Friday, October 22, 2004

Fawlty Towers

It’s been a long time since I did a long belly laugh. It’s so nice to sit back with your kids and have uncontrollable fits of laughter. We watched a rented DVD of the first series of Fawlty Towers and it just reduced us to almost non stop laughter. This old 1975 British sitcom really is one of my all-time favourites. Despite having only 2 series with 6 episodes each, this comedy has won many awards and is often being replayed in the BBC and all around the world.

Besides the great writing team of John Cleese and Connie Booth, the ensemble acting is superb starting with rude, arrogant, hypocritical, social climbing, incompetent, loony Basil Fawlty marvelously played by John Cleese. Sybil Fawlty, the irascible wife of Basil is performed by Prunella Scales. Polly the maid and all around assistant was played by Coonie Booth and poor Manuel (from Barcelona) the Spanish waiter who’s the frequent subject of Basil’s physical abuse is ably played by Andrew Sachs.

I really love it when Basil’s hysteria rises to a crescendo and either he collapses or does something really funnily stupid like thrashing his Morris Minor car, or screaming down the phone. In a way I think I see myself in Basil, there are times before when I can be seen reprimanding a pet cat/dog or really scolding a faulty appliance. Sometimes I talk to my electric fan or hair dryer – hahaha!! That is true. One thing I also like about not only this one but most British comedy is that they are so politically incorrect.

This series is apparently inspired by a real ‘Basil’ in the form of Mr. Sinclair of the Gleneagles Hotel in Torquay, Cornwall. Mr. Sinclair’s idea was that hotels and hotel management is good and wonderful except for the guests. It seems the cast and crew of the Monty Python show was shooting on location and so most of them were billeted at Gleneagles. All of them took exception to Mr. Sinclair’s rudeness that they moved to other hotels except for Cleese and Booth who was fascinated by the former’s “wonderful rudeness”. And so a series was born.

I can’t wait to see the second series I rented which I’m expecting through the post. We’ll have another belly laugh night by then.

Some of Fawlty Tower’s funny quotes:

Basil: “Yes my little piranha?” - answering Sybil’s call.
Basil: “Manuel, there’s too much butter on those trays.”
Manuel: “No no no, senor.” (slowly) “Uno, dos, tres.”
Nurse tucks in Basil, gets close to him.
Basil: “My god, you are ugly.”
Nurse: (taken aback) “I will call the doctor.”
Basil: “You don’t need a doctor, you need a plastic surgeon.”
On realising the new guests speaking to him in German:
Basil: “Oh German! I thought there was something wrong with you.”


ladycharlie said...

I have seen several episodes of Fawlty Towers myself and I simply adore Manuel ... "My name is Manuel and I come from Barcelona." Definitely a floor-rolling laughter experience!

Dutched Pinay on Expatriation said...

i love fawlty towers. john cleese is soo funny! they show it here on dutch tv at times and its also my dutchmans favorite.

rolly said...

Is this the one where they own a hotel? I think I've seen a few episondes myself in Canada. My host had several tapes with her and we watched them during idle hours. I loved the show. Which reminds me, during the 70's I used to enjoy two comedy shows in RPN 9. Benny Hill followed by Three's Company. I always had a good laugh over these two shos.

celia kusinera said...

LadyC & MissT: Definitely floor rolling laughter from the Fawlties.

Ka Rolly: Yes this is the one with the hotel. Thanks for reminding me Benny Hill. It was probably the very first Brit comedy I saw in Pinas. Talagang ang sakit ng tiyan namin sa kakatawa - halos midnight pa naman pinalalabas iyon sa RPN 9.

BongK said...

ka Rolly ang Beny Hill po ay sa Channel 7 pinapalabas non pati din ang three's company hehehehehe

celia kusinera said...

Hi BongK, ah Channel 7 ba? Hindi ko na talaga matandaan. hehehe! Thanks for the correction.

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