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> MY TOP 50 RETRO SITCOMS OF ALL TIME, Totally biased utterly personal rundown
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popchartfreak
post Aug 17 2016, 08:08 PM
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Trying not to overlap with the sitcom vote in the UK TV lounge, this will feature a few eventually from that list, but not many, and will cover 1951 through 2016, just because I can. If anyone gets into some golden oldies they don't know then fab! I guarantee quite a few unknown or half-forgotten gems, or if you're under 30, I guarantee you won't know at least half of them laugh.gif


I LOVE LUCY (1951 - 1960)

Actually this sit-com should be a few places higher, but I wanted to start the run-down with the most important sit-com in history. That isn’t hyperbole, it’s a cast-iron fact, if only for the various innovations that Lucille Ball and husband Desi Arnaz made to television: Lucy was a B-list cinema star, the only real female actor who could do physical comedy both in facial expressions, delivery of lines and body slapstick, this made her a natural to develop a TV show; She insisted her Cuban singer/bandleader husband be the co-star against Network Exec wishes; they refused to move to New York to film the usual low-quality TV recordings which were broadcast - instead they based in LA and took a large paycut to pay for the shows to be recorded on film (in b&w); this decision had massive effect - I Love Lucy was filmed with 3 cameras, in high quality, in front of an actual enthusiastic live studio audience (no canned laughter, other TV shows “borrowed” Lucy’s laugh-track!), with film professionals (TV union rules disallowed TV employees) and giving Lucille Ball the ability to play to the audience, making the show lively and vital; in exchange for the paycut Lucille & Desi set up their own studio and business Desilu (who later became famous for the first Star Trek episodes), and were able to broadcast I Love Lucy throughout the world, and in re-run for the next 65 years and counting. Lucille Ball became the most-famous female face in the world for the next 10 or 20 years.

The show itself? It’s all about Lucy, the ambitious, talentless, optimistic, trouble-prone but loveable housewife, and her sidekick best-friend Ethel (Vivan Vance), getting into scrapes. It’s very 1950’s idealised pre-feminist Americana, but that was what sold it to the rest of the world - here was a normal way of life that was positively affluent compared to life in other societies, things like refrigerators were mod-cons out of reach of ordinary people. It became so successful, some of the routines became comic immortal, and at the time Lucy’s pregancy led to massive TV ratings, the show topped the ratings for years, as Lucy attracted bigger and bigger guest stars (all as themselves) - Hollywood royalty joined in on the fun wholeheartedly, but Lucy never became one of them, she ridiculed her star-struck self, and spoke to the man or woman in the street. Ironically, as Lucille Ball was totally in control, a powerful woman in the male-dominated media industry of the 50‘s. Obviously, it is now utterly period, but it’s still charming, amusing, and as the template for all that followed it is guaranteed to remain referred back to by TV sitcom creators for as long as the form remains popular - I’d guess, as long as western society endures then...

My take? I only caught the much inferior 3rd Lucy series Here’s Lucy from the late 60’s, by which time she was getting on a bit and there were better shows on TV, but Lucy was still a TV legend. When I finally got to see the 50‘s shows in the 80’s, it was easy to see they were the real deal, I got to visit the Lucy shop-cum-tribute many times at Universal Studios Florida, and I bought the DVD’s. Still holds up well.

Best clips:

her classic scene:



her slapstick brilliance:



why Vitameatavegamin is so important:



...and finally the comedy dialogue

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richie
post Aug 18 2016, 12:03 PM
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Great idea, I'll enjoy this smile.gif
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popchartfreak
post Aug 18 2016, 07:41 PM
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Thanks Richie smile.gif

One which will be in the UK rundown, (sorry about that, but I can't place it any higher..)

