Friday, January 04, 2008

Which of your babies do you love most?

This took me ages. No really, AGES. Mostly just swapping back and forth the numbers, how can you order them?! It was hard enough getting it down to 10.’s what I’m on about...

Tex won Countdown Conundrum 2! Woooo!

Conundrum – GUNKFREEE
Answer – FENUGREEK (Yeh, I reckon he cheated)

He chose this as blog ‘topic’ (for ‘topic’ read ‘essay title’)

“The top ten best written TV shows of all time and why they were/are still popular and what made them great (use appropriate Harvard referencing*)”

So here is my blog in reply......

Hello everyone...

Well first of all Tex, I’m going to say that we should see popular and well-written shows as necessarily synonymous. So I’m drawn between two lists really; Top 10 most popular shows of all time, or the ten most well-written/best-written shows of all time.
This is a mammoth task Tex, you (lovely) bastard... Especially considering I don’t watch much television, apart from comedy. So I’m going to refine it a little more and do a list of top 10 comedy TV shows and what made them great, and why they are/were/aren’t/weren’t popular.

I’ll do it in reverse order to give it a late-night-channel4-oh-hurry-up-what’s-number-one feel to it!

Oh and please bear in mind that “of all time” in this essay will be taken to mean “of Sophie’s lifetime or that she has been recommended and so looked up”. I haven’t, for example, ever seen Hancock’s Half Hour, so wouldn’t know where to place it.

10 - Bang Bang! It’s Reeves and Mortimer! /Catterick
I had to put Vic and Bob in here. You may have noticed I’ve cheated a little by putting two shows. That is because I thought Bang Bang! was their best. I could do a whole blog on all each of these shows individually, so this is HARD! Maybe I should have had this as my dissertation title... :p
Yes, anyway! Bang bang saw V&B at their height, their character performances were fabulous alongside their Morecambe and Wise style ‘chatting’. Though Morecambe and Wise with slapstick. This is the main reason I put Vic and Bob in here. They brought slapstick back. You might argue that Bottom did, and it’s true, but for ME, Vic and Bob made it really funny and really original. Catterick is there as well because it’s written so smartly. There is still their ‘silly’humour, but there’s more to it than their previous stuff. If you haven’t seen it, SEE IT!

9 - Alan Partridge.
AHA! He started off as a character in On The Hour then showed up in The Day Today etc. He was great in these, but think lost it a little with Knowing Me, Knowing You. But he made up for this manymanyfold with I’m Alan Partridge. In both series, in the hotel and the caravanette, there are lines that will make you crease up that pepper a well woven catastrophe. It’s beautiful. Car crash sitcom at its best. Crash! Bang! Wallop! What a sitcom!

8The Office.
I seem to have placed The Office higher than Alan Partridge. Not sure why I did that really. I suppose it’s better is it? Oh I don’t know!!! Stop making me choooose. This is hell. Tex, I’m gonna get you!!

7 Marion and Geoff.
Series 1 is a work of art. I seriously think it’s one of the best comedies ever. Hence it being in the list. Had the quality of the show stayed so high, this would probably have been number 2, or 3. Or even 1. The episodes in series 1 were 10 minutes long. On the DVD you can watch them all in one go. It’s like watching a film; the credits only play after the last episode. It is so beautifully crafted, and although I might be breaking a rule slightly because a lot of it is improvised, the story archs so gorgeously and so movingly over the series. I implore you to watch the series in one go, and not cry at the episode where he goes to Disneyland. You MUST see this. Series 2 is good, very good, but doesn’t have quite the same emotional attachment to its central character, Keith Barrett. The Keith Barrett you see in The Keith Barrett Show is quite another thing, and I think the less said about that the better. Also quick mention to Human Remains, Rob Brydon’s show with Julia Davies around the same time. And Babycow overall. What legends.

6 -League of Gentlemen
Well what to say. Wow. Each time I get to write here, I think , no THIS is my favourite. My favourite series of League of Gentlemen is definitely series 3. It’s like a huge portmanteau film. With dark comedy. It’s great, and ties together at the end....if slightly forced. They’re just fab. And Mark Gatiss should write more Doctor Who. But that’s by the by.

5 – Seinfeld.
Well hello there, it’s the first American comedy. I think this is probably the finest American TV Comedy ever...or is it...?.... It paved the way for copycat shows, including Friends. George Castanza and Kramer remain two of the best characters EVER. Racist or not. It is also the sole entry in the list for Larry David. Sorry curb fans, I thought it was too improvised and too much performance and celebrity to be in a best WRITTEN comedy list. I know, I know, Marion and Geoff, but leave it alone.

4 – Monty Python’s Flying Circus
Had to be there didn’t it! I’d say this is in here more for originality than writing finesse. Personally I much prefer their films. Nothing beats Life Of Brian.

3 - Peter Cook and Dudley Moore “Not Only...But Also”/Goodbye Again
Nothing beats the genius of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. Unfortunately the very best stuff of theirs is on stage (you can get some on dvd) and on audio (Derek and Clive Get the Horn, and the Minor sketch are personal favourites). Still, there are some GREAT, really GREAT sketches on these shows, and maybe one day they will release the whole lot on dvd rather than another “best of” for those of us who weren’t there the first time around.

2 - The Day Today/ Brass Eye
Should I really have put these above Peter Cook and Dudley Moore? I think it’s fair to. As a television show I think it is superior. (Aside note: if you are a Cook and Morris fan you should definitely have heard Why Bother, and if not why not?!) Morris’ language choices are quite simply the finest ....ARRRGH he’s amazing!
So what’s at number one? Don’t peek! You did didn’t you? You cheater.

1 - The Simpsons
I put The Simpsons at number 1 of this list because it has 3 things that nothing else in the list has all 3 of. HUGE popularity, FANTASTIC writing and LONGEVITY. (Last of the Summer Wine had longevity remember...) There’s nothing I can say about The Simpsons that everyone doesn’t know already so I shall just pray my favourite clip is on youtube......
No it’s not. But here’s a selection of good’uns.

The one I was looking for was
Marge[to Homer in bed] – “Kids can be so cruel”
Bart[overhearing] – “We can? Thanks Mom!”

In conclusion –

What I have written is pretty much a mutant child of your original question but hey, I had fun. So much for saying why they are/were/aren’t/weren’t popular. I think I may have mentioned it a little, but mostly it was me raving about my favourite shows.

Hey ho!


pisheog or pishogue (Irish) n sorcery; superstitious nonsense. [Ir piseog]




(I got this one pretty quickly....)

Again YOU can choose my blogging subject! You could give me your dissertation title perhaps? Then get done for plagiarism and I’ll win.

So yes, comment away with conundrum answers and argue with me about my list! I look forward to it.

Byee! I’m tired I should have gone to bed last night.....

Sophie x

*I added this. I’m so cheeky. You know I’m grateful really!


Blogger Tex said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Tex said...

You liar! What took you the longest was making that poster, I bet.

Blogger Sophie said...

No!!! That took about 5 minutes. What took the longest was deciding the order. I'm still not really happy with it...

Blogger Tex said...

And Hancock's Half Hour *is* pretty funny :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it palatable, if so put that on your tongue and taste it.

Blogger Dan said...

Thanks for the comment, I felt it was the best one so far as well.

Damn Swpnil for getting there with the answer before me!

I liked the list though you missed out one of my favourite shows, Father Ted.

Blogger Tex said...

Never fear, Father Ted made it on to my list on the topic, available here:


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