understand, before one of us dies"

I've used this at work as wel, didn't go down to well at the last management meeting but, hey ho.

JetAgeHobo
27th Apr 2002, 15:12
That you Brits don't think much of our American comedy is that most of it is ripped off from your better shows. Not counting "Weakest Link" which I can now watch in Cantonese even, I can just off the top of my head think of.

Sanford and Son - Steptoe and Son
All in the Family - Don't know the UK version
Men Behaving Badly
And last year there was a poor rip-off of Fawlty Towers, pretty bad.

Not even a complete list, I'm sure there's more. Anyone think of any others?

Slasher
27th Apr 2002, 15:27
JAH the "All in the Family" equivalent was "Till Death Us Do Part" with Alf Garnett.

Skytrucker87
27th Apr 2002, 15:44
Both John Cleese and Connie Booth (co-writers of Fawlty Towers)
apparently found their funniest character to be the major.

I still dissolve into helpless laughter thinking about the Psychiatrist episode. And 'Don't mention the war'. Oh, and the goose step. I practised that for months and still cant do it!

Someone here in the aviation wonderland at STN just said that Connie Booth is American. Anyone care to confirm or deny?

APOLLO
27th Apr 2002, 16:34
It's so great i had to go and buy the complete series on DVD along with the Complete Blackadder! Sensational stuff. Reminds me must go and get Monty Python's Life of Brian!

Loki
27th Apr 2002, 19:38
Jet Age Hobo:

Well, one could name "Last of The Summer Wine" but that might start a whole new thread.

How about "Waiting for God" or "One Foot in the Grave"?

THE PIPELINE
27th Apr 2002, 21:52
Personally I like Black Books, quite good when you get into it.


Faulty Towers always had me in stitches, Manuel Saying to the Major (through a mooses head) "I caaaan Spik EEngleesh, Learn eeet from a Book"

gravity victim
27th Apr 2002, 22:12
Irate hotel guest, at counter:

"This is the most awful, , badly-run, miserable goddammed hotel I have ever had the misfortune to stay in" etc etc

The Major (passing through lobby) "No! No! I won't have that!
There's a place in Eastbourne...."

Absolutely classic. 'The Major' was Ballard Berkeley, a terrific comic creation and a great character actor. RIP.

foghorn
27th Apr 2002, 22:33
I have a feeling that Connie Booth was born in the US but lived most of her life in the UK.

John Cleese is currently married to an American and lives mostly over there, as does Eric Idle.

NO CARRIER
28th Apr 2002, 01:17
Here in the US our local public television station has a British comedy night. I can tell from fashions, etc. that most of them are from years gone by. The shows that run are "Are You Being Served?", "Keeping Up Appearances", "As Time Goes By", and "The Vicar of Dibley" (which I find to be hilarious!). At times "Absoutely Fabulous" has run, as well as "Blackadder". And even "Benny Hill" (what's up with that?).

WX Man
28th Apr 2002, 17:40
And The Fast Show....http://www.geocities.com/Athens/2694/rowleybi.jpg

Granted, Black Books was fantastic. Likewise Coupling, on Beeb 2. Did you see Black Books's pilot? With the Little Book of Calm, Bill Bailey and a white bedsheet?!!! I don't think I've laughed so much ever, ever ever! (or at least since I saw Jack Dee live in Oxford once).

dv8
28th Apr 2002, 19:29
Sybil on the phone to one of her cronies
Oooohhh I know
Oooohhh I know
Oooohhh I know
Has me in stitches

BEXIL160
28th Apr 2002, 20:04
errr... I think you mean Prunella Scales (Sybil...or Syb-ILL, in one episode:) )

Whenever I look at an ADI I am reminded of dear old Basil Fawlty. Remember the episode with Mrs. Richards where he says:

You CAN see the sea. It's over there between the land and the sky!

:D :D :D

BEX

OneWorld22
28th Apr 2002, 22:49
The american networks have given us some classic comedies, Cheers was brilliant and there was also Seinfeld, Soap! Newhart etc. But I admit nothing has had me in tears like Blackadder, Fawlty Towers, Yes Minister and so on. I also love the Vicar of Dibley. I even loved the some episodes of the young ones, anyone see the one when they did University Challenge?

What's the common thread here? the BBC of course, they've always been willing to take risks on new ideas, not bad for a percieved stuffy old institution!

