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Some British TV comedies of last 20 years

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Logan View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Logan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 20 2017 at 12:51
I watched a clip off youtube from Outnumbered, which was a painfully awkward and uncomfortable talk between father and son, which definitely resonated with me as a father, so I will look into it more. The Brits are great at doing the comedy of embarrassment (Extras being a very good example). I've come across the name, but on the surface of it it didn't seem like one that I would have been particularly into at the time.

Since I live in Canada, not many of these have I noticed on TV, and our Netflix has a limited Britcom selection. I used to have BBC iPlayer, which helped, and I've had to look to other means to see most of these shows. Commonly the way I discover music, TV, film, novels, podcasts, documentaries and other items of interest is I find one thing I like which leads me to discover other related media. Currently comedy is not so much my thing, although I am looking forward to the upcoming dramedy "Inside No. 9" episodes. So this bloggy topic sort of represents that.

I discovered Extras and The Office on TV, as well as Black Books, and watched some Little Britain there (wish I'd put Big Babies in its place which I watched on BBC Kids). After getting turned on to AD/BC: A Rock Opera, I looked for more Matt Berry stuff (so Darkplace followed by Man to Man with Dean Learner, followed by Snuff Box and Toast of London because of Matt Berry, followed by my big interest in Matt Berry's music -- listened to The Pheasant ten times yesterday). The Thick of It I watched because of Peter Capaldi joining Doctor Who largely. Brass Eye was thanks to discovering The Day Today, which I loved, on youtube, which I discovered because I was looking for an episode of the Onion series Today Now. I discovered Psychoville since googling found it when doing a search for dark shows such as the mind-blowing for me Utopia and Black Mirror, plus black dramedies such as Misfits. That led me to League of Gentlemen and Inside No. 9. The terrific Nathan Barley was mentioned in another comedy thread here and I could see that it would appeal to my dark tastes.

When it comes to comedy, like most series, I prefer to binge watch. If I love something I tend to want to watch as much as possible in a short time. One things I often like about Brit series is that the runs are more limited than successful American ones. Although too limited in various cases, where I really wanted another series/ season. I hate it when shows seem to finish prematurely -- more episodes are not ordered or when they are cancelled, and maybe cause my tastes are generally not that mainstream, it seems to happen quite a lot (Utopia and In the Flesh being prime examples). Rant, I hate Coronation Street and it seem like our public national broadcaster has been consistently showing it longer than I've been alive (hated that show as a child, and I hate it just as much now), and I wish they showed better British fare.

Already since I made the topic, my list would be rather different (and yes, again, Black Mirror is not a comedy, but is listed as a dramedy in a British comedy guide, so I thought it would be mildly humorous to add it to the list). I wish we had better services for British TV here. I used to get BBC Canada, but it's not as good as BBC in the UK and has Canadian content requirements. Plus many Channel 4 shows have been so good (ITV was superb), but we don't get lots of them (at least we got dramas such as Utopia on Space)....

Anyway, love to have the recommendations keeping on coming in -- be good to have little descriptions to come with them or links to youtube clips etc. I should have done that for all of these shows to make it easier for people to discover stuff that might be of interest to them, but know that as a pessimist my tastes tend to run to the darker side, and I often have an appreciation for the surreal and absurd.

Edited by Logan - February 20 2017 at 12:58
"The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They donít alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit the views" (Doctor Who - The Face of Evil, Jan 22, 1977).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Atavachron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2017 at 01:09
I like a nice binge myself though I tend to stretch it out over a few days (staying up 'till 5am to finish a series won't do).   I too often wish my favorite Brit shows would last longer but I remind myself it may be why the quality is so high, and the ones that last forever I don't really like (Poirot, etc.)

For non-comedies I was enjoying Scott & Bailey and right now I watch Shetland and occasionally Foyle's War.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2017 at 02:59
Originally posted by Logan Logan wrote:

I watched a clip off youtube from Outnumbered, which was a painfully awkward and uncomfortable talk between father and son, which definitely resonated with me as a father, so I will look into it more. The Brits are great at doing the comedy of embarrassment (Extras being a very good example). I've come across the name, but on the surface of it it didn't seem like one that I would have been particularly into at the time.
That's the advantage of not scripting the children's lines so they are more naturalist and as you say, painfully awkward and uncomfortable - an adult writing words around an uncomfortable topic for a kid to say would sound false and contrived. That's what irritates me about standard family sit-coms when a kid says something cute/smart/witty/profound that you know they'd never have said in real life even though kids come out with cute, smart, witty and profound things all the time.

The writing team for Outnumbered first came to prominence with a sitcom called Drop The Dead Donkey that ran for most of the 1990s, ending in 1998 so just squeezes into your 20 year time-span. Their innovation for that programme was its topicality as it was set in a TV News room so scripts were rewritten at the last minute to include current news stories. The humour from that tended to fairly dark as a consequence and, since it was based on real events, more relevant than The Day Today (IMO). 

It's available on Netflix, in the UK at least, but a few episodes are on YouBoob:


(watching that now it seem fairly topical some 27 years later...)



Edited by Dean - February 21 2017 at 03:00
"You know what uranium is, right? Itís this thing called nuclear weapons. And other things. Like lots of things are done with uranium. Including some bad things. But nobody talks about that."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Logan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2017 at 11:26
GEGS! A scrambled eggs cryptic crossword clue from that show that stuck with me (I used to love to do cryptic crosswords), and I still exclaim GEGS regularly to this day (it's become my personal swear word). As a child I could not pronounce Gregory so called myself Geggy, then was nicknamed Gegs, and later neurotically self-nicknamed "EggiweggsGegs and Lomticks of Toast" cause I was quite the Droog, I suppose.

I used to love Drop the Dead Donkey -- watched it regularly until I left for Japan in the mid 90s, and then had my parents mail me recorded tapes of it.     It was a terrific show, and is definitely one of my favourite comedies of the 90s. I'm sure I still have lots it on VHS in the house. It would be fun to-watch and I must have missed quite a few episodes.
"The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They donít alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit the views" (Doctor Who - The Face of Evil, Jan 22, 1977).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pixel Pirate Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 23 2017 at 04:54
Amazing! Ever since I saw that episode of Drop The Dead Donkey I have also used GEGS! as a personal swearword. Henry walking around saying GEGS! throughout that episode just stuck in my mind and since then whenever I'm annoyed I find myself saying GEGS!! I thought I was the only oneBig smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 23 2017 at 05:24
Off topic because what I'm about to post is Old Harry's Game, a radio sitcom by Andy Hamilton of Outnumbered and Drop The Dead Donkey Fame, but it's worth a listen if you enjoy his humour:


"You know what uranium is, right? Itís this thing called nuclear weapons. And other things. Like lots of things are done with uranium. Including some bad things. But nobody talks about that."
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