Author Topic: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?  (Read 2442 times)

Kryton

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I watched it earlier (I adore Fawlty towers, but it's been a while) - Even though I've probably seen this episode a dozen times I was impressed at just how fucking great it is. Just absolutely jam-packed full of gags. The whole body of the deceased and the old lady in the wardrobe scene is just tremendous, everything from Manuel dancing, Basil trying to deny logic that the groaning sounds are coming from within the wardrobe and the absolute bullshit facade that Basil and by proxy everyone else is dragged into, Polly lying through her teeth (and getting violent!). The Doctor vs Manuel around the table. The Major's nonchalance. Basil even kind of wins at the end by just hiding in the laundry.

All the guests are brilliant too.

In my eyes it's a perfect episode.

Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2020, 11:49:52 PM »
It's just the sheer choreography of it isn't it? Little snippets of life. Doctor Price, Mrs Chase, the Whites, the Major, the Ladies, the bloke with the rubber doll, the chap with the redhead. All of it whizzing around.

Kryton

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Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2020, 03:55:53 PM »
It's just the sheer choreography of it isn't it? Little snippets of life. Doctor Price, Mrs Chase, the Whites, the Major, the Ladies, the bloke with the rubber doll, the chap with the redhead. All of it whizzing around.

Yep, the energy is wonderful.

Kryton

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Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2020, 03:56:26 PM »
I'd be interesting in more views, or to see what else could compare to it.

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Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2020, 03:59:32 PM »
You might be right, but where else do you find farce in TV or film comedies of the latter part of the 20th C? genuine question - just for comparison

neveragain

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Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2020, 04:24:24 PM »
Thinking of some post-Fawlty sitcoms which have made use of farce... Frasier, Modern Family, Seinfeld, Larry Sanders, One Foot In The Grave, Not Going Out, Peep Show, Friday Night Dinner, The Thick Of It, Veep, Blackadder, My Family, any Roy Clarke sitcom, Coupling, Upstart Crow, The Brittas Empire, My Hero, The Thin Blue Line, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Ever Decreasing Circles, Alan Partridge at points, Green Wing possibly, Friends...

In any case, I still think The Kipper stands out very well, and I love it for the dark central premise in a trad sitcom setting.

Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2020, 04:59:31 PM »
Fawlty Towers is the high point of the farce form, I think.  Even a stage classic like Noises Off can't compare.  The plots are so magnificently engineered, and gags so perfectly placed.  Nothing gratuitous: all the gags belong.  You never feel Cleese and Booth leaving in a joke that doesn't really fit but which they can't bear to cut.

Seinfeld is incredible for how much plot it can cram into a 23 minute episode, but it rarely matches Fawlty's craftsmanship.

Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2020, 05:08:18 PM »
I'd be interesting in more views, or to see what else could compare to it.

There aren't any more views, you were correct the first time.

Tony Tony Tony

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Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2020, 05:25:49 PM »
I'd be interesting in more views, or to see what else could compare to it.

Fawlty Towers is stratospheric in being above pretty much all UK comedy, it is the Bohemian Rhapsody of comedy polls.

The only thing that could approach it for physical comedy is Bottom, for tight characterisation Dad's Army whilst for rewarding re watches I'm Alan Partridge. 

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Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2020, 05:59:23 PM »
I think about the line "Look, I'm a doctor. I'm a doctor and I want my sausages" at least once a week. So, agreed.

Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2020, 06:39:04 PM »
I think about the line "Look, I'm a doctor. I'm a doctor and I want my sausages" at least once a week. So, agreed.
There are so many reasons I don't want Geoffrey Palmer to leave us, but that is genuinely one of the major ones

Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2020, 06:41:17 PM »
The best piece of farce would probably be on the stage as it's a type of comedy best appreciated live. As for TV I would also give a nod to the rollerskating scene in Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em and the Niles act in the Three Valentines episode of Frasier.

Jim Bob

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Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2020, 06:43:28 PM »
The best piece of farce would probably be on the stage as it's a type of comedy best appreciated live.

Eh, think I'll stick with the broadcast version.

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Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2020, 08:52:27 PM »
I think about the line "Look, I'm a doctor. I'm a doctor and I want my sausages" at least once a week. So, agreed.

I've mentioned this before, but I adore the fact that the character's entire motivation in the episode is to eat some sausages.

If it isn't the high point of farce, another Fawlty epsiode is. Maybe Communication Problems.

notjosh

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Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2020, 09:23:53 PM »
Thinking of some post-Fawlty sitcoms which have made use of farce... Frasier, Modern Family, Seinfeld, Larry Sanders, One Foot In The Grave, Not Going Out, Peep Show, Friday Night Dinner, The Thick Of It, Veep, Blackadder, My Family, any Roy Clarke sitcom, Coupling, Upstart Crow, The Brittas Empire, My Hero, The Thin Blue Line, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Ever Decreasing Circles, Alan Partridge at points, Green Wing possibly, Friends...

Joking Apart was mainly farce wasn't it?

I haven't seen any of the Goes Wrong Show, but I saw the bank robbery one at the theatre and that was all built around classic farce.

