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Never Gets Old

  • Oct 27, 2008
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Fawlty Towers is one of those British sitcoms that although they haven't a high number of episodes, the quality alone is something to make it a timeless classic. I think the high number of people who wil gladly vouch for how good this sitcom is only expresses the true quality of the comedy and the cast involved. The characters are well defined and the setting is utilised to its full potential. Only 13 episodes were made but managed to gain such a cult following, those 13 episodes were just enough to keep the likes of Basil Fawlty a household name for over 30 years. Only the likes of Del Boy and Rodney have gained such a heightened level of comedic status.

The story is simple, Fawlty Towers is a hotel owned and managed by Basil Fawlty (John Cleese) and his wife sybil (Prunella Scales). Basil is supported by his hotel cleaner and waitress Polly (Connie Booth) and his bellboy and waiter Manuel (Andrew Sachs). The cast blend together brilliantly and have given us some of the funniest TV moments we're ever likely to see in our lifetime. Basil is the typical stressed out middle aged man, he goes on by letting lifes little troubles ware him down. He constantly tries to be the man about the hotel but constantly has his masculinity taken away from him by the scorn of Sybil.

John Cleese has always been a man I've considered as one of my idols, and this sitcom is the reason behind that. The comedy may be very slapstick, politically incorrect and at times very childish. I can't explain it but it all just seems to work in a way that will have you in fits of laughter no matter how many times you watch. The character of Basil is shockingly brilliant, I don't think anyone else could have played the character to such a level like John Cleese has. He is over the top, slick, stupid and physically funny. One of the best episodes that shows Cleese's physical prowess when playing this role is the infamous episode "The Germans" which spawned the line "Don't mention the war." The Hitler impression is something to be witnessed and regardless of whether you find things like that offensive or not, you just have to laugh.

Basil Fawlty is everything we find funny about people who lose their temper. He has his moments of trying to hide such terrible situations from his wife, but because of those attempts at hiding the problems he only manages to make them worse. The best example of this is when Sybil wants some building work done on the hotel, she wants to use a well respected but expensive builder. He wants to have a friend to do it on the cheap but he is anything but respectful. While Sybil is away for a weekend, Basil goes against her wishes and has his friend do it with disastrous consequences. What follows is a hysterical attempt at hiding the tragic building work from his wife by trying to keep her out of the hotel.

It's a fantastic series and I could honestly go on talking about it forever. I have nothing but good things to say about every cast member and their respective characters. John Cleese is a legend and he is one of a kind, he made the character his own and would have been something nobody else could have done. I would recommend this set to anyone with even a decent sense of humour.

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More Fawlty Towers - The Complete S... reviews
review by . July 11, 2002
Join the "model of good hospitality" Basil Fawlty and his batch of cronies for the entire series of the classic FAWLTY TOWERS.A TOUCH OF CLASS - Lord Melbury arrives and Basil (John Cleese) is only too pleased to cash his Lordship's check...THE BUILDERS - The lobby is in dire need of a face-lift and Basil immediately accepts the lowest quote for the job.THE WEDDING PARTY - Basil's prudish nature is outraged by an outbreak of promiscuity at Fawlty Towers.THE HOTEL INSPECTOR - Basil learns that there …
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Steven Stewart ()
Ranked #95
Currently studying Law at University, my main interests revolve around Politics. I read quite a lot and love learning about History. Not just the history of a specific time, place and person, but I'm … more
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Basil Fawlty, as created and performed by John Cleese, is the rudest, most boorish, most hilariously obnoxious man on the face of the planet. What a natural for a TV sitcom! His screen wife, Sybil (Prunella Scales), put it best in the episode "The Psychiatrist": "You're either crawling all over them, licking their boots, or spitting poison at them like some Benzedrine puff adder." He mockingly replies, "Just trying to enjoy myself, dear." With his gangly frame and contortionist abilities, Cleese brilliantly punctuates Basil's outrageous faux pas with absurd gymnastics and turns Three Stooges-style pokes and kicks into a slapstick ballet. Scales's Sybil is the genial but obliviously chatty voice of reason and Andrew Sachs mangles the English language as the Spanish bellhop Manuel, whose struggles with simple directions results in comic lunacy reminiscent of Robert Benigni. After a six-episode run in 1975, Cleese and cowriter and costar Connie Booth (who plays Polly, the maid all too often pulled into Basil's ridiculous plans) reunited the cast in 1979 for another six episodes without missing a punch line. The four-volume collection contains all 12 shows, interspersed with interview segments featuring Cleese discussing the genesis of the series and anecdotes about the individual episodes. Remember to watch the opening credits of each show to spot the creative misspellings on the hotel sign (my favorite: "Fatty Owls").--Sean Axmaker
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Genre: Television, Comedy
Studio: BBC Warner
DVD Release Date: October 16, 2001

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