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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 05:42 pm:   

This is a subject very dear to my heart.
Here's my opinion of the best sitcoms from each era:

1950s/60s . . . . . . Sgt Bilko (US)
50s/1960s/70s . . . Steptoe & Son (UK)
60s/1970s/80s . . . Fawlty Towers (UK)
70s/1980s/90s . . . Blackadder (UK)
80s/1990s/00s . . . Seinfeld (US)
90s/2000s . . . . . . Curb Your Enthusiasm (US)

Plenty to argue about there Im sure
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 147.252.230.126
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 06:01 pm:   

I'd say Seinfeld is the over-rated one there.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 213.158.199.77
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 06:25 pm:   

Stephen - some interesting choices, but I'm definitely with Proto on Seinfeld. I'm going to go and think about this because it's a very interesting area of opinion.

A lot of my friends in Poland are American and they have very few home grown comedies they admire. They are all huge fans of Brit comedy stretching back to The Goons, Monty Python, The Young Ones, Red Dwarf, League of Gentlemen, Fawlty Towers, Black Adder, The Office. But they have laid claim to the best comedy cartoons. Don't think we can argue with them on that call.
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Steve Jensen (Stevej)
Username: Stevej

Registered: 07-2009
Posted From: 82.0.77.233
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 06:28 pm:   

The US comedy I liked best was Married with Children.
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.178.83.10
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 06:46 pm:   

...and I'd certainly put Hancock's Half Hour against Steptoe any day - in fact, Galton & Simpson claim HHH to be the first UK sitcom, for what (little) that's worth!
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.178.83.10
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 06:46 pm:   

And I'd put Bottom above Seinfeld!
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 218.168.188.223
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 06:52 pm:   

I don't think Seinfeld was overrated at all - it's brilliant (back me up here, Zed!).
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Kate (Kathleen)
Username: Kathleen

Registered: 09-2009
Posted From: 93.96.181.75
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 07:18 pm:   

Seinfeld. **yawn** But definitely agree with the genius of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Overall, though, Brit humour rules!
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 147.252.230.126
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 09:03 pm:   

"And I'd put Bottom above Seinfeld!"

Seconded!

Do we have a turd?
"Eddie! That's disgusting! Oh, I see what you mean."
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 147.252.230.126
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 09:05 pm:   

15 STOREY'S HIGH is a little gem. Not the best of the decade, but it's so overlooked that the title now seems ironicalistic.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 147.252.230.126
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 09:06 pm:   

From the 50s, I quite like THE HONEYMOONERS, but yes, BILKO is still fresh and funny today.
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 82.38.75.85
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 09:36 pm:   

For some reason, I never seem to "get" American humour. I can't honestly think of one US sitcom I'd put in my top 10.

Most of my favourite sitcoms come from an earlier era. I agree with Steptoe, Fawlty Towers and Blackadder, and add:
Dad's Army
Are You Being Served
'Allo 'Allo
(sorry, I'm a David Croft fan)

Along with:
Porridge
Open All Hours
Only Fools and Horses
Vicar of Dibley
Yes Minister/Prime Minister

I'm sure there are more ...

Basically, I watch UK Gold TV a lot!
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 82.38.75.85
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 09:39 pm:   

Having said that about US sitcoms, there are some I remember fondly from my childhood - The Munsters and The Addams Family spring to mind.

But nowadays if I watch US, or even UK, sitcoms I just can't understand what people are laughing at. I don't seem to understand the humour any more. I wonder if it's an "oldie" thing?
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Steve Bacon (Stevebacon)
Username: Stevebacon

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 90.204.111.246
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 09:47 pm:   

What, no Rupert Rigsby?
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Barbara Roden (Nebuly)
Username: Nebuly

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 142.179.19.195
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 10:24 pm:   

I'd certainly put YES MINISTER/PRIME MINISTER in any list of top ten U.K. comedy shows I drew up, and would be tempted to add BLACK BOOKS, each episode of which is a masterclass in introducing bits of comedy 'business' and then having them all come together at the end. FAWLTY TOWERS is a given, as is BLACKADDER.

I don't know U.S. comedy series as well as I know British ones, but would have to put CHEERS and FRASIER right up there and, going back a ways to my youth, ALL IN THE FAMILY (yes, I know it was based on a British original, but it's one of those rare series that survived the transplant and flourished on a foreign shore).

I haven't watched much SEINFELD, but what I have seen left me distinctly underwhelmed. 'A comedy about nothing'. Well, they got the nothing right.
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.178.83.10
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 11:02 pm:   

Ooh yes, Proto - 15 STOREYS HIGH - "come wipe yer hands on me COAT"!

Can't stand Vicar of Dibley! Yech!
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.178.83.10
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 11:03 pm:   

Three most overrated comedies:-

1 - Vicar of Dibley
2 - Only Fools and Horses (apart from the first series or so, which was all good stuff)
3 - Last of the Summer Wine (apart from etc etc)
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.178.83.10
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 11:04 pm:   

...and as for MY FAMILY... ARGH!!!!!
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 89.19.80.240
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:22 am:   

I agree with every word you said there, Mick.

Yes, how could I forget YES (PRIME)MINISTER?

After its first season, the American version of THE OFFICE is actually very good indeed.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 89.19.80.240
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:27 am:   

My list would be something like...

60s George Formby? Jesters? (before my time)
70s Fawlty Towers
80s The Young Ones/Bl'adder
90s (Slim pickings in the 90s... Friends? Mad About You?)
00s The Office (UK)
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.16.78.68
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 01:09 am:   

Know absolutely nothing about UK sitcoms... I'd say about 75% of those listed here, I've never even HEARD of, let alone seen....

For the U.S., I just want to put in another vote for CURB as a great sitcom. And a shout out for the quite funny, manic-crazed THIRD ROCK FROM THE SUN.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 147.252.230.126
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 10:17 am:   

Oh, revised version for you to laminate and keep.