Hugh Jarse
29th Apr 2002, 11:50
OW22, wasn't Lord Snot (University Challenge) played by Stephen Fry of Blackadder fame?

Ahh, The Young Ones......:D

I can remember "Flood": Vyvyan holds up a beaker dripping saliva from the sides "It's only spitting..."

A few scenes later he holds up another beaker with decidedly yellow looking contents "It's p!ssing down now......."

Neil plugging in the kettle which explodes. "Oh no, it's killed itself...."

Don't forget Bottom, Filthy Rich and Catflap, or The New Statesman (?) Starred Rik Mayall (spelt with a silent 'p') :D

American comedy? Too cerebral. Boring.

Diesel8
29th Apr 2002, 18:01
I must say, I found "Are you being served" to be quite hilarious.

A fish Called Wanda was a good one. Remember one with John Cleese called "time" or something similar, he was a professor going to a lecture I think.

Have Black Adder on DVD, perhaps a better one than Mr.Bean! IMHO.

What ever happened to Dave Allen, he had some great stuff??

OneWorld22
29th Apr 2002, 18:37
You're spot on then Jarse, there were a load of stars in that episode, Griff Rhys-Jones was "Bambi" Hugh Lawrie was Lord Topper, Ben Elton was Mr. Kendall-Mintcake, Emma Thompson was Lady Moneysomething and even Mel Smith was the doorman! And Motorhead played the music, Phew!

Yeah I forgot about the New Statesmen, brilliant stuff as well.

And what about the first Auf Wiedersehn Pet, now some of those were classics. I remember Barry and Wayne trying to pick up two Swedish FA's in the hotel!
Porridge was very good as well and of course possibly the best, Only fools and horses, I just love when Dell tried to speak French!
Blackadder was way better then Mr. Bean. And then there's Father Ted, the list just goes on and on....Did anyone here like the Goodies??

Slasher
29th Apr 2002, 18:50
Jarse yeh The Young Ones had me in stitches every episode! I remember when Wick (bwoodey anarchy wules bwuvver!) sat in what was a bathtub of sh!t (used bathwater after everyone else had bathed in it), and complained there were no clean towels in the bathroom! Another was when Vyvyan crucifyed the plates and his hand to the table, and another when he used his toothbrush to clean the dunny-bowl and then his teeth while he was at it!

Yeh you have to give the poms credit for comedy.

M.Mouse
29th Apr 2002, 20:43
diesel8

It was called Clockwise. I saw it at the cinema when it was released and my girlfriend was getting embarrassed because I was laughing so much! Funny though I saw it again a year or two back, on video, and it has dated dramatically. Hardly smiled which when you consider how relatively timeless Fawlty Towers is seems odd.

NO CARRIER
30th Apr 2002, 02:29
I also remember fondly the British comedy (also ran on my PBS station) that took place in a French cafe in WW2. Writing seemed to be really clever, but it was an ideal setup: British writers getting to write comic dialog for actors playing Frenchmen and Germans! My durn 'mrican brain can't recall the name. They had a French cop who just butchered the language - I thought they got the idea for that role from Peter Sellers in "The Pink Panther". The show made me roll with laughter.

As for American TV comedies, I like a lot of the classics, such as "All in the Family" (made you think, no?), "M*A*S*H" (a great show, made you both laugh and cry), and "I Love Lucy" (what where you saying about American comedies being too cerebral?).

Diesel8
30th Apr 2002, 05:51
'Allo, 'Allo was the name, great show.

Wizofoz
30th Apr 2002, 08:38
Actualle, Allo Allo was a send up of a BBC drama called " Secret Army". Funny thing was the hilarious send-up run three times longer than the original!

Alpha Leader
30th Apr 2002, 08:48
Can't beat Fawlty Towers and 'Allo 'Allo, and, of course, Blackadder (particularly the WWI episodes).

I can't say there is any American comedy series that comes close. It seems US comedies are written for audiences that have extremely short attention spans and are less receptive to subtle humour.

BTW: has anyone noticed how they've ****ed up "Whose line is it anyway?" since it went trans-atlantic?

Boss Raptor
30th Apr 2002, 09:03
The film with John Cleese running the zoo, 'Fierce Creatures' ?

A recent brit classic with a unique style which is bound to be imitated, 'The Office'...superb!!

The successor to the Young Ones of course 'Bottom' and the spin off film 'Guesthouse Paradiso', very sick, very visual, very funny!!!