49. ARE YOU BEING SERVED (1972-85)

British innuendo saucy seaside humour at it’s best, this Jeremy “Laugh-In” Lloyd and David Croft creation became a hit in the USA and topped Australian ratings, against all the odds - it’s VERY English, a bit low-brow, mocks the posh establishment and manners, and also the working class. It gently takes the mickey out of people putting on airs and graces, lauding it with superiority, and is a microcosm of British society social strata. If that sounds too pompous, then it’s a big laugh with fabulous caricatures, great comic actors, pushing the boat to see what you can get away with in prime time (who could forget Mrs Slocombe’s bedraggled pussy, or Mr. Humphrey’s camp “I’m free!”), terrific slapstick, OTT delivery, and it was always always good-natured. Mollie Sugden is immortal as Mrs Slocombe, already well-loved from Carla Lane’s decent The Liver Birds, and it made a star of John Inman as Mr. Humphreys, and Wendy Richard as dolly-bird Miss Brahms, years after she was the cockney lass on Mike Sarne’s fab novelty UK chart-topper Come Outside - Eastenders fame beckoned once the show was cancelled in the 80’s. It ran for too long, to be honest, and never really got over the loss of 2 of the original cast members, Trevor Bannister leaving and Arthur Brough dying, by which time it had become more of a self-caricature in the 80’s, though not so much that the cast and characters couldn’t reunite for Grace & Favour in 1992.

For me, it was camp fun, I loved Molly Sugden, the very Carry On.. British humour was right up my street, ooerr missus, and appropriately this just scrapes into my chart ahead of the equally saucy Frankie Howard one-man TV sitcom vehicle Up Pompeii. That had better scripts, but lacked an ensemble affectionate group to support it. This was just lovable, albeit of it’s time. Precious few clips on youtube though...



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popchartfreak
post Aug 19 2016, 07:16 PM
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48. SEINFELD (1989-1998)

Stand-up comic Jerry Seinfeld is the star of, and co-creator with Larry David of, this very New York urban comedy. The show famously “about nothing” is really about 4 friends and their families and lives, and where none of them are really that likeable - the golden rule of sitcoms is to be loveable, but Jerry, George (Jason Alexander), Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss) and Kramer (Michael Richards)are essentially self-absorbed, selfish, and picky - and in the case of Kramer crazy to boot. Emotional depth is absent, no lovey-dovey stuff at any time, the characters never learn from their mistakes and they aren’t sympathetic towards each other: instead you have a wealth of guest actors, some on the way to big things, a tight script, great one-liners in the New York Jewish tradition, and inventiveness - the notion of re-gifting took up one episode to great effect, another was waiting to get served in a restaurant. Critically lauded and a 90’s US ratings topper, they killed the show off at the height of it’s popularity and have stuck to that decision.

Shockingly low in my ratings, that’s 2 giants of sitcoms disposed of already in my list! Both Seinfeld and I Love Lucy are clearly greats of sitcoms, and “better” than many higher up the list, but in my case I came to Seinfeld a bit late in the day. For a start, the selfishness of the characters annoyed me, the arguing grated, the shouting put my teeth on edge, that boo-doop, boo-doo, boop doop soundtrack every 5 minutes just got on my nerves early on and got worse with time. I was, however, won over by the cast and scripts, and the more bizarre the plot the more I liked it. I also can’t resist a golden one-liner, and there loads of them throughout the show’s run.

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Seinfeld
post Aug 21 2016, 03:40 AM
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Seinfeld is 47 places too low... wink.gif
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popchartfreak
post Aug 21 2016, 09:30 AM
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QUOTE(OutstandingMixer @ Aug 21 2016, 04:40 AM) *
Seinfeld is 47 places too low... wink.gif


I thought you might think that! laugh.gif

I do love it, and have the box sets, but there are others I love (slightly) more. Critics will put it top 10 though, so there's always that cheer.gif
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Suedehead2
post Aug 21 2016, 12:54 PM
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I think I'd place Seinfeld around 47,000 places lower. I'm hoping there will be no sign of Mrs Brown's Boys in this list. If it does appear, I will be very disappointed.
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popchartfreak
post Aug 21 2016, 03:12 PM
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QUOTE(Suedehead2 @ Aug 21 2016, 01:54 PM) *
I think I'd place Seinfeld around 47,000 places lower. I'm hoping there will be no sign of Mrs Brown's Boys in this list. If it does appear, I will be very disappointed.

You're not going to be disappointed laugh.gif my parents love it and it's good natured enough but the film is cause enough to rule out any chance forever laugh.gif
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Seinfeld
post Aug 21 2016, 06:00 PM
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QUOTE(Suedehead2 @ Aug 21 2016, 01:54 PM) *
I think I'd place Seinfeld around 47,000 places lower.


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Seinfeld
post Aug 24 2016, 01:40 AM
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I get the feeling Sude finished last in the contest. He was not master of his domain.