70s Fawlty Towers
80s The Young Ones/Bl'adder
90s Father Ted
00s The Office (UK)
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 10:24 am:   

Porridge is the best sitcom of all time, IMHO.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 10:31 am:   

Seinfeld is great, if you can get past Jerry's big-haired, buck-toothed hideousness. Cheers remains the best US sitcom for me, though.
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.22.228.92
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 11:01 am:   

I absolutely love Are You being Served. The spin-off Grace and Favour had its moments but couldn't live up to the original series.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 11:09 am:   

After much thought I've decided to change my mind on the 1970s... 'Rising Damp' ever so slightly pips 'Fawlty Towers' especially if all four series are watched in the order they were made (also the film version is much better than it had any right to be).

So here it is for me:

UK: Hancock's Half Hour - Steptoe & Son - Rising Damp - Blackadder - Father Ted - The League Of Gentlemen.

US: Sgt Bilko - Bewitched - The Odd Couple - Cheers - Seinfeld - Curb Your Enthusiasm.

That seems about right!
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.22.228.92
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 11:10 am:   

Although A Touch of Frost isn't exactly a comedy show, I adore David Jason's cynical observations.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.131.109.157
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 11:13 am:   

90s; One Foot in the Grave. Is it really so forgotten?
Only Fools was so bathos filled I couldn't bear it, and it certainly ended for me when they found that watch. Writers beware - know when things are done!
I've only seen and really laughed at a few Senfields but never felt compelled to watch it again.
Steptoe over Hancock, though! I've great memories of watching it with my dad as a kid and thinking, Oh Christ... It was just so painful and real, that show.
Um, isn't Seinfeild actually a bit good looking?

(Um, all my spellings of Senfeld are intended btw)
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.131.109.157
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 11:14 am:   

And Bilko - I was a kid when this was on but couldn't bear it - all close-ups squawking. It used to feel like two hours long, with laughter drowning it out. Don't hang me though - these are childhood memories, and we know what they're like.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 11:18 am:   

90s; One Foot in the Grave. Is it really so forgotten?

Not by me, Tone! It's brilliant - the best of that era, and one of the best ever. I bought the box set recently as I missed the show originally, and have been watching every episode in order.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 11:26 am:   

'Seinfeld' is pure comedy genius with more depth, subtlety and sustained character development to it than any comparable sitcom.

I can't stress enough that it has to be seen in chronological order rather than isolated episodes seen completely out of context. Half the humour (and I'm talking belly laughs here) of 'Seinfeld' comes from knowing the characters so well and watching their reactions to the ingenious situations Larry David and the other scriptwriters put them in... we're talking truly inspired comedy gold here in virtually every episode over 9 Seasons!!

What is more the humour is unreservedly adult and taboo-breaking in the subject matter it routinely tackles and is also incredibly dark for a primetime US sitcom. The four principals (not to mention all the brilliant incidental characters) really are as hateful and narcissistic a bunch as has been seen on the small screen which makes their friendships/rivalries all the funnier and more convincing - forget 'Friends'!

I used to be a 'Seinfeld' nay-sayer as well and retrospectively rediscovered the show on DVD after falling in love with 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'. I recommend you all do yourselves a huge favour and follow suit...
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.131.109.157
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 11:27 am:   

Strange bloody show, isn't it? You seen the end yet, and the xmas special? I hated them - not because they were bad, but - ah, I won't say.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.131.109.157
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 11:29 am:   

Hey! We crossed!
I'll give Snefiled a go then.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.131.109.157
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 11:30 am:   

And wasn't it a deliberate 'anti' Friends? (btw I liked Friends)
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 213.158.199.101
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 11:44 am:   

Of the newsish crop of British comey I'm a huge fan of Peepshow.

"What do you mean you wouldn't let me drink your piss. I'd drink yours."

Enough said.

Or: "He's not just a bloke in a shirt, he's the orgazoid."

My fave of the 1970's is The Rise and Fall of Reginald Perrin, which I believe has a lot in common with 'One Foot In The Grave', in that the central characters share the same world weary pessimism.

The episode of One Foot In The Grave where they are stuck in a traffic jam on a bank holiday has been held in high regard by comedy writers both sides of the Atlantic as a lesson in quality and superior writing. OFITG wasn't for me, but I do admire the writing.

Black Books wasn't bad, quite funny, but bored me after a while.

League of Gentlemen for me is one of the true standouts. But it's also one of the best horror programs to grace the small screen.

Porridge was also groundbreaking for all the obvious reasons.

Allo Allo: As Alexi Sayle said "how bleedin' funny, the Nazi occupation of France...hilarious meal-time entertainment..."

Sorry, Caroline, you know I love you...still.

Hated any of the other Croft shows. Again, sorry Caroline. They belong with this group of wretched shite: Benny Hill, Dad's Army (yes, I dare), Keeping Up Appearances, Never the Twain, and that piece of misbegotten excrement, To The Manor Born. Even Robin's f**king Nest had more funnier moments than Croft and Co.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.131.109.157
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 11:47 am:   

I caught up with On the Buses recently - the tv series. A bit more human than the films but still oddly chilly, written by what must have been the quite mean, sexist spirits of the time.
And is it me or is Olive quite fanciable now, in a quirky kind of way? She has a sort of Daniel Clowes look about her...
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.131.109.157
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 11:50 am:   

I don't really 'like' much new comedy. I liked the IT Crowd on it's reruns; it actually grew in funny stature with retrospect. And though it's patchy I quite like that thing with the family on bbc, the ones where the kids say shocking stuff. But has anyone seen School of Comedy? That lad off Rambow is in it, on channel four. I think it's sexual abuse.
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Steve Jensen (Stevej)
Username: Stevej

Registered: 07-2009
Posted From: 82.0.77.233
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 11:51 am:   

Father Ted: forget the catchphrases, the joy is in the surreal humour without the contrived and awkwardly self-aware surrealism much modern comedy possesses.

