Author Topic: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?  (Read 4706 times)

Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« on: September 02, 2020, 07:59:12 PM »
The BBC thread got me thinking...while there certainly are left-wing comedians like Mark Thomas or Rob Newman, can you actually come up with left-wing comedy shows or sitcoms from tv?  It's especially hard to think of a left-wing sitcom (beyond vague cultural diversity etc) but here are the comedy shows on tv which occurred to me as coming closest to this:

Mark Thomas Comedy Product
Redacted Tonight (Lee Camp)
Stewart Lee Comedy Vehicle


For those of you who speak Spanish, there's Peter Capusotto from Argentina as well. Mark Steel & Rob Newman have had some programs here and there which aren't exactly comedies but deserve a mention. What else would you suggest?  There are the early years of The Simpsons and I suppose some of you might mention Chris Morris, Nathan Fielder, Maria Bamford's Lady Dynamite or possibly Eric Andre though I am not terribly convinced. Anything else I am missing besides podcasts (where I think there is a lot more action these days)? 



   

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2020, 08:19:54 PM »
Malcolm In The Middle

chveik

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2020, 08:21:21 PM »
The Larry Sanders Show

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2020, 08:22:19 PM »
The intent of Til Death Us Do Part was presumably socialist, but its reception generally wasn't.

Absorb the anus burn

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2020, 08:25:03 PM »
Alexei Sayle's Stuff.
Friday / Saturday Night Live.

They seemed to 'punch right'.

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2020, 08:27:40 PM »
The Larry Sanders Show

I love the show but I don't see it politically. What do you have in mind?

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2020, 08:28:30 PM »
Alexei Sayle's Stuff.
Friday / Saturday Night Live.

They seemed to 'punch right'.

Alexei himself, yes but what do you have in mind in terms of a show?

Saturday Night Live from the US? Definitely not in my book.

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2020, 08:31:15 PM »
The intent of Til Death Us Do Part was presumably socialist, but its reception generally wasn't.

Yea, that deserves a mention (there's also Speight's For Richer...For Poorer and to a lesser extent, the US version of Til Death which was All in the Family). I might as well mention Roseanne (as shitty as she is today) where at least the topic of class did get explored from time to time years ago.

Any other candidates?
« Last Edit: September 02, 2020, 10:31:26 PM by tribalfusion »

king_tubby

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2020, 08:49:24 PM »
https://www.cookdandbombd.co.uk/forums/index.php/topic,81304.0.html

You making some kind of list or something? Are you the Director General of the BBC? I've a good mind to write you a letter. Don't have the address though.

Does anyone have the address for the Director General of the BBC? Anyone?

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2020, 08:57:14 PM »
https://www.cookdandbombd.co.uk/forums/index.php/topic,81304.0.html

You making some kind of list or something? Are you the Director General of the BBC? I've a good mind to write you a letter. Don't have the address though.

Does anyone have the address for the Director General of the BBC? Anyone?


Please whatever you do, do NOT quit your day job.

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2020, 09:02:28 PM »
Alexi Sayles Stuff was the name of the series.
And when you say For Richer For Poorer do you mean In Sickness And In Health?

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2020, 09:04:25 PM »
Anything with Ben Elton used to be broadly lefty.

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2020, 09:16:57 PM »
Alexi Sayles Stuff was the name of the series.
And when you say For Richer For Poorer do you mean In Sickness And In Health?

Thanks...I meant this (which is lost to the sands of time): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/For_Richer...For_Poorer

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2020, 09:33:29 PM »

boki

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2020, 10:05:26 PM »
Would Shelley count?  I watched it occasionally as a kid, so I'd have been too young to really appreciate it, but had a vague memory of the central character being very much a socialist, but Dr Wikipedia suggests that his character was a bit broader (politically speaking) than that.

Brundle-Fly

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2020, 10:06:39 PM »
The New Statesman?

Utter Shit

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2020, 10:15:19 PM »
Not explicitly political, but I'd say that I'm Alan Partridge is a left wing show, in that Alan is a particular kind of right wing bore and he's the butt of the joke. In later years it's actually fairly explicit, as he makes a lot of overtly political statements where the point is "of course he's the type of twat that would have those opinions".

