Saturday, 1 June 2013

My Favourite Bottom

00:00:00 Posted by Ashley Lister , 1 comment
 By Ashley Lister

 Before I begin, I need to remind everyone reading this on the morning of June 1st that the Dead Good Poets will be performing some of their work at Poulton Gala this afternoon. If you have a chance to get down there it will be great to say hello. 

To me, this is what good TV looks like.

Some bloggers this week have justly complained that TV offers little edification and can sometimes corrupt our imagined interpretation of original texts. I won't contradict these opinions. Much of TV is banal and unimaginative. But sometimes it isn't. Or - even when it is - it's still bloody entertaining.

The clip above comes from a TV Show called Bottom. I’ve watched all eighteen episodes of this show repeatedly since they first aired in 1991. I still laugh at the outrageous and painful slapstick humour. I'm a huge fan of this form of comedy.

Slapstick has  its history rooted in the purely visual traditions of Laurel and Hardy, The Marx Brothers and Three Stooges. Those film stars have their history interlinked with the musical hall theatre, variety shows and burlesque. Chase this back further and we're looking at themes developed from renaissance theatre and earlier.

Most likely a lot earlier.

And there are echoes of slapstick in modern absurdist plays such as those written by Tom Stoppard, Harold Pinter and Samuel Beckett.

Of course, I appreciate this is not really clever. I know it's not teaching me anything the way a well-written piece of poetry might enlighten me to a better understanding of my inner dichotomy. But if I'm honest, I find it hilarious to watch again and again and, to me, that's the litmus test of true quality.

To me, Bottom remains stupidly funny even though it’s more than two decades old. Below is a snippet of a typical exchange from the scene above where  Richie and Eddie discuss potential sexual conquests. Some might see it as proof that this comedy is unappealing sexist drivel. Others might find it offensive in the way the characters use personal possessives to suggest an inescapable patriachal hegemony. Personally, I think it shows a typical exchange between two buffoons who deserve to be celebrated for their comedy genius.

What's mine like?

Not bad, not bad. Not as many legs as
the other one. It's a shame about the
beard. Apart from that: smashing!

Are you sure she's not a bloke?

What do you mean a bloke? I know a bird
when I see one!

Was she smoking a pipe?


And is she called Keith?


You fool! That's Keith and Deirdre!

Yeah! Keith's your bird and Deirdre's
mine! Mine's the one with the little
blue mini-skirt and the tattoos of
little and large on her thighs.

No, it's Keith and Deirdre from the Lamb
and Flag mixed doubles nudie tag mud-
wrestling team!

Oh Yeah?!


Well why was she giving me the eye all
night, hey? Not the glass one, the other
one?! And how come the bird with the
beard kept pointing at you?


Lisa McFleeca said...

Where did all the classics go? Love bottom, then there's black adder, monty python, curry and chips, all that stuff was amazing. Now I spend my days dodging reality/syco shows. I never agreed with having tv's in the bedroom but at least I can escape when mum starts watching BGT and Corrie!!!

Loved the excerpt there Ash :-)