Thursday, July 26, 2018

TV Review: Fawlty Towers Season One (1975)

Fawlty Towers Season One (1975) by John Cleese and Connie Booth

John Cleese (of Monty Python fame) stars as Basil Fawlty, the owner of a small hotel in England. He's always looking for ways to improve his clientele and the hotel's status. He can't get enough upper crustiness. The problem is he's got a big temper and very little competence. And he's cheap. Why take the car to a garage when you can sort of fix it yourself? But there's the whole competence issue. And when the car fails at a critical moment, why not find a tree branch and take out your frustrations on said car? Fawlty is also henpecked by his wife (who has a much better head on her shoulders). And he takes the uppercrust routine too far with his condescending attitude toward Polly, who serves in the restaurant and does other duties as assigned. He has an even worse attitude toward Manuel, a Spaniard who is a bellhop/waiter but has a huge language barrier. Fawlty thinks he knows Spanish but can't say anything right, leading to a lot of comic misunderstandings. The hotel has some regulars (a major from World War II and two old ladies) and a lot of different clients coming through.

The series is pretty funny but some of the comedy is a bit awkward and dated. Basil is really awful to Manuel. Some things he does are more cringe-worthy than hilarious. Occasionally the obnoxious behavior is too over-the-top and just looks cruel or annoying. On the other hand, lots of routines are hilarious and Cleese is adept at both physical comedy and verbal comedy.

If you can handle the 1970s sensibilities, this is a fun show.

No comments:

Post a Comment