As I am a person who was born, bred and resides in the UK you would think that my selection of my Top 5 Situation Comedies would be all British. Well as soon as I started to give this subject some thought I realised that may not be the case.
With the anarchic Basil Fawlty, played by John Cleese, running a Bed and Breakfast style of hotel in Torquay the scene is set for some fun. Fawlty Towers ran for a brief period of time but thirty odd years later it is as funny as ever and re-run constantly. The chacters are hilarious and the main actors terrific. However what ensures Fawlty Towers classic status is the additional characters and the silly, farcical plots. If you like your humour to be over the top, Fawlty Towers could be for you.
8 Simple Rules, for dating my dauther.
I love this American family comedy. The family has changed somewhat over the years, notably after the death of John Ritter, who played the long suffering Dad. Initially the family consisted of Mom and Dad with two teenage daughters and a young son. Whether or not you have children you should be able to relate to 8 Simple Rules. Dad worries about his daughters constantly. One is an air head bimbo who attracts far too much male attention, whilst the younger daughter is a serious, studious sort of girl. All of this cauuses him problems. In the latter series James Garner joined the cast to play the live in Grandad and the family was complete.
The humour is gentle in some ways but pertinent. With varying age groups involved it is the sort of comedy which will appeal to all ages.
UK comedy series Porridge was an unlikely success. Set in a British prison the title Porridge refers to a stretch in prison. Prisoners refer to a jail term as doing Porridge. This series was so much funnier than it may sound. With comedian Ronnie Barker, in the role of Fletch the loveable rogue, Porridge was a runaway success. As another 70s comedy it should be past its sell by date but modern audiences still howl with laughter when re-runs are aired on televsion.
Kelsey Grammar takes the lead role in this American comedy. As Frasier, a pyschoanalyst come radio presenter, he is perfect. The comedy is subtle and adult in an educated sort of way. There is no slapstick as such here, although there are many truly funny moments. Frasier shares his apartment with his retired father and his Dad's errant dog, Eddie. Niles, Frasier's snooby brother and the attractive housekeeper complete the main cast.
The Good Life
Finally a classic 70s situation comedy. The Goods, Tom and Barbara, live in snooty surbiton. There neighbours are very snobby but the Goods get on with them, on the whole. As Tom approaches a milestone birthday, namely his fortieth things are set to change.
Tom and Barbara decide to try their hands at self sufficiency. They are not planning on moving though but starting to grow food and keep animals in their Surbiton home and garden. The Good Life has dated somewhat, more in fact than other comedies. I think this is partially because it was very much of its day. The fashions have dated and so have the sentiments. The show is still very funny though as long as you look beyond the window dressing.
There you have my top five. Probably all are no longer being made but all are constantly re-run as they were so very good.
If you are interested you should be able to pick up sensibly priced DVDs of all the series mentioned here. Two things that this article has shown me though is that there are too many good situation comedies to just pick five and that they don't make them like that any more.