Author Topic: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?  (Read 4620 times)

Dr Rock

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #60 on: September 04, 2020, 06:51:46 AM »
Brass?

To The Manor Born? (seriously, how many viewers could watch that and identify with Audrey Forbes-Hamilton's situation)?

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #61 on: September 04, 2020, 08:23:38 AM »
I always thought the thing with Yes Minister was you could side with the civil servants (keeping vain, short-sighted, toadying minsters in check for the good of the nation) or the ministers (brave chaps trying to change the system constantly being thwarted by subversive, democracy-hating deep state agents). You could see what you wanted in it. Thatcher definitely saw it as an expose of the Stalinist civil service, for example.

I had a script book of Yes Minister, or rather my dad did, with loads of footnotes and extra details, it was brilliant.


Always liked the episode of the US Office where Dwight is encouraged by Jim to do a Mussolini-style speech at a conference, with loads of arm-waving, and of course it goes down a storm.

Lisa Jesusandmarychain

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #62 on: September 04, 2020, 08:34:54 AM »
Have to go on the record here to say that " Citizen Smith " and " The Rag Trade" ( 70s remake, leastways) were both pisstakes. Wolfie " Freedom For Tooting" Smith, prior to becoming a dentist and dying his hair is plainly ridiculed and seen as a figure of fun, he probably doesn't have the slightest understanding of Marxism, the big daftie, while The Rag Trade seemed to me every bit as union- bashing as the film " Carry On At Your Convenience", with Miriam Karlin, prior to becoming a ghost, first in a sit- com, then in real life, blowing her whistle and proclaiming " Everybody Out" every 5 minutes.

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #63 on: September 04, 2020, 09:56:07 AM »
This is certainly baffling to me because I read it as entirely skewering the system at the time (not that much had changed). But that politicians waste time and money going around in circles achieving very little, not so much government per se. Any of Humphrey's speeches about not needing democracy and things like that were quite obviously outrageously horrifying and pointing out the greediness and selfishness of those in politics - so it shocks me that Thatcher did not take it as an entirely personal attack. Shifting favours around and holding leverage over one another to protect their pals at the banks and serve personal agendas... and that's just the beginning.

Or have I totally got this wrong?

I guess the theme in many ways is less that government per say is a farce, so much as politics as a whole is a farce. I guess that's also part of its bipartisan appeal.

Petey Pate

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #64 on: September 04, 2020, 10:05:32 AM »
Marge is definitely a Democrat

The episode where Mr Burns runs for governor aired the same year that George Bush referenced The Simpsons.  It's never made explicit, but clearly Burns is a Republican, whereas Marge supported the incumbent candidate who's obviously a Democrat.


Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #65 on: September 04, 2020, 10:34:28 AM »
She also voted for Carter twice. There's a (boo! Hiss!) newer one that implies she voted for Reagan in 84, but that doesn't contradict that (just means she's lying about her age by about 20 years).

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #66 on: September 04, 2020, 10:52:31 AM »
The episode where Mr Burns runs for governor aired the same year that George Bush referenced The Simpsons.  It's never made explicit, but clearly Burns is a Republican, whereas Marge supported the incumbent candidate who's obviously a Democrat.



Also didn't she vote for Jimmy Carter twice. Too lazy to read Savage Hedgehogs reply. Sorry.
Anyway; wasn't the joke that she might as well have been part of Carter's campaign team; as no one else would have been audacious enough to vote for him twice (or more likely in 1980).

Fambo Number Mive

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #67 on: September 04, 2020, 01:35:30 PM »
That newer episode doesn't seem very canon, I can't imagine Marge voting for Reagan in 1984, given it was clear by then how bad Reaganomics was for America.

notjosh

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #68 on: September 04, 2020, 03:11:30 PM »
Been watching the Vicar of Dibley lately, and there's an episode where that horrible Tory cunt is running for councillor again, and the Vicar of Dibley has a go at him for being a horrible Tory cunt. They have a heart-to-heart, and he promises to not be a horrible Tory cunt, so the Vicar of Dibley ends up endorsing him, and he increases his majority. Then he's all "Surprise! I'm gonna keep being a horrible Tory cunt after all!" and the Vicar of Dibley ends up having to pull some shenanigans on a golf course to get him to begrudgingly agree to fund the local bus service, which he'll probably go back on later. So that's alright then, great job Nicker of Cleggley.