Not that there's anything wrong with that... laugh.gif
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richie
post Aug 24 2016, 10:19 AM
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I caught the tail end of Are You Being Served as a child and I loved Mr Humphreys. I never saw Seinfeld though, BBC2 had the rights but they stuck it on at a very strange time - something like midnight on a Tuesday.
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popchartfreak
post Aug 24 2016, 01:45 PM
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47. TAXI (1978-83)

A good-natured sit-com set around a taxi cab company in New York, run by the short-of-stature tyrannical Louis (Danny De Vito), starring Judd Hirsch as Alex, Marilu Henner as Elaine, Tony Danza as Tony, Jeff Conaway as Bobby, Andy Kaufman as the annoying and sweet Latka, Carol Kane as his girlfriend, and in the 2nd series the real star of the show Christopher Lloyd as the Rev Jim Ignatowski, a burnt-out hippie from years of substance abuse. Guest stars included Danny De Vito’s real-life wife Rhea Perlman and many others. Needless to say it made stars of all of the above, most migrating to movie success, or else TV sitcom success post-Taxi.

This James L. Brooks & co show was a precurser to even-better sitcoms which will feature later, won Emmy’s, was well-written, warm without being too sentimental or cloying, and had very good well-defined characters and covered any number of dark or unusual topics for plots. Unusually for a US TV show, it was also shown in UK prime-time and repeated over the next decade or so before being banished as if it never existed, despite the big-name cast. Andy Kaufman died young, a stand-up comic who inspired REM’s Man In The Moon song and the movie of the same name - in which the cast played themselves in the biopic!

I always enjoyed the show, but my real enthusiasm was for Christopher Lloyd, just before he did Back To The Future, and his character had me laughing-out loud at some points (I tend to be a smiler, punctuated with very occasional bouts of helpless, crying laughter) especially the taxi-driving exam he had to take to become a permanent cast member. Crying I was!

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popchartfreak
post Aug 25 2016, 07:38 PM
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46. THE FLINTSTONES (1960-66)

No, this wasn’t a kids show, it was Prime Time animated fantasy soap in the States, the first to do that and the most successful for 30 years. Hanna-Barbera churned out kids TV shows for decades, but they hit gold with this innovative show: essentially they took the 2nd-biggest US sitcom of the 50’s (The Honeymooners) and transplanted the characters into the Stone Age, but a fantasy world with dinosaurs as modern-convenience equipment or pets, homes made of rock, and sabre-tooth tigers as kitty-cats. I can’t stress just how unlikely it was that this got past TV Execs!

What made it work was the cast of working-class American characters, Fred and Wilma, and their best friends Barney & Betty Rubble. Later on the kids came along, Pebbles and Bam Bam, and added to cast - along with numerous guest stars of the screen and sports portraying Stone Age versions of themselves (Ann-Margrock for example voiced by then-big Ann-Margaret). The renamed stone-age wordplay alone was genius (Gina Loadabricks, Mick Jadestone & The Rolling Boulders, Rock Pile - for Rock Hudson), the pastiche perverted look at mid-20th century suburban culture and pop culture was brilliant, and the voicing, especially Mel Blanc and Alan Reed as Barney and Fred, just great. Barney & Fred had more than a touch of the Laurel & Hardy, 2 lovable idiots, the loud one thinking he’s smarter than the quieter one - but not really in fact. The invention was terrific - the poor downtrodden dinosaurs address the audience direct lamenting their lot and the humans, the cars run on people legs, showers are woolly mammoths blowing water out their trunk.

2 live action movies eventually turned up in the 90’s, both perfectly good fun and full of stars, the B52’s immortalised the wonderful theme tune (one of the first TV greats) as themselves (the BC52’s) and in the charts, but they never really quite clicked totally, being an affectionate parody of a parody and all. As with I Love Lucy, the show still stands up well, much better than the one it was based on, the somewhat unlovable aggressive loudmouth of The Honeymooners, his “Bang zoom, to the the moon” threats to his wife are most definitely not-PC these days. Fred is a pussycat underneath the bluster, thankfully. So great it has turned up in shows owing a lot to it, such as The Simpsons and Family Guy, and for me, I have a 1965 Flintstones annual from xmas prezzie time, kept it all these years and still fun - love the Gruesomes (take on The Munsters/Addams Family, who were directly made in the fantasy 60’s sitcom explosion that owed it all to The Flinstones: don’t what TV execs were on in those days, but they need to get on it again!). Fab!







