Season two of Gavin & Stacey begins with the happy couple returning from their honeymoon and moving in with Gavin’s parents (Larry Lamb and Alison Steadman) in Essex. At the same time the bomb has dropped that Nessa (Ruth Jones) is pregnant and Smithy (James Corden) is the father. Read more…
The O household has felt a bit plaguey of late. All three O’s have been struck down with varying levels of flu, which has left us a bit flat. It’s also meant that concentration levels have been low and we’ve been looking for some comforting, low energy viewing for the brief hour or so we’ve managed to stay awake past dinner. This lead us to revisiting one of our favourite late noughties sitcoms, Gavin & Stacey. Read more…
After last week’s Top 10 British comedy series last week I thought I should feature my top 10 US comedy series. Generally I prefer British comedy to American, mostly because British comedy is just that much more risque. However there are a few US comedy series that really crack me up. Here they are.
That 70s Show
Years on: 1998 – 2006
Starring: Topher Grace, Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Laura Prepon
The premise: Eric Forman and his group of friends grow up in Wisconsin in the 70s
Best character: Kitty
Best episode: Garage Sale
“[Kelso just told Jackie a list of embarrassing things he’s done in his life, in an effort to be honest]
Michael Kelso: Oh, and that time we were about to fool around, and you asked me if I washed my hands, I had just actually finished playing with six dogs. Oh, but that’s not nearly as bad as the time…
Jackie Burkhardt: OK, Michael. Enough. You know when I talked to you about honesty? Let’s talk about SELECTIVE honesty.
Fez: And basic hygiene.”
The Big Bang Theory
Years on: 2007 –
Starring: Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting
The premise: Aspiring actress, Penny, moves in over the road from two physicists and gets sucked into their nerdy world.
Best character: Sheldon
Best episode: The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis
“Sheldon: I’m not crazy. My mother had me tested!”
Years on: 1994 – 2004
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt Le Blanc, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer
Premise: Six friends experience love, life and more in New York
Best character: I’ve always said Phoebe but I am realising that all my favourite moments feature Joey
Best episode: The One Where Ross Got High
“Phoebe: So let’s say I’m the interviewer and I’m meeting you for the first time. Okay. Hi. Come on in, I’m uh, Regina Philange.
Chandler: Chandler Bing.
Phoebe: Bing, what an unusual name.
Chandler: Well you should meet my uncle, Bada.
Chandler: I’ll let myself out.”
Years on: 2009 –
Starring: Ed O’Neill, Sofía Vergara, Julie Bowen
The premise: The three very different branches of the Prichett family may not always agree but they’re always there for each other
Best character: Phil… but I love Gloria… and Mitchell, who I am just like.
Best episode: Open House of Horrors
“Gloria Delgado-Pritchett: There is the mark of the devil in our family. My great-great grandfather found an emerald mine, and sold his soul for it.
Jay Pritchett: Is there any paperwork to prove this?
Gloria Delgado-Pritchett: On my great grandmother’s wedding day, a large bird picked him put and carried him off.
Jay Pritchett: Did you realize that a remarkable number of your stories end with a family member being carried off by a giant bird?
Gloria Delgado-Pritchett: I only say what I am told.
Jay Pritchett: I’m just saying, by the third time we might think about moving the party inside.”
The Office (US)
Years on: 2005 – 2013
Starring: Rainn Wilson, Steve Carell, John Krasinski
The premise: The weird and wonderful happenings at the Scranton Office of the Dunder Mifflin paper supply company
Best character: Dwight Schrute
Best episode: Dinner Party
“Dwight: I wish I could menstruate. If I could menstruate, I wouldn’t have to deal with idiotic calendars anymore. I’d just be able to count down from my previous cycle. Plus I’d be more in tune with the moon and the tides.”