I don't think you're going to find much to beat Fawlty Towers, though I hear that the French excel at this sort of thing.

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Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2020, 09:43:13 PM »
Didn't someone famous say that Fawlty Towers consisted of the dozen greatest farces in the English language? Not that I'm arguing, I just can't remember who it was.

neveragain

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Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2020, 09:52:55 PM »
John Cl- no, I don't know but there's little argument from me.

Theatre-wise I've seen stuff that possibly betters it but on TV you're lucky to find something that comes close. Frasier did it very well. They're difficult to get right, farces, motivations have to be clear (i.e. sausages) and the tension has to keep ramping up. Also you need enough plotlines to cause confusion but not so many that the audience loses track. Whenever someone says they hate farce, I'm sure it's the keeping up with everything that gets on their nerves. Noises Off is a fantastic intricate play but I do get lost with it every now and again.

Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2020, 04:16:58 AM »
Didn't someone famous say that Fawlty Towers consisted of the dozen greatest farces in the English language? Not that I'm arguing, I just can't remember who it was.

That's too narrow: Richard Curtis said that it represents the best comedy writing in the language!  I'd rate half of them as being of the highest level: Germans, Gourmet Night, Mrs Richards, Dead Guest, the Rat and the Psychiatrist.  The Hotel Inspectors and the Anniversary are perhaps a step or so down, the Builders and Waldorf Salad below that, and the only episodes which flirt with mediocrity are Lord Melbury and the Wedding Party.

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Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2020, 09:43:16 AM »
I think about the line "Look, I'm a doctor. I'm a doctor and I want my sausages" at least once a week. So, agreed.

Mentioned this before but the Doctor's craving for sausages is introduced earlier in the episode and when told they are unavailable but he can have a sandwich, his snort of disgust and bellow of HAMMMM is almost as delightful as the moment above.

Oh and the part where he makes an exception to cleaning the kitchen for preparing the sausages 'bring them immediately'.

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Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2020, 09:44:47 AM »
Quote
the only episodes which flirt with mediocrity are Lord Melbury....

Get that opinion quarantined


Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2020, 10:44:14 AM »
It also has the best (yes it is, don't argue) FT moment, where Basil has been told by the arresting officers that he can't hit Melbury, so inexplicably wheels round to threaten the flowers in the planter.

Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2020, 12:52:30 PM »
I think it was Bragg (M) who said that wasn't it?

If we're cheating you can include the ITV adaptation of the Norman Conquests (1977). Briers's performance reminds me of Ken Campbell's in Anniversary actually, there's the same boyish and slightly cloying facetiousness. Names are similar too (Reg/Roger).

Jim Bob

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Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2020, 02:00:45 PM »
I've mentioned this before, but I adore the fact that the character's entire motivation in the episode is to eat some sausages.

It’s funny because it’s true.

Very relatable, the quest for sausages.

Mmm... eternal sausages.
Didn't someone famous say that Fawlty Towers consisted of the dozen greatest farces in the English language? Not that I'm arguing, I just can't remember who it was.

Yes.

notjosh

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Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2020, 02:16:45 PM »
Sausages are a brilliant comedy food, and criminally underused nowadays. Remember when everything was about trying to get hold of sausages? Punch & Judy, the Beano, Billy Bunter, that talking dog from That's Life.

Ask most millennials and they'll probably tell you that a sausage is some kind of an app, spelt Sosg.

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Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2020, 02:46:02 PM »
Oft overlooked Ripping Yarns did some excellent farce.

Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #25 on: May 24, 2020, 03:30:42 PM »
I saw The Show That Goes Wrong in NYC a couple of years back. For the first 10-15mins my reaction was 'yikes, this is going to be bad', but then it got so very, very good.

As for Fawlty Towers, yeah it's at the top. Some of the very best Frasier farces are better than quite a few of the FT eps though.

Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #26 on: May 24, 2020, 08:06:53 PM »
Sausages are a brilliant comedy food, and criminally underused nowadays. Remember when everything was about trying to get hold of sausages? Punch & Judy, the Beano, Billy Bunter, that talking dog from That's Life.

Grange Hill (as if your theory needed any reinforcement)

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Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #27 on: May 24, 2020, 08:29:42 PM »
You might be right, but where else do you find farce in TV or film comedies of the latter part of the 20th C? genuine question - just for comparison


Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #28 on: May 26, 2020, 05:25:59 PM »
It is of course brilliant, but why, once the body has been discovered, do they have to move it from the bed? Why didn't he just leave it there until the undertaker could arrive? I've seen this episode a ridiculous number of times but can't remember that ever being explained.

Kryton

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Re: Is 'The Kipper and the Corpse' the best bit of farce ever?
« Reply #29 on: May 26, 2020, 05:59:25 PM »
It is of course brilliant, but why, once the body has been discovered, do they have to move it from the bed? Why didn't he just leave it there until the undertaker could arrive? I've seen this episode a ridiculous number of times but can't remember that ever being explained.

Yep I was puzzled too. Unless I missed something, maybe they're just cheapskates and want the room free? Didn't they mention a high number of guests?

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