Sunday, September 06, 2015

A Little Something for the Weekend - Sitcoms

Editor, Ali Williams, is talking to the Pink Heart Society about the television comedies that she likes to catch up with at the weekend...

Everyone loves a good comedy and there's nothing better than a wise-cracking hero or a sarcastic heroine.  But where do we get our comedic inspiration from?

At the weekend, the fiance and I like to chill out and relax, particularly if work's been kicking our backside that week, and there's no better way to unwind than watching sitcoms (or wrestling, but that's for a separate post).

I suppose I can split my sitcom watching habits into three main categories:  the old favourites, which have long since finished, but which are as fresh and funny now, as they were when they first aired; the accidental finds, shows that you came across completely by chance, but made you laugh immediately; and the long awaited returns, shows whose new season you're awaiting with baited breath.

My old favourites include, without a doubt, BBC's Gavin and Stacey.

Cracking characters, a swearing 80 year old, and James Cordon as his greatest creation - Smithy.  It's simultaneously inappropriate and hilarious, and captures every awkward and heartwarming moment of family experience.

I'm also currently rewatching Friends from the beginning.

It's strange, because as it's so seminal and central to the structure of sitcoms today, it's easy to forget just how genuinely funny Friends was.  The ultimate setup with Central Perk and the apartments as backdrops to pure comedic genius.  For me, Phoebe seems less funny now, whereas Chandler is, as ever, the perfect bundle of sarcasm and insecurity.

This week I've discovered two sitcoms that have rather blown me away.  The first of these is Cradle to Grave.

Based on radio DJ Danny Baker's autobiography, it encapsulates life in 70s London and had both me and the fiance in stitches.  It's not for the fainthearted, mind, and it's got the blend of raucous humour and pathos that characterised Only Fools and Horses (another old favourite).  There's also a hysterical scene in a theatre that would horrify most people and I think it says more about me than I like that I found it funny.

The other is Blunt Talk, starring Patrick Stewart and is just as shocking.  

In fact, I think I'd pay anything to see Stewart play a drugged up tv journalist, swearing incessantly and indulging in kinky filth.  Very funny.  Not by any means appropriate for a whole range of viewers.

And the shows whose return I'm eagerly awaiting?

The less well-known (at least here in the UK), Fresh Off the Boat.

Eddie Huang is at the centre of the first Asian-American family sitcom since All American Girl, and it shows a clash and embracing of two different cultures.  The undeniable star is Constance Wu as Jessica Huang, Eddie's mother, who proves to all deniers that women can be very very funny indeed.

And, of course, Modern Family.

Pseudo-documentary, it again turns to the bastion of the sitcom, the family.  The three branches of this dysfunctional family gel and clash intermittently, but the key thing that comes across, is the true strength of the bonds of family.  And how stupid boys can be if you let them.

What sitcoms do you love, which have you just discovered, and which ones have new seasons that you're waiting for?  Ali'd love to hear your recommendations in the comments!

Ali Williams grew up in Croydon and spent her teenage years in a convent girls’ school. She then fled to university where she discovered champagne cocktails, a capella singing and erotica.

These days she blogs about perceptions of romance, chick lit and women in society and spends the rest of her time promoting #StrongRomanceHeroines on Twitter, and cracking on with her first novel, Breakfast in Tunford.

Editor for the Pink Heart Society, guest blogger for Mills & Boon and Harper Impulse, and occasional columnist for For Books' Sake, she defies you to slam romance novels within her hearing!

1 comment:

  1. I love Gavin and Stacey. I adore the Rob Brydon character. I'll look for Cradle to Grave. I'm looking forward to the return of Doc Martin.