Parks and Recreation
Years on: 2009 –
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt, Nick Offerman
The Premise: The trials and tribulations of the Pawnee Parks and Recreation Department
Best character: Ron Swanson
Best episode: Pawnee Zoo
“Ron Swanson: I call this turf ‘n’ turf. It’s a 16 oz T-bone and a 24 oz porterhouse. Also, whiskey and a cigar. I am going to consume all of this at the same time because I am a free American.”
Will & Grace
Years on: 1998 – 2006
Starring: Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally
The Premise: Interior designer, Grace shares an apartment her gay best friend, Will.
Best character: Karen
Best episode: Lows in the Mid Eighties
“Karen: [on hiring Jack to play a straight man in a commercial] No one in the world would believe you’re straight. You’re as gay as a clutchpurse on Tony night. You fell outta the gay tree, hitting every gay branch on the way down. And ya landed on a gay guy… and ya did ’em. No, no, honey, your gayness can be seen from space.”
Beavis and Butt-Head
Years on: 1993 – 2011
Starring (voices): Mike Judge, Dale Revo, Tracy Grandstaff
The premise: The adventures of white trash best friends, Beavis and Butthead as well as their commentary on music videos and later reality TV
Best character: Beavis
Best episode: Steamroller
“Beavis: Hey Butt-head, is it normal for the inside of your bunghole to itch?
Butt-head: Beavis, it’s not even normal to ask.”
Years on: 1997 –
The premise: The celebrity studded very politically incorrect adventures of the inhabitants of South Park
Starring (voices): Trey Parker, Matt Stone
Best character: Cartman
Best episode: Pandemic & Pandemic 2
“Kanye: There are a lot of people out there making up rumors about me that are malicious and untrue. But I’m going to prove once and for all: I’m not a fish. Because I am a genius, I’ve ascertained that fish have gills. [a doctor steps up next to him] Doctor, do I have gills?
Doctor: He does not have gills.
Kanye: You hear that? No gills! So I can’t be a fish. And I’m a genius voice of a generation so I’m not gay! So that is that! Alright?! It’s over! Now are there any questions?
Reporter 1: Do you like fishsticks?
Kanye: Love ’em!
Reporter 2: You’re a gay fish. [a third reporter laughs and soon the rest of the room is laughing]
Kanye: No I’m not- AAAARGH! [grabs the sides of the podium and shakes with anger]”
2 Broke Girls
Years on: 2011 –
The premise: Flung together by bad fortune two very different waitresses try to get enough money together to start a business
Starring: Kat Dennings, Beth Behrs, Garrett Morris
Best character: Max
Best episode: And the Broken Hip
“Caroline: Invade your privacy? You shave your junk with the door open.
Caroline: To the apartment.”
British TV has a really strong tradition of comedy, especially of the more off the wall kind, which is really quite different from US TV comedy. Being married to a Brit, I’ve been lucky enough to be introduced to a number of older shows that I probably would have missed out on because they were on before I moved to the UK. Fortunately almost all of these shows are available on BBC, iPlayer, Netflix, 4OD or Amazon Prime for you to enjoy. These are my 10 favourites.
The Fast Show
Years on: 1994 – 2000
Starring: Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson, Simon Day, Mark Williams, John Thomson, Arabella Weir and Caroline Aherne
The premise: A sketch show where most of the preamble is dispensed with and the punch line hits almost immediately.
Best character: Where do I even start? Probably the news readers from Channel 9.
Best episode: The final one where Johnny Depp visits the suit shop.
“Billy Bleach: She was half woman, half fish. Terrible in the kitchen, but a bloody good swimmer.”
The Mighty Boosh
Years on: 2003 – 2007
Starring: Noel Fielding, Julian Barrett, Michael Fielding
The premise: The surreal adventures of best friends Vince Noir and Howard Moon
Best character: The Moon
Best episode: Call of the Yeti
“Vince Noir: [grabbing book] Look at this one!
Naboo: Don’t touch that!
Vince Noir: All right! Easy!
