Posts Tagged ‘Sitcom’

Just a Thought: The Fall and Rise…

April 21, 2009

reginald perrin martin clunes

…of Reginald Perrin.

I was just wondering how WWM readers feel about the resurrection of this classic sitcom, with Martin Clunes as the eponymous Perrin?

Apparently David Nobbs has not only given his blessing, but has also co-written the series along with Simon Nye – the fellow who wrote Men Behaving Badly.

A bit of a contrast in quality there.

It’ll be interesting to see how this turns out – either good against all odds or dead on arrival, one suspects.

Clunes in place of Rossiter – can the two even be mentioned in the same breath? Clunes is a decent comic actor and possesses some lovely dogs, but Rossiter was close to genius when it came to his portrayal of the despairing suburban hero. Will the man with the big lips be able to pull this one off?

Your thoughts, WWMers…

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Eastenders, 2009

January 6, 2009

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Regular readers may well roll their eyes at the sight of Eastenders in the headline again, but as anyone who tuned in over Christmas will tell you, the sitcom has drifted from regular melancholy into the absolute zero of acute depression.

A few of the current threads seem designed to make viewers slit their wrists. They may as well slot split-second banners in the film reels saying ‘END IT NOW’ in a bold black font, just to kick the public that little bit further into the pit of despair.

So, put on your party hat, pull out your party poppers and get down with us as we celebrate the most miserable Eastenders threads of 2009! (so far).

Dotty, Dot and the Non-reformed Nasty Nick

Even casual viewers will know a bit about Dot’s blighted past where her son is concerned. He’s tried to poison her, always stolen from her and is generally a complete, drug-addled bastard. So, at Christmas time – a time for giving – writers decided to bring back the malevolent offspring. For one episode he was convincingly reformed and I expected a slow-building but subtly well-written build up to his dastardly intentions. Instead, by New Year, a hundred heavy-handed hints made the blatantly obvious oncoming conclusion plain, meaning we’ve months of watching Dot tragically kid herself ahead as dramatic irony looks wearily on from the side of the stage. Happy new year.

Max, Tanya, Lauren and Lies

At the centre of last year’s Christmas-time borderline-incest infidelity scandal, this story is running and running. And running. Then meandering a bit and now faltering to some sort of conclusion. After alcoholism, a confusing bit with a gun and an intentional road crash, Tanya’s banged up in the least secure prison in Britain, where it seems to be perfectly legal for a woman on trial for attempted murder to socialise, unobserved, with the bloke she’s accused of trying to kill in her cell (not even through the bars, as might be a bit more realistic). Everyone knew young Lauren had done the driving when she admitted as much, and I don’t think I’m far wrong when I say that every viewer is probably hoping young Abby (the little shit) gets put away for life in some weird twist of fate in the next couple of weeks.

Sean, Roxy and Jack’s Three-Way Disaster

Poor Sean had mended his wicked ways when he discovered he had a daughter – and the fact she was premature even seemed to strengthen him. He was almost completely sane by the time he found out (on Christmas Day, round the table, naturally) that the kid wasn’t his. It was it’s mother’s sister’s ex-boyfriend’s. This resulted in lots of laying about depressed in the launderette, baby-kidnapping, falling into an icy lake and tons of screaming and wailing. I think we were meant to feel sympathy for Sean – which was misjudged really, considering most viewers are still reeling from the period of time in which Sean was dealing coke, being a complete sod to everyone and physically torturing much-loved character Gus. Good riddance Sean then – even if he was a well-acted figure of fun.

Bianca, Whitney and the Sex Offender

And now to possibly the most depressing story of the bunch. We all know Whitney was abused by her adopted mother’s boyfriend. Well, Bianca found out, Tony got arrested and now we’re having to suffer the consequences – a damaged teenager, Bianca at a loss, Ricky looking confused (plus ca change…) and lots and lots of crying. The only light at the end of this particular tunnel came with the recent arrival of Janine Butcher (Godbless her), the best ever Eastenders pantomime villain we’ve had for a while. A good move by bosses, bringing her back. Last night she delivered a nasty line to Bianca when told she’d upset  Whitney: ‘Oh – is that my fault? But I’m not the one who bought a paedo into the house?’.

What an awful woman.

So, if these four tales of warm, hard-grafting East End types from the working classes don’t fire up the cockles of your heart, I’m not sure what will.

