Thread: Fawlty Towers
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Old 01-25-2012, 05:24 PM   #11
Talon87's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
Posts: 20,548
Just watched Episode 6, "The Germans." It was much more different (and not so German-focused) than I thought it'd be. It was a good episode in general. It got rather extreme both during the fire drill argument and at the end of the episode, but extreme scenarios are where Cleese shines best. The bit where the Major mistakes Manuel for a talking moose was the first scene all series long to get me to do more than crack a smile, and I laughed more than a few times before the episode was over. You could see the moose head's ultimate role in the episode from a mile away but it was still well led up to.

All that praise stated ... I'm still not sure if I'd change my rankings any. At most, I'd swap places between Fawlty Towers and Last of the Summer Wine, but that'd be it. But that's a hard sell: I'm much fonder of Norman Clegg and Compo than I am Basil Fawlty and ...

... and perhaps that's Fawlty Towers' biggest problem for me right now. It's basically a one-man act where everyone else -- Sybil's, Polly's, and Manuel's actors -- just throw softballs at John Cleese so he can smash them out of the park. Most other Britcoms have got at least two characters you care about, but ... Polly is dreadfully boring, Sybil's barely any better, and Manuel is barely better still. On a scale of 0 to 10, 0 being so boring you'd put me to sleep and 10 being riveting, I'd put Basil Fawlty around a 6 or a 7 but I'd put Sybil and Manuel around a 3 or a 4 and Polly at around a 2 or a 3. The program sorely needs more interesting side characters to complement Cleese. But perhaps he's too dominating a comedic persona? I don't know. Certainly I think he got the lion's share of best skits in Monty Python's Flying Circus, so perhaps that says something for how impossibly difficult it is for the other three actors to stand out here. *shrug*

Oh! And before I almost forget: I haven't really brought up the R word yet in this thread, but holy shit at some of the lines the Major had in this episode. While not intentionally racist back then in 1975, just lol at how casually he discusses "niggers and wogs" with Mr. Fawlty.
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