There are lines - subtle, throwaway but deeply funny - that only Irishmen could write:

Ted, looking 'round the museum of Nazi memorabilia a fellow priest has collected:

"It's funny how you become more right-wing as you get older..."
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.131.109.157
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 11:52 am:   

Yeah, Ted is wonderful. I loved that Father Stone episode.
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 11:55 am:   

Allo allo is fantastically, childishishly funny. the english cop with the bad French accent was one of my favourites, how they got away with so much swearing just because he was "supposed" to be saying something else was quite astounding

"I was just pissing ze cafe and i zawt I weed le ye noo zat ze English have bummed ze train"

If someone can find the "candle with the handle on the gateau from the chateau etc" speech on youtube, plerase post it.

Comic genius...
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 11:56 am:   

Somehow I'm not suprised that show appeals to your sense of humour, Weber... ;-)
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Steve Jensen (Stevej)
Username: Stevej

Registered: 07-2009
Posted From: 82.0.77.233
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 11:59 am:   

Somehow I can't imagine that, in future years, we'll be watching comedies based on the occupation of Iraq or Afghanistan. Though it wouldn't surprise anyone if this actually came about.
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Steve Jensen (Stevej)
Username: Stevej

Registered: 07-2009
Posted From: 82.0.77.233
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:01 pm:   

Just realised - I wonder if ^that^ is telling, somehow? I've inadvertently compared
the Allied forces with the Wehrmacht/Nazis...
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.131.109.157
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:03 pm:   

I thought it was already happening? Was Three Kings such a film?
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:05 pm:   

Three Kings was a bit more sophisticated than Allo, Allo, Tony. Not really a comedy per se, either. Good film, IMHO.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 213.158.199.101
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:10 pm:   

I think Weber's a comedy genius just trying to wind us up.

Steve - just emailed, pal.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 129.11.76.229
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:11 pm:   

'Allo 'Allo lasted longer than World War II.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.131.109.157
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:12 pm:   

Comedy does heal, though. The sooner we laugh at a situation the sooner it goes away.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.131.109.157
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:12 pm:   

And Heartbeat lasted twice as long as the sixties did themselves.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.131.109.157
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:13 pm:   

Gary! Where you been!
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:14 pm:   

One of the longest running US sitcoms of all time was MASH. War is a suitable subject for comedy. You listed Blackadder as one of your favourites Steve. Remind me again where the 4th series was set. To say that AA isn't funny because of the setting but to preaise Blackadder is a contradiction.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.131.109.157
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:14 pm:   

'Comedy does heal, though. The sooner we laugh at a situation the sooner it goes away.'
Unless it's depression, in which case it tells everyone it's ok to get depressed... :-(
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:15 pm:   

MASH lasted nearly 3 times lionger than the war it was set in.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.131.109.157
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:16 pm:   

That run of Blackadder was awful. Depressing, as it should have been, but not right somehow.
Like Doctor Who this week, which I presume no-one liked; tired and sad in equal measure, and nothing else.
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Steve Jensen (Stevej)
Username: Stevej

Registered: 07-2009
Posted From: 82.0.77.233
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:17 pm:   

Oh, I enjoyed 'Allo 'Allo, like I would a pantomime when young. It does trouble me that, to a large extent, the series humanised the inhumane but this is the way people have 'dealt' with monsters, real and imaginary, for centuries.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 129.11.76.229
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:17 pm:   

Tony, I been working me bollux off. Off everywhere and back again. Thanks for noticing my absence. :-)
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:19 pm:   

Doctor Who was phenomenal this week. RTD and his co-writer did a great job, and Tennant has rarely been better.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.131.109.157
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:19 pm:   

I did - I was just thinking about you yesterday, and feeling sad you weren't here and no-one saw. It happens, that, though. Glad you dropped by. :-)
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.131.109.157
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:22 pm:   

But suicide, in Who? It sent a shot of psychic misery into me so I don't know how badly it affected any sad kids... I don't think I would have let that episode out if I was RTD, to be honest.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 213.158.199.101
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:34 pm:   

Weber - come off it, pal. There's a great big distinction between Allo Allo, and Blackadder series four.

Don't bite my head off, but Blackadder used comedy in this series to underpin the 'futility of war', whereas Allo Allo simply wasted the chance to say anything constructive at all.

Allo Allo belongs to the song and music hall variety of comedy, which for a very long time relied on racist and xenophobic sentiment to bolster its dubious entertainments. And yes, I'm well aware this form of comedy was appropriated by other nations.

But to be honest mate, I simply think it was the mainstay of middle-class England comedy tastes which put it on the air in the first place. Rows of cabbages all lined up and laughing their Marks and Sparks socks off.

And no, I'm not putting you in that camp. Just an observation.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 129.11.76.229
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:35 pm:   

>>>and feeling sad you weren't here and no-one saw

I know. The miserable bar stewards!

Never mind, I've been all over Europe saving the world . . .
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:41 pm:   

But Steve's criticism was about the series was that the setting automatically made it unfunny. To say that after praising Blackadder 4 is a contradiction. Fair enough if the humour is too juvenile for your taste, but it ain't the setting that makes it good or bad.

I personally love the show - not even a guilty pleasure.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 213.158.199.101
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:43 pm:   

Besides, other programs set during a period of war tend to use it to criticize, whereas 'Allo Allo, in my opinion was doing nothing of the sort. Blackadder won the World Peace Award in 1999 for its last ever episode in recognition of reminding people of the cost and horror that war brings about. I know my language here tends to be rather melodramatic, but I am honestly trying to make a rational point.

Perhaps my class conscious observation was wrong. I should have left class out of it, since I'm always harping on about the useless of bringing class upbringing into arguments about 'art'. Not that I'm classifying semi-naked pantomime women and lisping Nazi's as art.

I'll stop before I put any more of this foot in my mouth.
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:44 pm:   

"whereas Allo Allo simply wasted the chance to say anything constructive at all. "

It's a comedy. It's supposed to make us laugh. We don't need deep messages in it. I found it (and still do) one of the funniest beeb sitcoms so it does it's job perfectly for me.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 213.158.199.101
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 01:09 pm:   

Then fair enough. You're right, it doesn't have to contain anything 'deep'. But some of the best stand-up comedy, for instance Bill Hicks and Lenny Bruce, and some of the blackest comedy in literature, Catch 22, plus countless TV comedies like Blackadder, are at their best when they are addressing 'something' serious, something 'deep'.