Blue Jam

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #69 on: September 04, 2020, 03:30:23 PM »
This Country? The episode "Minor Injuries" mentioned cuts to health services and how they have disproportionately affected rural areas. There are also mentions of food banks, the lack of job opportunities for young people, a shortage of carers for the elderly and how those responsibilities fall on volunteers and the vicar, etc throughout the series.

I suppose the last series of People Just Do Nothing might also count, with the storyline of Grindah, Miche and Angel being turfed out of their council flat and moved to one in another county so the tower block could be knocked down to build luxury apartments.

j_u_d_a_s

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #70 on: September 05, 2020, 12:19:56 AM »
Oooh just remembered,

Damned - The Jo Brand sitcom that isn't Getting On set in a childrens services department that while showing those who worked in it to be very flawed people, they had their heart in the right place and were more weary from battling against the system. Series 1 ends with an angry rant at austerity. Series 2 had an affectionate poke at The Woke with Mimi, a student social worker who rather than being shown up as wrong was just inexperienced and one episode even managed to be nuanced and compassionate about the son of a recently out trans man that didn't descend into the usual Attack Helicopter nonsense. It was such a good show with a good cast that went ignored on its broadcast, better than that Stath Lets Flats shit you all like, why didn't you watch Damned?

zomgmouse

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #71 on: September 05, 2020, 03:20:18 AM »
I always thought the thing with Yes Minister was you could side with the civil servants (keeping vain, short-sighted, toadying minsters in check for the good of the nation) or the ministers (brave chaps trying to change the system constantly being thwarted by subversive, democracy-hating deep state agents). You could see what you wanted in it. Thatcher definitely saw it as an expose of the Stalinist civil service, for example.


I guess the thing for me was I didn't side with anyone in it. They were all incompetent, self-serving, or both. Which I thought was the point. But perhaps not?

I guess the theme in many ways is less that government per say is a farce, so much as politics as a whole is a farce. I guess that's also part of its bipartisan appeal.

Yeah this basically. Perhaps Yes, Minister is the ultimate centrist sitcom? Maybe that's why Iannucci liked it enough to update it to The Thick of It?

Oooh just remembered,

Damned - The Jo Brand sitcom that isn't Getting On set in a childrens services department that while showing those who worked in it to be very flawed people, they had their heart in the right place and were more weary from battling against the system. Series 1 ends with an angry rant at austerity. Series 2 had an affectionate poke at The Woke with Mimi, a student social worker who rather than being shown up as wrong was just inexperienced and one episode even managed to be nuanced and compassionate about the son of a recently out trans man that didn't descend into the usual Attack Helicopter nonsense. It was such a good show with a good cast that went ignored on its broadcast, better than that Stath Lets Flats shit you all like, why didn't you watch Damned?

I liked Damned an awful lot! Really wonderful stuff.

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #72 on: September 05, 2020, 08:20:45 AM »
Alan Partridge? Coogan is obviously a socialist, and Partridge is packed with little digs at the right. Like the modern day Garnett, the targets of the humour often see it as an endorsement, but that’s because right wing people can be a bit thick.

KennyMonster

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #73 on: September 05, 2020, 11:47:00 AM »
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?

I don't have his address but his phone number is:

0181 811 81 81



Blue Jam

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #74 on: September 05, 2020, 01:09:08 PM »
I have his address. It's:

Cunt
London

Dr Rock

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #75 on: September 05, 2020, 01:12:31 PM »
Hey that's my address

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #76 on: September 05, 2020, 01:19:49 PM »
It's the address of everyone who lives in london

Blue Jam

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #77 on: September 05, 2020, 01:28:17 PM »
Alan Partridge? Coogan is obviously a socialist, and Partridge is packed with little digs at the right.