Oh!
Knees up Muvva Brown! etc…

NewsGush – R.I.P. Reg Varney

November 17, 2008

reg varney

I hated you, Butler.

Poor old Reg has sadly passed on to the great double decker in the sky. The world has lost a fantastic comedic talent and the first man to use a cash machine in the British Isles, according to someone on here.

*salutes*

NewsGush: Massive?

August 29, 2008

Presumably to fill the Two Pints-shaped hole in the schedules (currently being filled with thousands of episodes of Family Guy), BBC3 have commissioned Massive.

Massive is a new comedy series on BBC Three starring Ralf Little (Two Pints Of Lager, The Royle Family), Carl Rice (Scallywagga) and Johnny Vegas (Ideal, Benidorm). 

Danny (Ralf Little) and Seamus (Carl Rice) bonded over Oasis in ’94 and have been best mates ever since. Both Manchester born-and-bred, both mid-twenties and both temping in dead-end jobs, they’re united by one all-consuming passion: music.

Inspired by the city’s local heroes – Tony Wilson, Joy Division, The Happy Mondays – the lads wile away the dreary office hours dreaming of their own record label.
But while they put in the footwork when it comes to gigs (three a week) and beer (considerably more than that) time is ticking by and they’re on the road to nowhere.

That is until Danny’s gran pops her clogs. The mad old bat leaves him £10,000 and Danny doesn’t hesitate – he and Shay are going to have their label.
The lads jack in their jobs and find an office by the canal. Now all they’ve got to do is unearth the next Oasis and have a hit record…

Ralf ‘Two Pints’ Little, for my money, has forever blotted his tattered copybook with that pile of shit he kept starring in. Apart from Ideal, Johnny Vegas hasn’t really found a TV vehicle that suits him. So can we hold out much hope for this?

The Friday Question: Half Hour British Comedy

May 23, 2008

Onslow

This great nation of ours used to be home to the best not-very-good sitcoms in the world. Recently, however, we’ve seemingly run out of just-about-watchable half hour comedy. They’ve all been replaced by reality shit, documentaries about babies with five foot long heads and clip shows.

So what’s the best rubbish sitcom from yesteryear? Which weakly written half hour British comedy has given you the most pleasure over the years?

Keeping Up Appearances?
The Good Life?
Bread?
Last of the Neverending Summer Wine?

Have your say…

Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps

July 5, 2007

Two Pints of Piss 

Too pointless for laughter and a sackful of shit

In the absence of Tycoon, I realised that I would have to turn my attention elsewhere this week, and as I was drifting aimlessly through the channels late last night, I came upon an easy target. Not just an easy target mind, but an insipid, zombified beast wearily waiting to be put to sleep forever. And while, unfortunately, it is not yet within my power to do so, I was nevertheless struck with the irresistable urge to clobber such a pathetically inept and flailing subject on it’s sickbed. No, I am not referring to Make Your Play or indeed Glitterball, though you would be forgiven for thinking so. No, I’m talking about Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps.

Canned laughter aside, there are no indications whatsoever that this is indeed intended for the purposes of humourous relief. In fact, any claims at all that this is funny are just out and out lies and anyone who even so much as smirks at the situation-based japes therein should be punched in the face for days, mercilessly relieved of their scalp, tossed into a volcano and shot at on their way down. Especially since those who enjoy its witless attributes are clearly chavvy types anyway. This is not intended as a purely throwaway remark either. It’s bland, shallow and utterly void of redemption, as well as being as much a reprehensible enemy of intelligence as anything else, anywhere on this knackered planet. As such, it is not just a programme for chavs, it is a fucking chav.

Taking into consideration that I have yet to encounter another human being who speaks well of this awful show, I am somewhat bamboozled as to the reasoning behind BBC 3’s incessant airing of it. As soon as it strikes midnight, it’s there. Multiple episodes, back to back, five nights a week. Lord above, how many series of this cascade of rancid camel shit have been commissioned? Someone, somewhere, needs a rare old twatting.

Ralf Little has long since bypassed his own sell-by date and must no longer be allowed to surf his own faded projection of success. Granted, he was quite funny in The Royle Family, but time has passed and now he’s just an offensive stain. I don’t even know the names of the rest of the cast but quite frankly I pity the joyless wankbags. I find comfort in assuming they’re all two strokes short of a climax.