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popchartfreak
post Aug 26 2016, 07:09 PM
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45. THE MUPPET SHOW (1976-81)

Jim Henson’s Sesame Street sorta-spinoff that had to move to the UK to get produced and broadcast (shame on Exec Suits!), helped by Lew Grade, UK TV giant. I’d loved Sesame Street’s fresh style when it turned up on Singapore sometime in late 1970 or early 1971, so I was already a fan for some more-adult-oriented gags, puns, Vaudeville songs, silliness, and a host of UK or US guest stars, and as time went by, and The Muppets became huge, the guest names got bigger as everyone joined in the fun. Now, some may be exclaiming that the Muppets wasn’t a sitcom, it was a variety show - sorry, no I’m not having that - each episode was plotted, usually around the guest stars interacting with the amazing cast of characters, be it Miss Piggy gunning for Kermit, the guest wanting to perform some high art (and ending up over-run with muppets) or Kermit just exasperated at the anarchy. The sketches, and the musical numbers were integrated into the plot as interruptions, while the real story went on backstage.

The cast, voiced by Jim Henson, Frank Oz and others, was a list of incredible still-famous Muppet characters, Gonzo, Sam The Eagle, Fozzie Bear, Statler & Waldorf (my faves, loved the put-downs), The Swedish Chef, Beaker, Animal and many others. All were just brilliant creations, and the recurring in-jokes a joy (Doctor Bob, Pigs In Space for a start), they were a hit with kids and with A Level students (take my word, I was one) and with older folk too, with the Music Hall backdrop and old-time tunes. So good, in fact, that numerous movies, spin-offs, parodies, merchandise and sequel series all trotted along before and after Disney acquired the rights and made a fun 3D Theme Park attraction out of the setting too. Of course, the jokes were very hit and miss, the songs could be rubbish or brilliant (Mah Na Mah Na was a hit as a result, ditto the Muppets own singles Halfway Down The Stairs and Don’t Dilly-Dally On The Way and Wipeout) and some guests were better than others, but the just good-natured feel-good vibes outweigh the naff bits. Legends!



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popchartfreak
post Aug 29 2016, 10:39 AM
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44. GIRLS ON TOP (1985-6)

One of those rare things: an ITV sitcom that I liked, this was like a female answer to The Young Ones in the 80’s new wave of young comics, written-by and starring Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Ruby Wax and Tracey Ullman. The show was about 4 wacky flatmates, leftie-activist bullying Dawn/Amanda, simple and docile Jennifer, loud, brash, self-centered Ruby/Shelley and manipulative flirt Tracey/Candice. The landlady (Joan Greenwood was so cool, too) - totally off-the-wall romance writer. I don’t get why this has been forgotten in the mists of time, I prefer it to all the huge successes the cast went on to do (so that means no Abfab, Vicar Of Dibley, Tracey Ullman Show among others, sorry, and Comic Strip presents - which predated and featured the future superstar female comedy double act French & Saunders - is ineligible). At least one-spin-off in the list though, no prizes for guessing which!

Guest stars include Helen Lederer, Stephen Frost, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman, Hugh Laurie, Harry Enfield, and Katherine Helmond, star of a US show of which more later. Perhaps because it was only 13 episodes (with Tracey missing the last 6 due to being pregnant, so that’s an reasonable excuse!), and despite having a theme song written by the fab Squeeze, it never really got repeated much - personally I think it was much more cult Channel 4 or BBC2-ish product and would have been better remembered if it had been shown on them. It never really fit into ITV target audiences. The other main point is that the characters were not-sympathetic, being caricatures, but that never hurt The Young Ones in a younger target-audience, but not so helpful in a cosy ITV environment. Still a forgotten goodie, anyway.