Naboo: This is black magic. This is hardcore. Don’t mess with the occult.
Vince Noir: I thought it was good for you.
Vince Noir: Well, you know, good for your digestive system.
Naboo: That’s Yakult!
Vince Noir: Oh, yeah…”
Years on: 2007 -2014
Starring: Hugh Dennis, Claire Skinner, Tyger Drew-Honey, Daniel Roche, Ramona Marquez
The premise: What makes this family sitcom stand out is that it’s part improvised so the kids say the most hilarious things
Best character: Karen
Best episode: Cousin Julie’s wedding
“Karen: How can you not like somebody you’ve never met?
Sue: Good point, Karen.
Karen: Yes, you should only hate people you know.
Sue: Ye… er…
Karen: Like Miss Braybrook.
Sue: But you love Miss Braybrook! She’s the reason you’re Christian!
Karen: Not any more, that’s all rubbish.
Pete: Rubbish is a bit harsh.
Karen: I don’t believe in God anymore, I’m a Satanist.
Pete: I think that’s an atheist. Satanists…do things to goats.”
Years on: 2003 – 2013
Starring: David Mitchell, Robert Webb, Olivia Colman
The premise: Roommates, Jez and Mark are total opposites but somehow their friendship seems to survive all their terrible adventures, which we get to watch from both of their perspectives.
Best character: Super Hans
Best episode: Mark’s stag do
“Jez: There’s only so much happiness in the world and they’re hoarding it all!
Mark: That’s not how happiness works! (It completely is.)”
The Morgana Show
Years on: 2010
Starring: Morgana Robinson, Tom Davis, Ninette Finch
The premise: I don’t think anyone but Paul and I watched this bonkers sketch show but I love ever moment of it
Best character: Gilbert
Best episode: All of them
Years on: 2000 – 2004
Starring: Jack Davenport, Gina Bellman, Sarah Alexander, Kate Isitt, Ben Miles, Richard Coyle
The premise: Six friends navigate romance, relationships and life
Best character: Jeff
Best episode: The End of the Line
“Susan: Well, you know what it’s like at the start, when they’re all fiery-eyed, and eager, and they haven’t seen you naked yet. And it’s like he’s smashing at your door with his mighty battering ram. And he’s promising to ravish you forever. So you brace yourself for man overload, and throw open the doors, and what do you find standing there? An oversized toddler who wants his dinner. And before you can say, “There’s been a terrible mistake,” he’s snoring on your sofa, the fridge is full of empty bottles and the whole place smells of feet.”
How Not to Live Your Life
Years on: 2007 – 2010
Starring: Dan Clark, David Armand, Leila Hoffman
Premise: Dan inherits his grandmother’s house and would have a great future ahead of him if he didn’t keep making such terrible decisions.
Best character: Treacher
Best episode: Don Meets His Maker
“Don Danbury: [repeatedly during sex] Can I have my job back?
Maggie: [repeatedly] No
Don Danbury: [about to ejaculate] Can-I-have-my-job-back?
Maggie: [climaxes] Yes!
Don Danbury: So, shall I start Monday morning?
Maggie: Start what!
Don Danbury: My job, you said I can have it back!”
Years on: 1999 – 2001
Starring: Simon Pegg, Jessica Hynes, Nick Frost
Premise: Tim and Daisy move into a flat together where they have to pretend to be a couple… endless pop culture infused shenanigans ensue.
Best character: Marsha
Best episode: Art
“Daisy: Right, I’m going to the shops. D’you want anything?
Daisy: Tim, I’m not going to buy you porn. You can get it from railway sidings like everybody else.
Tim: I can’t, I’m an adult. I’m supposed to leave it there.”
Years on: 1983 – 1989
Starring: Rowan Atkinson, Tony Robinson, Hugh Laurie
Premise: The adventures of Blackadder and his faithful servant, Baldrick, throughout history.
Best character: Baldrick
Best episode: Beer
“Blackadder: I seek information about a Wisewoman.