And Steve's point was not really about the setting, but about the circumstances under which the comedy is set. He was talking about a country under occupation.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 01:12 pm:   

Can't Weber just like something without having to defend his taste? .
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 129.11.76.229
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 01:19 pm:   

>>>Perhaps my class conscious observation was wrong. I should have left class out of it, since I'm always harping on about the useless of bringing class upbringing into arguments about 'art'. Not that I'm classifying semi-naked pantomime women and lisping Nazi's as art.

Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once: don't take a sledgehammer to a walnut.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 213.158.199.101
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 01:21 pm:   

I think Weber's a big boy. He can stand up for himself. Besides, I'm only stating an opinion and making an observation. Last time I checked this was Ramsey's website, wasn't it?
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 82.38.75.85
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 01:32 pm:   

Oh dear, I thought I might put the cat among the pigeons with my mention of 'Allo 'Allo. OK, I know it's politically incorrect, but I guess I was brought up in an era of un-PC comedy - when we just liked a good laugh without worrying about deeper meaning too much - and I found 'Allo 'Allo hilariously funny. I've been to see the stage show 4 times (original cast, mostly) and it's the funniest thing I've ever seen on stage. I went away with tears rolling down my cheeks, and feeling superb (a good belly laugh is really good for you, apparently).

No-one's going to put me off 'Allo 'Allo - it was brilliant. But then I enjoy pantomime for its innocence and pure fun too ...
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 82.38.75.85
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 01:37 pm:   

Besides, how can people call 'Allo 'Allo xenophobic? It pokes fun at EVERYONE - French, German AND especially the British.

Similarly, the "digs" at women and homosexuals are done in such a way that you know it's satirical. In the same way that Till Death Us Do Part wasn't actually racist because we were really laughing at the bigoted racist idiot that was Alf Garnett, then I see 'Allo 'Allo as laughing AT racism, sexism, etc.

On another note, how could I forget One Foot In The Grave and Rising Damp? Superb!
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 82.38.75.85
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 01:39 pm:   

.. and you boys, chill, please. This is a thread about comedy - we want a good laugh, not a fight.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 218.168.190.92
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 01:57 pm:   

Welcome back, Gary!
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 02:01 pm:   

"But some of the best stand-up comedy, for instance Bill Hicks and Lenny Bruce, and some of the blackest comedy in literature, Catch 22, plus countless TV comedies like Blackadder, are at their best when they are addressing 'something' serious, something 'deep'. "

And Road runner and Tom and jerry and anything buy Roger Avery manage to be be hysterically funny without anything deep - apart from those crevasses that Wile E Coyote falls into.


"Can't Weber just like something without having to defend his taste? ."

I've not been defending my taste on this thread. Just questoning some statements that didn't seem relevant to whether the programme was funny or not.

On other threads I've been criticised for my taste so therefore I've had to step up.
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Seanmcd (Seanmcd)
Username: Seanmcd

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 86.151.243.114
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 02:17 pm:   

Seeing the funny elements in even the darkest of situations is what helps us cope with inevitable human suffering.
In Northern Ireland we had a locally produced comedy series,in the eighties,called 'Foreign Bodies' about the relationship between a Catholic girl and her Protestant boyfriend. This was during the height of the 'Troubles'. At work the next day me and my colleagues (from different backgrounds) laughed and talked about the previous night's episode whilst no doubt some extremists were planning murder. A more recent local NI series 'Give My Head Peace' has been running for well over a dozen series poking madcap fun at all sides.

Just look at Roberto Benigni's wonderful 'life is Beautiful' using comedy in, and to pull through, the very blackest of situations.

In fact, I could say comedy is at it's very best when used with inheritently bleak situations.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 147.252.230.126
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 02:22 pm:   

"Like Doctor Who this week, which I presume no-oneliked; tired and sad in equal measure"

Funny, it was so bad nobody even put up a post saying how much they disliked it. RTD has lost the ability to see when a story is fundamentally undramatic. Exploding sparks are not dramatic. Music is not dramatic. Drama is dramatic.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 147.252.230.126
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 02:23 pm:   

Priest [on Lovely Girls Compeition winner]: "We had to strip her of her title, Ted. She was in a film called "Stallion Farm". I heard it was a bit rude."
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Steve Jensen (Stevej)
Username: Stevej

Registered: 07-2009
Posted From: 82.0.77.233
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 02:56 pm:   

A number of comedy series I loved, as a child, are now considered politically incorrect, racist even. I refer to such programmes as Mind Your Language, and Love Thy Neighbour. Yet these programmes taught me that racism is a fundamentally idiotic thing; the shows' characters also taught me that 'foreigners' are sometimes better people than one's compatriots; 'Allo 'Allo showed me that there is good and bad within peoples of all nations.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.131.109.157
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 03:00 pm:   

Love Thy Neighbour wasn't racist - the character was! And barely, at that. It shocked me when there was that reaction to it.
I did love the voodoo episode, though, the bloke dancing naked round the tree. One of the biggest laughs of my childhood.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 03:40 pm:   

As regards 'Love Thy Neighbour'... people nowadays have lost all sense of perspective. It actually was one of the funniest British sitcoms of the 70s and shared many of its strengths with my own fav 'Rising Damp'.

How come one gets off scott free while the other is relegated to "of sociological interest only".

A bit like that great anti-bigotry movie 'Gentleman's Agreement' I watched at the weekend (by coincidence).

One sobering moment in a movie about anti-semitism was when a Zionist and a pro-Palestinian started discussing who was most racist?!?! In the 1940s!!!! Will people never learn...

We're all human beings [apart from the Mule... what a scary character!] and the two emotions that make that truth most stark are fear and laughter. Profound or what.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.74
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 04:12 pm:   

"And Road Runner and Tom and Jerry and anything by Roger Avery manage to be be hysterically funny without anything deep - apart from those crevasses that Wile E Coyote falls into."

