Monday, October 19, 2009

Fawlty Towers

I JUST ORDERED A CHRISTMAS PRESENT FOR MYSELF. HOW ELSE TO BE SURE? Because this morning the most perfect choice popped up: FAWLTY TOWERS: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION. All 12 episodes, from the first(1975) to the last (1979). Why does it seem like so many more? Could be my viewing habits: all reruns, all the time. But not frequently enough. Now that is about to change. I'm laughing already.
Basil Fawlty, played by the incomparable John Cleese is the proprietor of a rather run down hotel, Fawlty Towers, in Torquay. Cleese and Connie Booth, who plays Polly Sherman, co-wrote the show. Polly is a waitress, but her diverse activities show her to be the voice of sanity amidst the usual chaos at the hotel. Fawlty is usually at or over the boiling point. If he can blow his top, he always takes the opportunity to do so. With everyone, except the guests, who are subject to his obsequious insincerity.
Sybil Fawlty, ( Prunella Scales), is Basil's wife, usually overdressed with amazingly anti-gravitational hair. She's the reality check for Fawlty Towers, the brains that allows it to run at all. Basil has referred to her, because of her laugh, as " you rancorous, coiffured old sow". But never to her face.
And the beloved Manuel, (kisses to Andrew Sachs), as the always confused waiter from Barcelona. He hasn't really got a nodding acquaintance with the English language, poor soul answers each statement with que? what? Verbally and physically abused by Basil, he manages to always remain cheerful and enthusiastic for the next blow. Why is this funny? I'm not a sadist. Honestly. Slapstick of the highest or lowest order. No description by me can do this justice.
In a list of the 100 greatest British Television Programs in 2000, Fawlty Towers came in first. Merry Christmas to me!


Tess Kincaid said...

Uh-oh. You, too? I might just have to order myself a set of Farty Towels, as well. And don't mind me, I'm from Barcelona.

Kat Mortensen said...

Hi Lyn,

I have the whole set on dvd. Love Basil Fawlty and Sibyl as well.
Favourite eps: "The Builders" and "The Rat", but they are ALL good, aren't they.
Basil and Sibyl's relationship and the quips between them are CLASSIC!
Good choice for a Xmas present to oneself, I say!

Lyn said...

Hi Willow-
Shoulda known it..last year they had a sort of salute on PBS..with Andrew Sachs doing the intros..did you catch it? I always laugh like a fool!

Lyn said...

Hi Kat-
Maybe this is a new edition..I don't know the names of the when Basil goes nuts trying to trap the guy with the "girlfriend" in his room..and Sybil with the mumps..on and on..

Karen said...

Oh I love that show and Keeping up Appearances, As Time Goes By and Are you Being Served? I use to watch them all on PBS when I was living in Windsor and getting Buffalo stations on my antenna.

Lyn said...

Hi Karen-
I think "Are you being..." and "As time goes by" are still on PBS. But it's Fawlty that always got me!

Jeane Myers said...

I started laughing as soon as the photo of the cast loaded - it's just a classic!

Lyn said...

Hi Jeane-
Priceless indeed..always gets me too!

A Cuban In London said...

You're bang on! It always seems to be a series that goes on forever and that's because of the reruns. Falwty Towers was one of my first exposures to British humour over here and I loved it. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Lyn said...

Greetings to a Cuban-
This is so universal..what a perfect cast! Thank you...


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