Gurke and Hare

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2020, 10:37:05 PM »
Saturday Night Live from the US? Definitely not in my book.

The Ben Elton hosted Saturday Live/Friday Night Live presumably. Each show would famously start with a Ben Elton set ranting about Normo Tebbs and Mrs Thatch, and end with a Ben Elton set calling for advertising and The Daily Star to be banned.

Sin Agog

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2020, 10:47:06 PM »
I wonder if some of the more surreal, rule-breaking old comedies like The Strange World of Gurney Slade and Q would qualify, in that there's no smegging way a person with an innately conservative mind-set would make them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bN5ZLQ1vRzY

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #19 on: September 02, 2020, 10:57:44 PM »
Not explicitly political, but I'd say that I'm Alan Partridge is a left wing show, in that Alan is a particular kind of right wing bore and he's the butt of the joke. In later years it's actually fairly explicit, as he makes a lot of overtly political statements where the point is "of course he's the type of twat that would have those opinions".

Definitely. And he's not the sort of character who could, a la Alf Garnett, be misinterpreted by the people he's lampooning, because he's blatantly portrayed as a sad little man. Garnett was a sad little man too, but I think the ferocity of Warren Mitchell's performance explains why actual bigots took his opinions at face value. That's not a criticism of Mitchell, it shows what a bloody good actor he was.

Coogan's portrayal of Alan is impeccable too, but I can't imagine real-life Alans taking the character to heart. They wouldn't recognise themselves in him, they wouldn't get the joke. He's not someone you'd want to align yourself with.

Caveat: As I get older, I do find myself agreeing with some of Alan's non-political petty grievances. That's fine. He is often right about certain annoying aspects of life (while being blind to his own faults, obviously).

Glebe

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #20 on: September 03, 2020, 03:02:51 AM »
OFAH sort of counts, except for the 'dated language'.

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #21 on: September 03, 2020, 03:10:48 AM »
The BBC thread got me thinking...while there certainly are left-wing comedians like Mark Thomas or Rob Newman, can you actually come up with left-wing comedy shows or sitcoms from tv?  It's especially hard to think of a left-wing sitcom (beyond vague cultural diversity etc) but here are the comedy shows on tv which occurred to me as coming closest to this:

Mark Thomas Comedy Product
Redacted Tonight (Lee Camp)
Stewart Lee Comedy Vehicle


For those of you who speak Spanish, there's Peter Capusotto from Argentina as well. Mark Steel & Rob Newman have had some programs here and there which aren't exactly comedies but deserve a mention. What else would you suggest?  There are the early years of The Simpsons and I suppose some of you might mention Chris Morris, Nathan Fielder, Maria Bamford's Lady Dynamite or possibly Eric Andre though I am not terribly convinced. Anything else I am missing besides podcasts (where I think there is a lot more action these days)? 



   

Do you like the work of the comedian Mort Sahl, by any chance?

Autopsy Turvey

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #22 on: September 03, 2020, 03:17:01 AM »
Galton and Simpson were both committed socialists, of the self-confessed champagne variety in their older years. All of Monty Python except the SPLITTER Idle were active Labour campaigners. Milligan was a Young Communist, also: https://www.goodiesruleok.com/articles.php?cod=179&print

Quote
* Tim, the archetypal establishment figure on the show, with his Union Jack waistcoat and patriotic speeches to a soundtrack of Land of Hope and Glory, actually has left-wing political leanings. He says the only reason he was given the Tory role was because of his double-barrelled surname. All three Goodies, he says, were politically very much like Bill's socialist-leaning character on the show.




Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #23 on: September 03, 2020, 05:05:16 AM »
Do you like the work of the comedian Mort Sahl, by any chance?

I thought Sahl's early material was interesting for the time though his later work was definitely not up my alley.

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #24 on: September 03, 2020, 05:12:14 AM »
Galton and Simpson were both committed socialists, of the self-confessed champagne variety in their older years. All of Monty Python except the SPLITTER Idle were active Labour campaigners. Milligan was a Young Communist, also: https://www.goodiesruleok.com/articles.php?cod=179&print


Thanks for posting that. I never really associated the Pythons with left politics very much in their work (there are bits and pieces there of course). Were they perceived in the UK as being on the left end of the political spectrum or simply as being zany? Also, Cleese from what I have heard from him in recent decades doesn't strike me as being left oriented.

