Dr Terrible’ s House of Horrible (2001 Britain)

“And you Mr Brocken, are you infirm on you’re wedding night?” “Its just a battle wound, a very large Turk surprised me from behind.” No, its not Shakespeare but one of those very short-lived TV fiascos that fill die-hard fans with expectation then disappears through lack of reaction, viewing audience etc. Shot between a foot and mouth outbreak and 9/11, Dr Terrible was doomed from the start. Some BBC bastard gave it the finger after a mere 6 episodes. As an homage to 1960s/70s British horror movies the series is chock full of in-jokes and references. But each episode comes down to one particular style. Where the series’ genuine pleasures lie are in its far richer gags, the ones which make the more acute references. [Read more…]

School For Scoundrels (1960 UK)

Before satire was written by Oxbridge public school boys for Oxbridge public school boys, British comedy writers believed their audience intelligent enough to appreciate gentle irony without stamping on their heads. The English humourist Stephen Potter enjoyed great success in the 1950s with his books “Gamesmanship”, which ironically advised sportsmen on “how to win without actually cheating”, chiefly by using psychological ploys to unsettle their opponents, and “Lifemanship” and “One-upmanship” which advocated a similar attitude to life in general. The central idea is that Potter, not content with merely writing books, has actually opened a College of Lifemanship in Somerset in order to teach his philosophy. [Read more…]

Stripes (1981 USA)

Psycho: “The name’s Francis Sawyer, but everybody calls me Psycho. Any of you guys call me Francis, and I’ll kill you.” Leon: “Ooooooh.” Psycho: “You just made the list, buddy. Also, I don’t like no one touching my stuff. So just keep your meathooks off. If I catch any of you guys in my stuff, I’ll kill you. And I don’t like nobody touching me. Any of you homos touch me, and I’ll kill you.” Sergeant Hulka: “Lighten up, Francis.” The movie is basically trying to make the Army the way Police Academy made the Police look. Dumb and unbelievable. The plot is shabby, the characters are thin and of course guys love this flick. A nude woman within the first few minutes of the film. Two scenes involving multiple nude women. Bikini mud wrestling. The DVD even throws in even more gratuitous nudity than the original contained. [Read more…]

Do We Have A Live Audience Tonight?

I like a good impersonator of famous people from way back. And this guy is a real trouper, whoever he is, as its so unfashionable to take off oldies like Ed Sullivan (who?!) or President Nixon these days. Love those cool arm gestures in particular. So, it you wanna hire him just call the number on the screen. Two and a half minutes of awkward magic – all the way from Branson, Missouri. Where senior citizens bring their parents to have a little fun….

A Bit Of Fry & Laurie ( UK 1987–1994 )

neddy-and-jackCambridge graduates Fry and Laurie would, by their appearance and elocution, fit the bill of upper class twits perfectly. And certainly a lot of the humour on offer in this series does test your sense of subtlety to the limit. But these two pithy academics also seem to have an interest in lampooning the lower classes they seem to have less in common with, so the humour covers a wider section of society than those this might be slightly more aimed at. You can see where David Mitchell and Robert Webb got their idea of a sketch show from. These two chaps. The usual gripe, that is common to most sketch shows of the time, is the unnecessary inclusion of musical numbers, but that aside its a thoroughly enjoyable show. [Read more…]

Blackadder I (1983)

blackadder-iThis is the first series of “Black Adder” and the only truly great one. The scripts are masterpieces of TV comedy writing – one belly laugh after another, and all perfectly structured plotwise, while at the same time being bizarre, original and very intelligent, without resorting to the pointless unfunny absurdity of lower quality Python. There are too many highlights to single out any particular episode or scene. They are the finest thing Richard Curtis or Rowan Atkinson would ever write. [Read more…]

The League Of Gentlemen (1999 – United Kingdom)

amazonHello, hello! What’s all this shouting going on? We’ll have no trouble here. I’m only flesh and blood. Can’t keep writing reviews totalling hundreds of words. Not enough time in the day and all that. So, it goes without saying I give the LOG an absolute thumbs up. Its brilliant. It’s what satire should be. Out of ten I give it twelvety. If you love sick, twisted, cross-dressing comedy with nods to Britain’s proud Gothic tradition, this should be right up your alley. And yes, there is a Swansea (I should know as I was born there)…and there are other places too. [Read more…]

Bridget Jones Baby (2016)

bridget-tMy landlady ordered me to accompany her to this lovefest playing at our local fleapit. Twenty dollars later and I’m still coming to terms with what exactly happened. The laughter from the audience, mostly females, and of a type (middle class, white, not exactly poor, never to see their 38th birthday again…you know the ones) caused me to cringe at their un-coolness. They were the type who laugh at anything that is slightly different, in action or intention, to what is a social norm’ expectation. I didn’t think people like that existed anymore. [Read more…]

Married With Children (1987 – 1997 USA)

mwc-1The World According to Al Bundy:” You think I’m a loser? Because I have a stinking job that I hate, a family that doesn’t respect me, and a whole city that curses the day I was born? Well, that may mean loser to you, but let me tell you something. Every day when I wake up in the morning, I know it’s not going to get any better until I go back to sleep. So I get up. I have my watered-down Tang and my still-frozen Pop Tart. I get in my car with no gas, no upholstery, and six more payments. I fight honking traffic just for the privilege of putting cheap shoes onto the cloven hooves of people like you. I’ll never play football like I wanted to. I’ll never know the touch of a beautiful woman. And I’ll never know the joy of driving through the city without a bag over my head! But I’m not a loser. Because, despite it all, me and every other guy who’ll never be what they wanted to be, is out there, being what we don’t want to be, forty hours a week, for life. And the fact that I haven’t put a gun in my mouth — you pudding of a woman — that’s what makes me a winner baby!” Perhaps the greatest speech in TV history. [Read more…]

Confessions From A Holiday Camp (1977 UK)

confessions from a holiday campTwas the first day of August, a Monday I believe, when a momentous event in the annals of cinematic history took place. The Confessions film series bid a fond farewell to the public. Knickers down, trousers unzipped, so tawdry and gleefully smutty, on display for one final glorious outpouring. This was a franchise with a bigger box office than James Bond in England. Surely it had to give something worthwhile to the viewer? Apart from VD. [Read more…]

%d bloggers like this: