My Top Ten Sitcom Episodes

When my exasperation with the issues of the day becomes too much to contain I have often sat down to write. This week I have aborted three blogs on why we desperately need a change of government. Instead of ploughing on I spent time with my family which made me much happier. On two occassions I sat down with our son and watched two of my favourite episodes of situation comedy and felt even better. So I thought I would divert myself for an hour looking up clips of my other favourites rather than try again. These are “in no particular order”:

Keep Young & Beautiful – Dad’s Army

mainwaring and wilsonThe very definition of “classic comedy” is this scene where Mainwaring decides to try to make himself look younger with a wig. Lowe and Lemesurier are brilliant in this scene.

Series 2 Episode 6 – Rev

One of my favourite series of recent years, this episode is difficult to illustrate through one clip although this one where Nigel (the excellent Miles Jupp), who is applying to be a priest, describes a clearly imaginary girlfriend is illustrative of why the programme is so good. It’s funny but also full of pathos and challenges attitudes inside and outside the Church. This episode is the one where Archdeacon Robert is barred from becoming a Bishop because he won’t terminate his partnership with another man.

Curb Your Enthusiasm – The Sky Lift

Often not for the faint hearted, this clip is perfectly safe. For reasons too long to go into here, Larry is pretending to be an Orthodox Jew to ingratiate himself with a doctor. The doctor’s daughter is on to him.

Police Squad – Rendezvous at Big Gulch (Terror in the Neighborhood)

Very silly with an extraordinary gag count – check out the keys on display in Frank Drebben’s locksmiths shop that is the front for a Police Squad operation. This is the episode with that line; “Who are you and how did you get in here…?”

I’m Alan Partridge – The Colour of Alan

partridgeFollowing running sarcastic criticism from Alan, the country club tighten up their security prior to Dante Fires annual event that he is hosting. Having forgotten his pass, he attempts to vault the railings to enter. “You take your foot off the spike first Lynn.”

Laurel and Hardy – Busy Bodies

OK, not strictly a sitcom but, in my opinion, central to their development. Nearly a hundred years old but the physical comedy in this episode has never been beaten.

The Simpsons – Homer’s Enemy

GrimeyThe Simpsons is a sitcom and one of the very finest. New power plant employee Frank Grimes has noted that Homer Simpson seems to sail through life with the minimum of effort and it increasingly gets to him until… Plenty of the marvellous Montgomery C Burns in this episode.

Fawlty Towers – Mrs Richards

I can’t find a clip of my very favourite part of this magnificent episode, when the Major forgets what he has done with Basil’s winnings (“Memorial service? Don’t remember that old boy”) so I’ll have to make do with the view from the window…

Father Ted – Kicking Bishop Brennan Up The Arse

Sadly, very little of this episode is available on YouTube but it is very easily accessed on 4OD. If you haven’t seen it, you must. Bishop Brennan is Father Ted’s terrifying boss and visits Craggy Island with his sidekick Father Jessop, “Ireland’s  most sarcastic Priest” just in time for Ted to make good the foreit of a bet which requires him to…

Blackadder Goes Forth – Goodbyeee

You could make a case for almost any episode of any of the four series of Blackadder but this means more to me than any of the others. In the early 1990s I took part in a trip as part of my degree course to Belgium and France. We watched the first five episodes of this series while travelling on the coach to visit the WWI battelfield at Vimy Ridge. After a sobering visit to the preserved trenches we put on the final episode as we wound our way home. The silence (and tears) in the coach when the credits rolled will always live with me.



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