Mr Jam and I gave Hebburn a go and didn't like it much as it seemed a bit too sneery and like it was punching down. We then put on a bit of Paul Calf's Video Diary and noted that, while Paul Calf himself is an unemployed loser, he's the only one- Pauline Calf is a pharmacist, (Fat) Bob is a mechanic etc. They're all reasonably hard-working people, the families aren't dysfunctional, they're quite houseproud etc. It doesn't feel like it's punching down, so maybe add that one to the list?

Blue Jam

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #78 on: September 05, 2020, 01:33:35 PM »
Damned - The Jo Brand sitcom that isn't Getting On

Also the Getting On spin-off/sequel, Going Forward, where Brand plays a carer working for (and getting fucked over by) a private care agency and Omid Djalili plays her husband, working as a chauffer and struggling in the gig economy.

king_tubby

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #79 on: September 05, 2020, 01:36:34 PM »
I have his address. It's:

Cunt
London

Finally!

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #80 on: September 05, 2020, 02:57:15 PM »
In 2.4 Children, Belinda Lang's character occasionally used to launch into left wing tirades. I don't think the script was mocking her.
I wouldn't say Yes Prime Minister was generally leftist actually. Jay was a Tory, Lynn was on the left and occasionally both their views came through e.g. on the episode mocking council leader Ben Stanley (Ben = Ken. Stanley = Livingstone). But overall not. Being frustrated by civil servant interference is a feature common to both left and right.
The New Statesman was definitely left-wing. Maurice and Gran have admitted they had the Tories in their sights.

Blue Jam

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #81 on: September 05, 2020, 04:39:32 PM »
Been watching a lot of Mr. Show on YouTube and in the comments you often see things like "This wouldn't get shown today, it's so un-PC, the left-wing snowflakes wouldn't allow it". I really don't know how anyone could get the impression that Bob and David are anything but left-leaning. Not to mention the fact that Sarah Silverman is in it.

Then again there are people who try and argue that Orwell was a right-wing hero...

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #82 on: September 05, 2020, 04:41:48 PM »
Rodney Plonker in OFAH sometimes espouses socialist ideals, especially in the earlier episodes. Del always mocks him, of course, but it seems clear to me that Sullivan is using Rodders as a mouthpiece. The stuff he comes out with isn't addled and absurd a la Wolfie Smith, it's straight-up socialism, sincerely delivered. Del, not Rodney, is depicted as the ignorant one.

That lad would've definitely been supportive of Red Wedge and Rock Against Racism.

j_u_d_a_s

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #83 on: September 05, 2020, 04:53:04 PM »
Rodney Plonker in OFAH sometimes espouses socialist ideals, especially in the earlier episodes. Del always mocks him, of course, but it seems clear to me that Sullivan is using Rodders as a mouthpiece. The stuff he comes out with isn't addled and absurd a la Wolfie Smith, it's straight-up socialism, sincerely delivered. Del, not Rodney, is depicted as the ignorant one.

That lad would've definitely been supportive of Red Wedge and Rock Against Racism.

Plus Granddad's speech against the glorification of war and the treatment of soldiers in the first series. Slater the slag too, that episode is a giant up yours to how the police operate.

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #84 on: September 05, 2020, 05:20:46 PM »
I have his address. It's:

Cunt
London

*gif of Captain America saying "I get that reference"*

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #85 on: September 05, 2020, 05:33:43 PM »
Plus Granddad's speech against the glorification of war and the treatment of soldiers in the first series. Slater the slag too, that episode is a giant up yours to how the police operate.

It's testament to Sullivan's writing that OFAH, which broadly speaking comes from a left-wing perspective, had such mass appeal.

The casual racism and homophobia in some of the episodes is obviously unfortunate, but there was never any genuine malice behind it. Del wasn't a raging bigot, he was a product of his times and background (whenever he refers to p*ki shops and so on, it's never intended as a joke; it's just a term someone like Del would use).