I'm guessing you meant Tex - or maybe not?

On the original theme, let me nominate Outnumbered for this decade.
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 04:21 pm:   

Yes, I meant Tex. Whoops. Only one can of tesco cheap redbull substitute and one lemsip when I wrote that so I wasn't quite awake yet.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 218.168.190.92
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 04:22 pm:   

I hadn't heard of this series before, so thank you for the tip, Ramsey!

A series I greatly enjoyed that was cancelled prematurely a few years back was the inventive, affecting Wonderfalls. I know Simon (#1) is a fan - anyone else seen it?
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 82.38.75.85
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 04:41 pm:   

Oh yes, Outnumbered! One of the few recent comedies I've seen which is excellent - both funny and poignant in equal measure. Those kids (especially the little girl) are brilliant actors.
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 05:39 pm:   

Let's not forget the Inbetweeners for recent comedy

"Plenty more clunge in the sea"

or Extras.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 05:46 pm:   

I've believed for nearly 10 years now that we are living through a golden era of situation comedies (on both sides of the Atlantic) that are both hilariously funny and deeply thought provoking with levels of originality and writing and acting skill the likes of which television has never seen before.

'Curb' tops the lot of them for me...
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 05:55 pm:   

I've seen one episode of Curb. It just seemed flat and lifeless to me and not funny in any way. I think I maybe smiled twice while I watched it.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 06:01 pm:   

Ahh... one of the yet to be converted.

Thought that too for my first few episodes until it all started to click.

I can honestly say no show since Bilko has reduced me to uncontrollable tears as frequently. The humour gets the balance between utter preposterousness and complete truth so exactly right it is well nigh miraculous!

The unforced "flatness" is its very strength imho.
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 06:07 pm:   

I would need to be chained to my chair with my eyes held open with clamps a la Clockwork orange to persuade me to watch another I'm afraid.

I wasted 90 minutes of my life trying to see what was funny about Phoenix Nights and I ain't going to waste more with Curb.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 06:08 pm:   

Both Pheonix Nights and Curb Your Enthusiasm are brilliant, IMHO.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 218.168.180.76
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 06:14 pm:   

The new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm promises to be something special, with the cast of Seinfeld appearing as one of the story arcs, or so I've heard.
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 06:15 pm:   

They do absolutely nothing for me. After 3 full episodes of PN, I still hadn't even smiled once and I was starting to picture myself violently torturing Peter Kay to death for being so bloody irritating with every character he played - and then forcefeeding his corpse to the people who told me that it was the funniest thing ever ever ever ever on telly.

So I decided that for his safety and my staying out of prison that i'd better not watch any more.

And I thought that he played his Dr Who villain exactly like his characters in PN. Another reason why that was one of the worst episodes ever.
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Stu (Stu)
Username: Stu

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 86.29.188.51
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 06:28 pm:   

>>I've believed for nearly 10 years now that we are living through a golden era of situation comedies

It's easy to forget how much good comedy is out there as so much of it is aimed at niche markets and shown on digital channels that not everyone owns. People don't all watch the same TV programmes the way they used to unless it's The X Factor or Strictly Come Dancing so it's easy to miss decent comedy stuff. And because people aren't all watching the sitcoms they don't sit around chatting about them the next day and so it's a lot easier to forget about the stuff that you actually have seen.

Anyway, trying to think what sitcoms haven't been mentioned yet. Scrubs, Roseanne, 30 Rock, Men Behaving Badly, The Good Life, The Likely Lads. Not saying these are the best sitcoms ever just that they have made me laugh.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 213.158.199.97
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 06:35 pm:   

Weber - I wasn't attacking your taste, just that I thought the program was in bad taste. But yes, I admit there are many examples of comedy which do you use bad taste situations to draw out the a more refined and enlightened response. And I agree with you on your Road Runner example. I believe there are many different kinds of comedy, and I'm not somebody who only gets off on 'serious comedy'. I just think that 'Allo Allo doesn't do it. That simple.

Prof - don't be pompous, mate. It's boring. Not to mention condescending.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.106
Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 12:36 am:   

Huw - I've just watched the episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm where Larry somehow ends up dating two women in wheelchairs and gets his ass kicked off Rosie O'Donnell. Priceless. The scene with him trying to make love to "Helen Handicapped" was absoluetely hilarious.

Great, great show.
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.178.83.10
Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 02:07 am:   

Ooh, ooh - one of the bestest US sitcoms ever just HAS to be The Simpsons.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.0.106.15
Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 02:08 am:   

Here's a rundown of the UK sitcoms I know well and would rank:

Hancock's Half Hour/Hancock
Steptoe & Son
The Likely Lads/Whatever Happened To...?
Dad's Army
Sykes
Till Death Us Do Part
The Goodies
Billy Liar
Bless This House
Love Thy Neighbour
The Liver Birds (early years)
Rising Damp
Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em
Porridge/Going Straight
The Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin
Fawlty Towers
Butterflies
Citizen Smith
Sorry!
Only Fools And Horses (early years)
Dear John
Whoops Apocalypse
The Young Ones
Filthy, Rich & Catflap
Bottom
Brass
Blackadder
The New Statesman
Rab C. Nesbitt
Red Dwarf
One Foot In The Grave
Absolutely Fabulous
The Thin Blue Line
Father Ted
The Day Today/Knowing Me, Knowing You/I'm Alan Partridge
The Detectives
Hippies
Spaced
The League Of Gentlemen
That Peter Kay Thing/Phoenix Nights/Max & Paddy
15 Storeys High
Nathan Barley
The IT Crowd
Peep Show
The Mighty Boosh
The Office
Extras
Nighty Night
The Worst Week Of My Life
Saxondale
The Inbetweeners

...bound to have forgotten some.
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 11:40 am:   

"Weber - I wasn't attacking your taste,"

I didn't say you were on this thread.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 12:36 pm:   

And the great US sitcoms:

