Tuesday, June 13, 2006

From Across The Pond

Mom asked me the other night why I liked watching British comedies on PBS. After a bit of stammering around, I realized I don’t really know!

Most of the Brit coms on PBS are dated, silly and their accents, coupled with the bad audio tracks synonymous with 30+ year old productions, means I often lose a good portion of the dialogue. I’ve seen most episodes one million times and they tend to come on later at night when I would rather be in bed.

But I love them!

There has never been a program funnier than Vicar of Dibley. As Time Goes By is great. Ballykissangel was my obsession during its run. Are You Being Served is so campy it’s unbelievable. And Hyacinth is always good for a laugh. There are many more, too. Chef is cool. Waiting for God is sophisticated and witty. Last of the Summer Wine is completely quirky and sweet. Fawlty Towers is so stupid you have to laugh.

I’ve been watching Brit coms since 1991. That’s when I discovered them on KLRU, which is probably why I originally fell for them – they were on PBS. For so many reasons I’m a public television fan but I’ll save that conversation for a later day.

There is a comforting quality about Brit coms to me – they have always aired on Saturday and Sunday nights – and they’ve really kept me company over the years. I like having them on in the background when I’m puttering around the house. It’s rare that I sit down and actually watch them start to finish – I’m usually doing other things, stopping to watch a minute or two every so often. It’s like checking in on old friends. But I still crack up at Mrs. Slocum’s colored hair and pity poor, whipped Richard.

There’s a timeless quality about many of the Brit com series, kind of like I Love Lucy or The Andy Griffith Show. I think that certain British comedies – like Are You Being Served – will always be popular, no matter how many years pass, just because there is a uniqueness and over-the-top-quality there that has never really been duplicated.

While I couldn’t take a steady dose of these schtick-filled shows, I do need them in small bits here and there so cheerio and happy viewing, mate!


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