Also, Rodney and later Raquel usually reprimanded him for his outdated attitudes. And we should never forget that OFAH presented a proudly multicultural image of working-class London in the '80s and '90s, with white, black and Asian characters all basically in the same boat and happily working alongside each other. I can't think of any examples of Sullivan using racial stereotypes for cheap laughs.

However, I would argue that he had a blind spot when it came to homosexuality. There are definitely some 'haha GAY' jokes in there, which jar with the show's otherwise inclusive tone. Different times etc.

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #86 on: September 05, 2020, 09:21:40 PM »
I guess the thing for me was I didn't side with anyone in it. They were all incompetent, self-serving, or both. Which I thought was the point. But perhaps not?

Yeah this basically. Perhaps Yes, Minister is the ultimate centrist sitcom? Maybe that's why Iannucci liked it enough to update it to The Thick of It?

While it's fairly well known that it was a favourite of Margaret Thatcher's, it is also on record that Tony Benn liked it a lot too. He once said that he always thought of Jim Hacker as being SDP/Liberal Alliance.

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #87 on: September 05, 2020, 10:22:48 PM »
I seem to remember Roger & Val Have Just Got In having left-wing themes, in a quite middle-class way. However reading the synopsis of it I'd completely forgotten one of the main themes so my memory of ten year old sitcoms is obviously not to be trusted. Was good though.

Jockice

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #88 on: September 06, 2020, 07:23:58 AM »
It's testament to Sullivan's writing that OFAH, which broadly speaking comes from a left-wing perspective, had such mass appeal.

The casual racism and homophobia in some of the episodes is obviously unfortunate, but there was never any genuine malice behind it. Del wasn't a raging bigot, he was a product of his times and background (whenever he refers to p*ki shops and so on, it's never intended as a joke; it's just a term someone like Del would use).

Also, Rodney and later Raquel usually reprimanded him for his outdated attitudes. And we should never forget that OFAH presented a proudly multicultural image of working-class London in the '80s and '90s, with white, black and Asian characters all basically in the same boat and happily working alongside each other. I can't think of any examples of Sullivan using racial stereotypes for cheap laughs.

However, I would argue that he had a blind spot when it came to homosexuality. There are definitely some 'haha GAY' jokes in there, which jar with the show's otherwise inclusive tone. Different times etc.

Someone I used to work with was an SWP member and an OFAH fan. I remember her saying that she thought the Christmas episode in 96 (i think) was really racist because there was a gag about Sikhs and crash helmets. Which I thought was a bit over the top. Although not as over-the-top as the time she accused me of homophobia for describing another colleague as 'camp.' That's a colleague who was straight and openly admitted he camped it up because it annoyed some people.

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #89 on: September 07, 2020, 12:57:24 PM »
The intent of Til Death Us Do Part was presumably socialist, but its reception generally wasn't.

Nope - and nope.

Although Johnny Speight was a socialist and prior to the show, had become good friends with Tony Booth, who was cast as Mike after Michael Caine was no longer available, his intent was to satirise social, political and religious views, and everything was fair game.

As Alf was used to send-up right-wing views, the indolent Mike is used to send-up left-wing ones. Both characters are full of hot air and espouse cliches. Neither attractive characters by any stretch of the imagination - although Booth gives his character superficial charm. A key aspect of the show is there is no overt commentary about who audiences are meant to side with; something that provided detractors with ammunition; people could see what they wanted to see.

As for the reception to the show, it was massively popular - far more so than most people think and I suspect it's hard for people (I would include myself) to really comprehend just how much.

Accordingly, the reception was more diverse than people think - and some did *get* the intent, including those who attacked it. There was one leading far-right politician (something like the leader of the British Facist Party) who complained because an idiot was being used to satirise right-wing political views, whilst Mary Whitehouse hated the show for satirising conservative views, Christianity and patriotism.

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