Sgt Bilko
The Honeymooners
The Beverly Hillbillies
Car 54, Where Are You?
The Dick Van Dyke Show
The Flintstones
The Jetsons
The Munsters
The Addams Family
Lost In Space
Batman
Get Smart
Bewitched
I Dream Of Jeannie
The Monkees
The Odd Couple
M*A*S*H
The Mary Tyler Moore Show/Rhoda/Lou Grant
The Bob Newhart Show/Newhart
Wait Till Your Father Gets Home
Happy Days/Laverne & Shirley
Welcome Back, Kotter
Barney Miller
Mork & Mindy
Soap/Benson
Diff'rent Strokes
Taxi
The Golden Girls
Roseanne
Cheers
Frasier
Seinfeld
Married With Children
It's Gary Shandling's Show
The Larry Sanders Show
The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air
The Simpsons
King Of The Hill
South Park
Futurama
Family Guy
American Dad
Curb Your Enthusiasm

...a strange tailing off into animated only genius there before 'Curb'.
Interesting... think my recent US sitcom knowledge needs beefing up!
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 12:39 pm:   

I forgot Police Squad & Sledgehammer!
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 01:03 pm:   

What about Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp? Does it qualify as a sitcom?
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 213.158.199.83
Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 01:08 pm:   

Weber - and I'm not attacking your taste on other threads. It's just coincidence if I disagree with you sometimes. I've agreed with you on many topics. So I hope you don't take it personally.
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 01:35 pm:   

If I took it personally you'd know about it.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 213.158.199.83
Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 01:47 pm:   

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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 01:51 pm:   

Aye, be careful. Weber's got a black belt. It holds up his pink trousers.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 218.168.189.74
Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 02:31 pm:   

Stephen, you missed Three's Company and The Office in the US list (good lists, by the way).

Zed, I can't remember that episode of CYE - is it in the new series? Larry David is hilarious!
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 02:41 pm:   

I thought it might be, but probably isn't. I've ony ever seen one full series because of the lack of respect paid by schedulers. I can't even seta series link on Sky it's so all over the place... :-(

The series 1-6 DVD box set beckons...
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Darren O. Godfrey (Darren_o_godfrey)
Username: Darren_o_godfrey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 207.200.116.133
Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 03:18 pm:   

Back when I had money, I picked up the entire run of Blackadder, as well as Blackadder's Christmas Carol, and Blackadder Back and Forth.

Funniest sitcom ever produced, in my opinion.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 03:40 pm:   

I've never even heard of 'Lancelot Link' and just looked it up... sounds hilarious in a way only chimps can be.

Anyone here seen the Bilko episode where a chimpanzee gets accidentally conscripted into the Army and no one notices - I once almost choked to death laughing at that one.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 03:48 pm:   

I've seen every episode at least twice - that one's a favourite.

Chimps: nature's stand-up comedians :-)
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 04:03 pm:   

Everyone keeps telling me how good the US version of 'The Office' is and how different from the original version. Must watch an episode sometime.

As for 'Three's Company'... just looked it up and can honestly say this is one show that completely passed me by! Sounds wonderful from the write-ups. I wonder how many other GREAT sitcoms of yesteryear are out there that people haven't seen and would unknowingly love otherwise. A scary and quite wonderful thought!
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.250.11
Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 04:15 pm:   

Just as an aside: it is so weird to think someone in the world actually had to "look up" "Three's Company," Steven - SUCH a giant of a sitcom in the U.S. - its characters and themes have transcended the show, melted into the culture - just always amazing, how two cultures can be so similar and close, and so not....
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.178.83.10
Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 04:16 pm:   

Anyone here seen the Bilko episode where a chimpanzee gets accidentally conscripted into the Army and no one notices - I once almost choked to death laughing at that one.

Yep - "Harry Speakup"!
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 05:21 pm:   

Craig, you likewise really need to catch up on some of those all-time classic British sitcoms.

Comparing the two lists the main difference seems to be that US sitcoms were always lighter but more high concept (or fantastical) while UK sitcoms tend to be darker and more true to life.

Things started to change in the 90s across the water first in the animated series (when boundaries could be pushed and got away with because it was "only" a cartoon) and then increasingly with shows like 'Seinfeld', 'Married With Children' (the true precursor of 'Family Guy' and still funnier) and ultimately 'Curb'. Now I think the Yanks have caught up as far as "anything goes" goes...
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 06:30 pm:   

Has no-one mentioned Curry and Chips?
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 06:30 pm:   

That was a joke BTW
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Stu (Stu)
Username: Stu

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 86.29.191.101
Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 06:40 pm:   

Am I right in thinking that Three's Company is the US version of Man About The House? And that MATH gave us Robin's Nest and George and Mildred?
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 10:25 am:   

Spaced
The Young Ones
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Karim Ghahwagi (Karim)
Username: Karim

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 193.89.189.24
Posted on Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 10:48 am:   

I enjoyed Friday the 13th- the TV series (the 13th Hour)
Henson's The Storyteller
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Steve Jensen (Stevej)
Username: Stevej

Registered: 07-2009
Posted From: 82.0.77.233
Posted on Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 12:08 pm:   

Garth Marenghi's Darkplace.
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 12:50 pm:   

Haven't seen 'Garth Marenghi's Darkplace' but like the sound of it very much.

Zed, they were included and are both favourites.

Karim, are they sitcoms?!?!

Stu, that's very interesting. I've checked and 'Man About The House' spawned 'Robin's Nest' and 'George & Mildred' (enjoyed them at the time but very bland now sadly).

'Three's Company' was the US version which also spawned 'Three's A Crowd' & 'The Ropers' based on the above.
I wonder how the two "trilogies" compare now?
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Steve Jensen (Stevej)
Username: Stevej

Registered: 07-2009
Posted From: 82.0.77.233
Posted on Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 12:53 pm:   

There are a few Darkplace episodes online here, Stephen :-)

http://tinyurl.com/yzfnqyo
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Karim Ghahwagi (Karim)
Username: Karim

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 193.89.189.24
Posted on Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 01:07 pm:   

Sorry, not sitcoms, was just thinking TV series in general
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 01:16 pm:   

I have no recollection of 'Curry And Chips' at all but I'm aware of all the controversy.