Young Crone: Ah, the Wisewoman… the Wisewoman.
Blackadder: Yes, the Wisewoman.
Young Crone: Two things, my lord, must thee know of the Wisewoman. First, she is… a woman. And second, she is…
Young Crone: You do know her then?
Blackadder: No, just a wild stab in the dark which is, incidentally, what you’ll be getting if you don’t start being a bit more helpful. Do you know where she lives?
Young Crone: Of course.
Young Crone: Here. Do you have an appointment?
Young Crone: Well, you can go in anyway.
Blackadder: Thank you young crone. Here is a purse of moneys… which I’m not going to give to you.”
Years on: 1995 – 1998
Premise: The surreal adventures of a group of priests living together on the remote Craggy Island with their housekeeper Mrs Doyle
Starring: Dermot Morgan, Ardal O’Hanlon, Frank Kelly, Pauline McLynn
Best character: Father Jack
Best Episode: A Song for Europe
“Father Dougal McGuire: I’ve never met a celebrity before.
Father Ted Crilly: You met the Pope.
Father Dougal McGuire: Did I?
Father Ted Crilly: Yes, do you not remember that time we were in Rome?
Father Dougal McGuire: That was the Pope? That old fella living in the art gallery?
Father Ted Crilly: The Vatican, Dougal! The Vatican!
Father Dougal McGuire: Still, he’s not a celebrity in the true sense of the word.
Father Ted Crilly: He’s God’s representative on Earth, Dougal!
Father Dougal McGuire: You’d think he’d be taller.
Father Ted Crilly: You mean like a giant?”
Honourable mentions: League of Gentlemen, Little Britain, The Inbetweeners, Gavin & Stacey, That Mitchell and Webb Look, The Office
Jen and I were chatting the other day about my proposed trip to Sydney next month (still proposed because I haven’t had my visa back yet although the Australian High Commission has relieved me of £45 so a decision one way or the other must be imminent) and how our tendency to go off on tangents when we’re together may result in us paying no attention to the road on our travels and getting lost. Somehow that meandered into the territory of SatNavs and how lame the voices are. We are now convinced that there is a lot of money to be made in the idea of themed SatNav voice-overs (© Abbi and Jen… 16/30/2009). Picture it:
- Yoda: Turned towards the dark side you have. U-turn you must make when next possible.
- Mr T: I pity the fool that turns left at the next junction. I ain’t getting on no motorway!
- Doctor Who (David Tennant edition): In 100 yards turn right. There you go. Aren’t you brilliant? Look at this view? Should we take a detour? I wonder what’s on the other side of that hill.
- Vince Noir: Turn left at the next… ooh what’s that over there? It looks shiny. Leroy told me if you run over a peacock while you’re driving, they explode and glitter comes out of them and you can use it to give your hair more volume. Personally I prefer root boost but…wait where were we going again?
- Ozzy Osbourne: Shaaaaron, which fucking way is this place again?
- Movie voice-over guy: Coming up over the next hill is the most incredible roundabout you have ever seen. Not one will you turn left once but you’ll turn left twice and when you get to the next intersection nothing will ever be the same again.
- Paris Hilton: Like if you turn right in 100 yards, that’s hot.
- Clint Eastwood: You could turn right in 200 yards but the question you have to ask yourself is do I feel lucky today?
- Simon Cowell: Is this supposed to be a joke? Your choice to turn left was not the right one. To be honest this is probably one of the worst journeys I’ve ever been on and your car doesn’t even belong on the road. You should have it scrapped.
- Vicky Pollard: Yeahbutnobutyeahbut…warraya asking me for what direction we should go in, yeah? Stacey Smith said that Jayleesha said I stole her boyfriend but you can’t prove nuffink anyway I wasn’t even at the park I was down Lidl with Josh nicking fish fingers to put in your glove box so like whatever.
Got some more? Come on, bring it!