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popchartfreak
post Aug 31 2016, 05:05 PM
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43. MORK AND MINDY (1978-82)

Happy Days was a cult sitcom among teens, set in the 50’s, and sending Ron Howard on the way to movies, and The Fonz made Henry Winkler a star. Amiable enough, it had 2 spin-offs while on the air, the wacky Laverne & Shirley which was more fun, starring Penny Marshall, sister of producer the late Garry Marshall, who then spotted talent when he saw it in the shape of the not-just-wacky-but-out-of-this-world hyperactive million-words-a-second late Robin Williams guesting (oddly!) as an alien from outer space (Mork from Ork). Cue this family-friendly spin-off set in Boulder, Colorado. I think we can all agree that without Robin Williams hitting the screens like a whirlwind of energy, and adlibbing much of his dialogue (as he did subsequently in movies), this show would have been at best mildly pleasant and forgettable. As it is, especially in the first season, Williams’ Mork is unforgettable, a lost innocent puzzled by an uncaring world, and his loudmouth obese off-screen alien boss.

It’s main downfall is also Robin Williams main downfall in the movies: as we now know prone to real-life depression, Williams (and Mork) is also prone to cloying oversentimentality at times, largely around his love for Mindy (Pam Dawber), and it can get a tad preachy in later seasons, even with the also-wacky comic hero of Williams’ Jonathan Winters, as a baby “adult” alien. The scripts aren’t great, overall (certainly the worst scripts of any series in this list), and the supporting characters not great (bar the fab mentally spaced-out “Prophet” Exidor) but it has to be here for Mork and Robin Williams contributions. The first season is the best season, too many cast changes and mucking around and blanding out ruined the later seasons, but for 12 months it was fresh and exciting, and made a major movie star of Robin Williams. No clips from the actual show, as the Out-takes (not broadcast-able on 1970’s US TV) give much more of a flavour of the frenetic pace and ad-libbing of Robin Williams, and I SO wish I could have been in those audiences for taping!

Na-nu Na-nu!

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popchartfreak
post Sep 1 2016, 06:42 PM
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42. BEST OF THE WEST (1981/82)

Eh? Wassat? I hear everyone exclaim. This is an Earl Pomerantz creation, scriptwriter on Taxi and 3 other higher-rated shows which featured many of the guest stars in this great Western mickey-take, such as Christopher Lloyd and Betty White, two giants of TV comedy for me, and other TV & film faves like Slim Pickens, or Richard Moll, bald-headed Night Court star and regular lovable big, tall villain of screen. Night Court very nearly made my list too. The main cast was also fab, the idealistic marshall Sam Best (Joel Higgins), his wisecracking cooky wife (Carlene Watkins), the slimy saloon owner (Leonard Frey), veteran Tom Ewell as the town doctor, Valri Bromfield as a rather tomboy gal, and Tracey Walter as the fab henchman Frog.

So, I loved the cast, the scripts were great, famous guest stars, and the creative team side all went on to even greater things, so what could possibly go wrong? Err, ABC dilly-dallied over renewing it, so the star buggered off to another show and they cancelled it after one season - having decided late to renew when it was too late. Idiots. This could have been one of the greats, I’m sure it would have built up an audience over time like so many classy sitcoms have. The comedy western was already a nostalgic film genre, from the 50’s right through to the last great Mel Brooks movie, and it just seemed so right to have a sitcom dedicated to it a decade on. On the plus side, the writers found gainful employment in 1983 in a giant of the sitcom so they weren’t sitting around twiddling their thumbs and that show’s gain was at this show’s loss, so I can’t be too crabby. I just wish it would be repeated or made available on DVD!

No clips available, just full episodes, so here’s the Christopher Lloyd Calico Kid gunfighter episode.

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popchartfreak
post Sep 7 2016, 07:03 PM
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41. THE MUNSTERS (1964-6)

Hot on the heels of My Favorite Martian’s TV sitcom success, The Munsters was one of two “freak-family” sitcoms to air the same month (Sept 1964), both black and white (which really suited the mood and look and design of both), The Munsters was the more popular - the rival will appear later in the list - but the less oddball. A lot of the laughs was the juxtaposition of The Munsters traditional American sitcom family set-up, the hapless working dad, the homebody mum, the kid in school, the teen girl, and grumpy grandpa who lived with them, complete with their suburban lifestyle ambitions versus their actual Horror Movie roots: Herman Munster (the brilliant Fred Gwynne) was a Frankenstein monster created by Grandpa (the equally brilliant Al lewis - both he and Gwynne had starred for years together in Car 54 Where Are You? and worked great together in their various scrapes). Grandpa was a vampire mad scientist, Herman had married nagging, pushy, Vampira-ish Lily (Hollywood star Yvonne De Carlo) and their son Eddie (Butch Patrick) was a young Werewolf. Marilyn (Pat Priest and Beverley Owen) was the plain teen daughter who couldn’t keep a boyfriend (to the family - to everyone else she was a gorgeous Monroe-esque blonde who’s dates were scared off by the rest of the family).