Always been a big fan of Spike Milligan and his 'Q' shows in particular. This seems to have been a complete mental aberration.

Anyone remember watching it? Surely with such a quality cast and being scripted by Johnny Speight it can't have been that bad?!
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Steve Jensen (Stevej)
Username: Stevej

Registered: 07-2009
Posted From: 82.0.77.233
Posted on Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 01:40 pm:   

Once again, Youtube comes to the rescue! :-)

Curry and Chips episodes:

http://tinyurl.com/y8udw9f

Q series clips:

http://tinyurl.com/y87ch7o
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.106.220.83
Posted on Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 01:48 pm:   

I recall watching "Curry & Chips"...
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 82.38.75.85
Posted on Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 01:49 pm:   

Stephen's lengthy lists have jogged my memory somewhat. How could I have forgotten Whoops Apocalypse? Rarely shown again (in fact, has it been repeated at all?) but I couldn't miss an episode when it was first shown. Brilliant!

Also, a US one which I'd forgotten but really enjoyed at the time - Soap. I've even got the theme music from that playing in my head now!
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 03:21 pm:   

I forgot the TV version of 'The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy' which was way better and funnier than the hamfisted cinema version.

I always remember John Cleese in 'Whoops Apocalypse' as the master of disguise assassin - a brilliantly sinister creation. One of the most surreal and genuinely anarchic sitcoms ever produced in Britain imho. I wonder is it available on DVD?
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 82.38.75.85
Posted on Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 04:02 pm:   

It looks like it might be available on DVD by next year, Stephen:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Whoops-Apocalypse-Complete-DVD/dp/B000NHG806/ref=sr_1_3? ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1258642607&sr=8-3

That reminded me, it was co-written by David Renwick of One Foot in the Grave/Jonathan Creek fame. No wonder it's so sinister, surreal and anarchic. I might have to get this DVD!
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Stephen Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 04:15 pm:   

Wasn't 'Soap' just pure madcap brilliance!

For some reason my parents frowned upon it as a deeply immoral show that shouldn't be allowed on in the house!! Which gave it that added allure of the forbidden for me. When I think of some of the subjects it tackled it was way ahead of its time for a US sitcom. One I would love to see again.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - 09:49 pm:   

Great news for all serious comedy fans!!

I've just learnt that - at long, long last - Season 1 of the greatest sitcom of them all, 'Sgt Bilko', is to be released in early September!!!! All 34 glorious episodes, with the rest to follow...

I've been waiting for this ever since the invention of the DVD format. Yeehaa!!!!
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.179.37.229
Posted on Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - 09:53 pm:   

Stevie - you've just made my year! Cheers mate! Is this R1 or R2? Not that that matters, unless it's priced high enough to attract tax on import...
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.179.37.229
Posted on Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - 09:58 pm:   

Ah - UK!

http://www.play.com/DVD/DVD/4-/15250234/The-Phil-Silvers-Show-Season-1/Product.h tml
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.179.37.229
Posted on Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - 10:00 pm:   

...and ordered!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - 10:24 pm:   

And at an affordable price as well!! There is a God!!!!
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.179.37.229
Posted on Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - 11:54 pm:   

Could still work out expensive - 143 episodes! If you can't wait 'til September it's also out on R1 on 27th July, but at around 26, which will get taxed and a Post Office charge will be added. Think I'll wait!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Thursday, July 15, 2010 - 12:41 am:   

September will do for me. I'm just glad I resisted the temptation and didn't get that "best of" box set that's been out for a while. All or nothing with Bilko!
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.179.37.229
Posted on Thursday, July 15, 2010 - 01:06 am:   

I bought that a few years ago (presuming you mean the 3 disc set) and it's better than nothing; certainly when I bought it there seemed no likelihood at all of a full release.
Good job The Phil Silvers Show wasn't produced by the BBC - they'd have wiped most of the episodes by now!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.252.126
Posted on Thursday, July 15, 2010 - 12:49 pm:   

A chilling thought... one of my worst nightmare scenarios would be a world without Bilko!

It's far and away the funniest thing I have ever seen on television. The comedy is still every bit as fresh as the day it was first broadcast. Scripts, performances, all those wonderful characters, such a wealth of talent in one show and the sense of sheer fun and spontaneity in the production - genius, the like of which we'll never see again.

Haven't seen any of them in years but the show is a part of my psyche I have such side-splitting memories of it... It's gonna be a good winter!
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Thomasb (Thomasb)
Username: Thomasb

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 69.236.175.57
Posted on Sunday, July 18, 2010 - 10:58 pm:   

A little off topic here, but I've just discovered Mitchell and Webb on BBCA and think they're honestly and genuinely hilarious. Unfortunately, they're not available on Netflix America, so I can only catch them when BBCA thinks to .

My favorite "sitcoms" using rather a broad definition:

"Monty Python"
"The Jack Benny Program."
"Cheers"
"Frasier"
"Barney Miller"

As for "Seinfeld" . . . I get why people like it (esp. George Costanza), but I don't find Jerry Seinfeld funny at all. There seems to be no "music" to him.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, July 26, 2010 - 12:47 pm:   

I used to be one of those people who didn't get 'Seinfeld' either, from the glimpses I caught on TV in the 90s. I only decided to give the show a chance in retrospect having fallen in love with 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'. I collected all the box sets and watched every episode in order over a couple of years. Started off grudgingly respectful, then increasingly amused, then hopelessly addicted and finally raving about it as the greatest US sitcom made since the immortal Bilko. The show is utterly sublime pure comedy gold with hardly a weak episode through all 9 glorious seasons. I've now put myself in the mood to watch it all over again. As for Jerry, I find him the perfect bemused straightman for the other three's insanity and he does have some of the show's funniest moments - "I don't wanna be a pirate", etc...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - 03:58 pm:   

I've been watching 'Sgt Bilko' one a week this last few months and, while brilliant from the start, I'm now halfway through the first season and the show has really got into its stride.