On american shows, the only current one that has it's moments is Malcolm In The Middle, Mash and The Wonder Years were the only classics...rest are all crappola...but then I have learned from experience that the Brits have a much deeper and dryer sense of humour...

PS. Life of Brian finally came out on DVD in UK two months ago...

Gunner B12
30th Apr 2002, 09:19
NO CARRIER

The French cop in AlloAllo was supposed to be a disguised english serviceman hiding from the germans. Hence his mangling of the language.

:D :D :D

criticalmass
30th Apr 2002, 09:19
Fawlty Towers is one of the purest classics. Bought the BBC Tape series about a year ago with the John Cleese interviews (done many years after FT ended, by the way). Very revealing insight into the creations and methodology of a true comedic genius.

Capt. Crosswind
30th Apr 2002, 09:59
No one has mentioned the excellent series in the Goon Show genre - People Like Us

Huck
30th Apr 2002, 14:00
I lived in Birmingham, Alabama, USA in the early nineties. Fawlty Towers ran for about 5 weeks on PBS, until the episode with the "N" word ("She kept referring to the Indians as N####s! No, no, no, I said; N####s are the WEST Indians. These people are ****!")

That was the end of that, I'm afraid - not quite politically correct enough for PBS.

I've got all the tapes - and the audio tapes, with Manuel as narrator. My three year old asks to watch the episode where "that man climbed the ladder, then he fell down, then his wife hit him on the head...."

DC Meatloaf
30th Apr 2002, 17:34
Well, comparing anything to Fawlty Towers is a bit unfair. Those 12 episodes (not even one season's worth of a US series) represent the apex of TV comedy, as far as I'm concerned. Each one was incredibly well crafted and fine-tuned. It's telling that it's been nearly 30 years (ok, 27) since the first season of Fawlty Towers and nothing else -- British, US, or otherwise -- has come close to matching the genius of that series.

That said, there are a number of good American shows:

The Simpsons
Seinfeld
Frazier
Malcom in the Middle
Scrubs (new)
Andy Richter Controls the Universe (new)
Cheers
Sex and the City
The Daily Show
South Park :)

And, Alpha Leader, I don't know what you mean about what we've done to "Who's Line...". We see both versions here -- the Drew Carey version runs on ABC, the UK version runs on Comedy Central -- and I don't note any marked differences. In fact, much of the cast is the same. If anything, the newer versions are a bit funnier because (a) Wayne Brady's songs and (b) no obscure references to local UK politicians/celebrities.

Hugh Jarse
3rd May 2002, 10:19
Allo Allo. Another REALLY funny show.

I liked the cop, too. Totally destroyed French.

"Aye was just p!ssing by and thought I'd drip in...."
"We will 'ave to send the long distance dick..."

"Good Moaning"

Belgian Chap
3rd May 2002, 12:30
Oh Wennee, wear aar ze british airmen?
Don't wurrie Edith, zey aar safely idden in ze cupboard...
Good meuning!
Do you recognaaise me? Iet ies aai, Leclecq
Liesten carefully, aai shall say zis only once...
Von Schmallhausen, you fool! Weer is ze painting of ze fallen madonna wiz ze big boobies?
Herr Flick saw Leftennant Gruber driving in his little tankie wiz a big saussage, containing ze forged painting of ze fallen maddonna wiz ze big boobies, we must report him to General Von Klinkerhoffen immediately!
Helga! You may kiss me now...

... Priceless !!!

solotk
3rd May 2002, 12:37
Funniest episode?

The british airmen hiding in the piano........

"OK, Lili Marlene....... after 3 chaps"........

" 1 - 2 - 3 ...OHHHHHHHHHH PLINKER-PLINKER-PLUNK-PLUNK"

Hahhahahahahaa sorry, laffing as I type this....

Incidentally, when the programme was launched, there was a fear of backlash from resistance veterans, about a perceived belittling of their efforts. I think it was Odette? who was interviewed. She said she thought the programme was marvellous, and far closer to the truth than people realised :)

Tony

Boss Raptor
3rd May 2002, 12:55
Lt. Gruber...and his little tank!

Herr Flick...my hero...'you may kiss me now Helga'...

under_exposed
3rd May 2002, 13:00
Could not believe how long they waited before the obvious one.

Herr Flick picks up his ringing phone

'Flick the gestapo..............no i said Flick, the gestapo'