The show worked because of the cast chemistry, especially the three adult leads, who were just SO lovable. The novelty wore off after a while, admittedly, script-wise, as there are only so many spooked visiting officials in a state of shock and surprise you can base a wacky plot around, but the performances were never less than worthwhile, and including child actor Butch Patrick who unusually seemed confident and capable without being either sickly sweet or annoyingly arrogant, like most child-stars. The theme tune was also a masterpiece of surfer-instrumental-done-Halloween-stylee, though the more traditional season 1 version was the better than the season 2:



Other fave things: Paul Lynde (Uncle Arthur in Bewitched which also debuted this month, The Hooded Claw in Perils Of Penelope Pitstop) as a near-sighted doctor, John Carradine and Dom DeLuise as guests; The Munstermobile (a souped-up Hearse); Lily’s floating light silky dresses; Herman referring to his job at the Parlor all the time (Funeral Parlor); Eddie’s hero-worship of his buffoonish well-meaning dad. To get an idea of how good the cast was you only have to sit through 10 minutes of the remake from 1988, in colour, and despite good old fave actors like John Schuck and Lee Meriweather in it. It just wasn’t worthy! The problem was, of course, for the cast they became huge in re-runs and eternally typecast as the characters they played. Poor Old Fred Gwynne grew to hate Herman Munster, understandably, as he was a good actor. Has it worn well? Yes, provided you don’t try and watch them back to back and just enjoy the classy silliness, and can ignore that 60’s insistence on laugh-tracks for filmed sitcoms.

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post Sep 10 2016, 04:39 PM
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40. FAWLTY TOWERS (1975-9)

Or Farty Towels as one intro sign read. Only 12 episodes of this classic sitcom from writers and stars John Cleese and Connie Booth (real-life UK/US husband-wife) were made, 2 seasons of 6, but what an impact it had for the Monty Python star, and on British pop culture! Basil Fawlty was a conceited, angry, social-climbing intolerant hotel owner better at annoying and insulting his guests than catering for them, and his bossy, nagging wife Sybil (Prunella Scales) was the real force behind the business. Throw in maid Polly (Booth) the voice of tolerance and reason, and stereotypical simple and underpaid Spanish waiter Manuel (Andrew Sachs) - “Que?” “No, he haaamster” (a pet rat) - and you have a great 4-some to hang on wacky regulars and guest stars around.

Sometimes John Cleese’s OTT Basil made me squirm, sometimes his casual bullying and hitting his imported cheap labour just annoyed me, but it was forgiven for the classic one-liners and insults, and flowery descriptive sarcasm. Basil invariably got himself into trouble in his snobbish attempts to impress people he regarded as socially superior, or by mistakingly being dismissive to people he regarded as plebs (but who weren’t), and much of the humour was based around British obsessions with niceties and social faux pas, never more so than the visiting Germans episode (“Don’t mention the war!”) when he was suffering from concussion and mentioned the war at every opportunity, or bluntly stares at his nurse:



John Cleese pretty much grabbed his movie career more from Basil Fawlty than Python, and guested in other classic (American) sitcoms which it inspired and which will pop up later in the rundown, and in turn guest actors like Bernard Cribbins, Geoffrey Palmer and David Kelly popped up in FT. Becoming a critically-acclaimed and popular masterpiece of conciseness (12 episodes only) inspired other creative sitcom talents to do the same in the decades that followed, because it left no bad taste in the mouth that shows that run on too long tend to leave behind, and there is a cohesiveness that having the same writers gives while leaving you begging for more and keeping the quality high. The only reason it’s not higher is I’ve seen them so many times that minor flaws start to annoy, and familiarity breeds contempt. Give me a decade away and I’ll rate it much higher again...

Top 10 clips here:

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Suedehead2
post Sep 10 2016, 09:27 PM
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John Cleese and Connie Booth were divorced by the time of the second series.

The very idea that there are 39 programmes (let alone 39 sitcoms) better than Fawlty Towers is just absurd.
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