I realise that this is not the only British sitcom guilty of bringing comical emptiness to the masses, (My family, My Hero, anything with Nicholas Lyndhurst post Only Fools And Horses) but Two Pints of Lager should voluntarily die for the sins of all the others as far as I’m concerned, minus any kind of resurrection.

Already, I have devoted a near-regrettable amount of my own precious life-span to this unworthy subject, and if I dedicate any more then I’m in danger of becoming a fool to myself.

You Have Been Watching …

April 2, 2007

 Allo Allo

I like to pretend to myself that I am a cultured individual. I’ve read books that don’t feature Nazis fighting dinosaurs on the front cover, I’ve listened to music where orchestras play tunes that haven’t been used to advertise paint, I’ve watched films where everyone’s French and speak in French and I’ve watched them in their original French because I can speak French too (if extraordinarily badly) … shit, I’ve even watched BBC Four once or twice and last year I read The Guardian (though to be fair that last one didn’t work out terribly well). I like to think I have risen above the cultural gutter inhabited by the likes of Walker, Texas Ranger, Barry Manilow and John Grisham … I like to think this but in fact I’m talking shit.

Y’see, I have harboured a filthy secret for years and it is this: I, a man who has attended not one, not two, but three Mozart festivals, have loved just about everything Jimmy Perry and David Croft have ever done.

Unfamiliar with the names? Then let me enlighten you so you can understand the full horror of the previous statement. Either together or on their own, Croft and Perry are the creators of Dad’s Army (well that aint so bad, you’re thinking … but wait!), It Aint Half Hot Mum (bloody hell!), Are You Being Served? (fuck a duck!), Hi-De-Hi (CHRIST ALMIGHTY!), ‘Allo ‘Allo (PHONE THE POLICE!), You Rang M’Lord? (SHOOT HIM! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SHOOT HIM!), and Oh, Doctor Beeching! (THOU ART A SERVANT OF BAAL! HIGH THEE TO THE VERY LOWEST CIRCLE OF DAMNATION, SERPENT!).

That’s right ladies ‘n’ gentleman! Set it in the old days, stick Paul Shane in it, shove ‘You Have Been Watching’ at the end and I’m happier than a pig in shit. I only have to hear the phrase ‘The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies’ and I’m transported back to those gay, carefree days of the brutal Nazi occupation of northern France. Sing me the opening bars to The Holiday Rock and I’m relaxing in my chalet after winning the knobbly-knees competition, looking forward to tonight’s cabaret and Ted’s risque jokes. Come up behind me and bellow ‘YOU LUVVERRLY BOY!!’ into my ear ‘ole and I’m looking around for the Japs.

I always loved these shows even after becoming drenched in the blood of ‘proper’ comedy such as Monty Python and The Day Today. Dad’s Army is, of course, a bona-fide comedy classic and even the most Ben Elton-minded, 80s-centric, Young Ones-fixated miserabilist will harrumph and grudgingly agree. But to openly admit you love rubbish like He-De-Hi and ‘Allo ‘Allo is to invite ridicule from almost every corner … you might as well say you enjoy Birds Of A Feather (though I understand this is stretching it a bit) or that arch-enemy of cutting-edge comedy, The Last Of The Summer Wine.

I can offer no excuses and no concrete explanation for this adoration. Perhaps it’s the evocation of a gentler age that leaves me incapable of criticism? Perhaps it’s  familiarity breeding content (they do tend to have the same cast in them)? Or perhaps it’s just that I can’t help enjoying myself everytime Rene’s hopes for a quiet war are dashed by that bastard Herr Flick (I am not ‘appy about zeeeeeees!)? Or maybe it’s the fact that a lot of the younger women featured in the shows wore stockings and suspenders and were randy little vixens and I happened to be twelve when I watched them the first time around?

Whatever the reasons, I am happy to confess this deep-held affection for low-grade comedy. Give me Ted Bovis pushing Spike in the swimming pool (AGAIN!), Officer Crabtree’s ‘Goooood Moaneeeeng’, or Sergeant Major Williams bellowing ‘SHAAAAAAAAAT AAAAAAAAAAAAP!” and I’m transported back to a time when all I had to worry about was homework and trying to get into Abi Titmuss’s knickers. Maybe that’s what it is? These shows make me feel young again … which is a hell of a tribute considering the jokes were about at the time of the dinosaurs.