That was interesting about the Goodies. They really vanished from much of the rest of the world such that I never hear them mentioned.

One thing becoming more evident from the replies here is that almost all of the series for consideration are on the older side and only one is currently in production.

easytarget

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #25 on: September 03, 2020, 05:20:41 AM »
I might as well mention Roseanne (as shitty as she is today) where at least the topic of class did get explored from time to time years ago.

Any other candidates?

By that token The Simpsons (Lisa needs braces-era, not Homer becomes a k-pop star on tiktok* and doesn't seem to have a job)

There's a case for Arrested Development too :
Rich, racist people are morality-free scumbags.
Super dense, very smart, layered, reference-packed show, it might sound condescending to imply "this show is left wing because it is too clever for the illiterate racists who support trump/johnson", but that's ok because they don't know what condescending means.
 

*or whatever the fuck.

thenoise

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #26 on: September 03, 2020, 05:27:01 AM »
Definitely. And he's not the sort of character who could, a la Alf Garnett, be misinterpreted by the people he's lampooning, because he's blatantly portrayed as a sad little man. Garnett was a sad little man too, but I think the ferocity of Warren Mitchell's performance explains why actual bigots took his opinions at face value. That's not a criticism of Mitchell, it shows what a bloody good actor he was.

Coogan's portrayal of Alan is impeccable too, but I can't imagine real-life Alans taking the character to heart. They wouldn't recognise themselves in him, they wouldn't get the joke. He's not someone you'd want to align yourself with.

Caveat: As I get older, I do find myself agreeing with some of Alan's non-political petty grievances. That's fine. He is often right about certain annoying aspects of life (while being blind to his own faults, obviously).

I remember the documentary Young Nazi and Proud (about Mark Collett) and him showing his dvd collection and entrusting about Alan Partridge. The documentary maker says something like 'how can he ridicule Partridge's absurdities but not notice his own?'. But I wonder how many of the 'modern comedy is lefty preaching' set were fans if Partridge back when, or Python for that matter, etc, and any politics was not noticed (or forgiven, given the all white cast?).

Not that Collett can be considered a real life Partridge, but he must have met a few in the 'fringes' of UK politics

easytarget

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #27 on: September 03, 2020, 05:32:06 AM »
Less deliberately inflammatory answer : ABoF&L - lots of anti-fatchaar stuff, especially early on.

I suppose Father Ted was a bit subversive (which I suppose in the 1990s could be synonymous with left leaning - but I'm open to yer counter examples) against the Catholic church.
 

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #28 on: September 03, 2020, 05:42:34 AM »
By that token The Simpsons (Lisa needs braces-era, not Homer becomes a k-pop star on tiktok* and doesn't seem to have a job)  There's a case for Arrested Development too : Rich, racist people are morality-free scumbags. Super dense, very smart, layered, reference-packed show, it might sound condescending to imply "this show is left wing because it is too clever for the illiterate racists who support trump/johnson", but that's ok because they don't know what condescending means.
 
*or whatever the fuck.


Yea I mentioned the early years of the Simpsons and there are definitely pieces in there like the dental plan episode (the address to the workers from the balcony by Burns is classic).  I thought about mentioning Arrested Dev. too and it's probably at least as worthy of inclusion as several shows mentioned even though it's not exactly what I had in mind.

easytarget

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #29 on: September 03, 2020, 05:56:56 AM »

Yea I mentioned the early years of the Simpsons and there are definitely pieces in there like the dental plan episode (the address to the workers from the balcony by Burns is classic). 

Ooops - yes so you did.

There is something about sympathetically depicting working class (or 'blue collar' if you want to be all American about it) people under pressure that is going to make your show tilt more left wing than right wing. So we can probably include any shows where the crushing reality of having to make rent is a driving factor (especially if its implied rather than stated) so definitely Roseanne, definitely not Friends.

Hmm, Bread might be a counter example to that.

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