The last two episodes; 'The Transfer' & 'The Rest Cure' are two of the funniest things I have ever watched. Tears running down the face, ache in the side hilarious imho. The chemistry between Ernie & Colonel Hall, in particular, has really kicked in and it is such a pleasure to see the entire cast settled into their roles and firing on all cylinders. The joy of the production fairly oozes from the screen. Pure comedy genius that will never be surpassed on television!
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.176.15.88
Posted on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - 07:44 pm:   

I agree with you, Stevie, although I didn't have so much restraint and watched the whole lot very quickly! I'm a little concerned, however, that there's still no mention of series 2 coming out on DVD; the first series arrived last July, so it's approaching a year since its release now..
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Greg James (Greg_james)
Username: Greg_james

Registered: 04-2011
Posted From: 109.154.147.1
Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 12:53 am:   

I would vote for The Big Bang theory as a great contemporary one from the US. Though I enjoy it because it has aspects to it that I consider to be very British, such as distinctive outsider characters and elaborate farce.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 61.216.44.144
Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 03:41 am:   

The Big Bang Theory is a fabulous show! Great characters, a lot of really inspired scenarios (Sheldon vs. Wil Wheaton, for one) - it's a sort of cross between Seinfeld and The IT Crowd, but that description doesn't really do it justice.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 11:08 am:   

Mick, we know all the episodes survive so hopefully it's only a matter of time before they get released. I can't understand why they wouldn't.

Haven't seen 'Big Bang Theory' but if it's anything like the quality of 'The IT Crowd', nevermind 'Seinfeld' (!!), it must be pretty good.

I find comedy, of all the genres, the one most delineated by personal taste. I mean some people find Abbott & Costello funnier than Laurel & Hardy - and these are sane human beings! While others get nothing out of Woody Allen or think Monty Python is "just silly"... I mean, I ask you!
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.176.15.88
Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 12:47 pm:   

Mick, we know all the episodes survive so hopefully it's only a matter of time before they get released. I can't understand why they wouldn't.

I can - what if the first series didn't sell very well?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 03:31 pm:   

You just sent a cold chill down my spine, Mick, for more than the obvious reason...
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.57
Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 03:34 pm:   

Are you blowing down Stevie's collar again Mick?
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.176.15.88
Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 04:19 pm:   

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Barbara Roden (Nebuly)
Username: Nebuly

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 142.179.12.225
Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 05:39 pm:   

Stevie: our resident computer geek, Tim, loves IT CROWD so much that he cries with laughter when it's on. He just discovered BIG BANG THEORY, and the first episodes he watched elicited the same response; I thought he was going to choke, he was laughing so hard. So I think it's safe to say that if you like the former, you'll like the latter.
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.176.15.88
Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 05:54 pm:   

The IT CROWD had an excellent first two series - the third was good, but a bit patchy - the fourth not that good at all, although it had its moments.
We're currently awaiting the fifth...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Friday, May 06, 2011 - 11:07 pm:   

Just watched 'The Court Martial' for the first time in it must be 30 years and my sides are sore from laughing. Even funnier than I remembered and the performance of that monkey... incredible.
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.176.183.221
Posted on Friday, May 06, 2011 - 11:36 pm:   

Yeah - "Harry Speakup" - the way Silvers pretends to be having conversations with the monkey in the background is hilarious.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Friday, May 06, 2011 - 11:46 pm:   

The whole sequence with Zippy going through the recruitment medical checks had me choking, with tears streaming down my face. The bit where the foot inspector sits staring at the monkey's feet nearly killed me. Now that's what I call comedy. Absolutely hilarious!!

The whole thing was pure perfection - just wonderful.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - 05:13 pm:   

Happy 100th Birthday, Phil, wherever you are!!

Watched 'The Great Uranium Strike' last night - genius.
"Did you feel that?! The only thing worse than termites is quicksand but I know you'll want to go down with the house, Colonel...", etc...
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 129.11.76.229
Posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - 05:20 pm:   

Another genius?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - 05:28 pm:   

As if you have to ask!!!!
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.179.195.21
Posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - 11:02 pm:   

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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.178.81.136
Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - 12:06 am:   

Stevie - bad news mate - guy on the Phil Silvers Appreciation Society emailed a top bod at CBS who told him the company had no intention of releasing season 2 on DVD.
Bastards.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - 12:20 am:   

Feck!! And I've only three episodes left to watch.
I'm sure it will happen with time, Mick, but this is very frustrating news.

I've just recently started watching all of 'Monty Python's Flying Circus' one a week and finally worked out the chrono order of that huge Laurel & Hardy box set - currently up to 'Slipping Wives' (1927). Some consolation at least...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Saturday, June 04, 2011 - 02:04 pm:   

I spent two hours happily quaffing beers in the company of pure comic genius last night. Watched the early L&H short 'With Love And Hisses', 'The Con Men' episode of Bilko, 'The Spanish Inquisition' episode of Monty Python (nearly bust a gut) and topped it all off with this week's 'Psychoville'. Close to being the perfect night in imho.

'The Con Men' is one of the most perfect character episodes of Bilko, in which we get to see him warts and all - at his very worst, checking through the boys mail for cheques or money orders from home and taking money off them to invest in shady deals, and at his very best, moved into righteous revenge by Doberman losing a fortune to a team of con artists in town. However, there is real ambiguity to his motives that gives the character added depth. Is he really affronted for poor gullible Duane or angry because the con artists took the money that rightfully should have gone to him, in the end? His final gesture of giving the con men their train fare back home with a pat on the back, after cleaning them out, shows his understanding of their nature and that he empathises with them and wishes them well in future - just not with his boys. The title doesn't just refer to the team who fleeced Doberman and Ernie has rarely been shown in such an obvious shade of dark grey. Comic genius, and only two episodes left...

By the way, don't ever enter "Sgt Bilko" when searching in Wikipedia... it comes up by default with that fucking Steve Martin abomination!!

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