Author Topic: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?  (Read 4705 times)

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #90 on: September 07, 2020, 01:00:53 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.

To a degree, yes. The character was espousing a viewpoint (and very articulately) that wasn't seen in sitcoms; one of my friends, who was young when the show was on but old enough to appreciate, said it made a big impression on him, he hadn't seen characters asking those questions. However, on the flipside, Shelley is really just an indolent talker.

ollyboro

  • More pussy than Sinatra
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #91 on: September 07, 2020, 02:17:10 PM »
Even though the character  was to the left,  had he been an actual person, Shelley would have wound up both Thatcherites and traditional working class labour supporters . He had a degree, so must have had a grant, then sponged off the state through his dole money.

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #92 on: September 07, 2020, 04:30:08 PM »
The dad (Willie) from Alf was a Social Worker. One episode flashed back to his youth as a hippy in the Woodstock era. The episode reveals that his hippie friends grew up to be Yuppie Stockbroker types; Willie says that while he misses those days, he can better realise his idealistic passion to better the world as a Social Worker. And obviously the show was pro-immigration, or at least implicitly critical of draconian practices in US immigration policy.

In conclusion Alf is the platonic ideal of the left-wing sitcom, although, like Mr T, Alf hung out with Nancy Reagan at least once, so he must have been more of the "bringing them down from the inside" type.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #93 on: September 07, 2020, 04:58:52 PM »
The Young Ones. Written by four lefties* and full of jabs at Thatcher and the police. Rick is obviously a piss-take of pretentious wannabe anarchists with only a superficial, if that, understanding of left-wing politics, but the show itself is situated firmly on the left. 

* And in Sayle's case, an actual Marxist.

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #94 on: September 07, 2020, 05:37:50 PM »
There's also a rather pointed jab at police racial profiling in one episode, which was a bit too near the knuckle to make it into repeats in the 90s. Filthy, Rich & Catflap kept things lighter, but was clearly borne of the same mindset which came through from time to time.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #95 on: September 07, 2020, 05:52:04 PM »
There's also a rather pointed jab at police racial profiling in one episode, which was a bit too near the knuckle to make it into repeats in the 90s. Filthy, Rich & Catflap kept things lighter, but was clearly borne of the same mindset which came through from time to time.

F,R&C is probably the angriest thing Ben Elton ever wrote, he doesn't hold back on his utter loathing of the right-wing light entertainment establishment. These days, of course, he says that it was just a bit of OTT ribbing, he didn't really hate Tarby et al. But he obviously did, you can't fake that level of scorn. The whole show is basically a big FUCK YOU to the reigning showbiz elite (who, with the exception of Brucie, were already on the verge of being usurped by Ben and his chums).

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #96 on: September 07, 2020, 06:14:11 PM »
In Didn't You Kill My Mother in Law? (I think) Elton contrasts his act on Saturday Live etc to Tarby doing routines on Live from Her Majesty's along the lines of "Don't you feel awful for Mrs Thatcher and don't you hate those awful miners?" so there did seem to be real deep-seated ideological contempt there, although I don't know how literal that description was.

Rizla

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #97 on: September 07, 2020, 06:28:19 PM »
There's also a rather pointed jab at police racial profiling in one episode, which was a bit too near the knuckle to make it into repeats in the 90s.

I know some YO edits are as much to trim the shows to the standard length but it's a real shame that bit always gets cut, the point is it's so awful and over the top in the way it portrays the policeman (played by Jossy from off of Jossy's Giants) as an ignorant racist shithead, something that really came over to me watching as a kid. That, and the other cop breaking the chair over Neil's head installed a healthy dose of ACAB in us young viewers.

EDIT of course the point is the chair doesn't break, hence cop's "Oh God, are you alright?" which kills me every time. So brutal. Fucking love that show so much.

Gurke and Hare

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #98 on: September 07, 2020, 07:27:15 PM »
Where does The New Statesman sit here? We've got a Conservative MP who is undoubtedly an utter cunt, but we're kind of supposed to be on his side.

Lisa Jesusandmarychain

  • Well ...enjoy your lifetime supply of virginity!
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #99 on: September 07, 2020, 11:47:35 PM »
Where does The New Statesman sit here? We've got a Conservative MP who is undoubtedly an utter cunt, but we're kind of supposed to be on his side.

Hey? Why are we supposed to be on his side? Like you say, he's an utter cunt. I mean, he actually kills people ( or arranges to have them killed), and stuff.

mojo filters

  • Self-impeacher
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #100 on: September 10, 2020, 01:50:51 AM »
Surely M*A*S*H deserves an honorable mention, at the very least?

Firstly, the premise of using the Korean conflict as an implied allegorical critique of the (initially) ongoing and controversial Vietnam war, was a very clever way to squarely place politics on prime time network TV.

Secondly, the broader initial seasons Larry Gelbart set up, very much downplayed most of the more sexist and other extreme behaviours from Richard Hooker's original novel and the Robert Altman movie.

Thirdly, from the start when Larry Gelbart innovatively developed a TV franchise as producer and showrunner - influencing important modern television creators/writers such as Aaron Sorkin - his tone was always humane, tolerant and respectful. As Alan Alda became a more influential writing force from S4 onwards, the left-leaning political tone became increasingly overt.

In respect of racial issues - both foreign and domestic - the TV M*A*S*H always addressed such with a very forward-looking, clearly stated and unambiguous message of tolerance. Those kind of carefully executed aspects are a significant part of the reason the show still stands up as an invigorating viewing experience today.

Whilst I've met big fans who claim they prefer the earlier seasons, as the politics were less explicit - you can't argue with the ratings. In 1983, 106 million viewers tuned in to CBS for two slowly paced hours of the seriously-toned finale, setting a record that lasted until the 2010 Super Bowl!


Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #101 on: September 13, 2020, 05:22:57 PM »
I'm no expert on M*A*S*H but I have seen a fair bit, including the entirety of both the first and final Seasons. At the very least I always found Robert Altman's insistence that the series was "inherently racist" a bit misplaced.

Dr Rock

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Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #102 on: September 13, 2020, 06:44:17 PM »
Who Dares Wins was pretty lefty wasn't it?

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #103 on: September 13, 2020, 07:34:57 PM »
Brass?

To The Manor Born? (seriously, how many viewers could watch that and identify with Audrey Forbes-Hamilton's situation)?
To The Manor Born contained a few digs at Labour. Definitely not left wing even though Audrey's friend later played Thatcher in Anyone for Dennis?
New Statesman definitely left wing as already mentioned! Maurice and Gran pretty much wrote it as a means to attack the Tories .

Dr Rock

  • The BEST of luck!
Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #104 on: September 13, 2020, 07:38:48 PM »
I was joking about To The Manor Born. Wasn't ‎Peter Bowles' role based on Ghislaine Maxwell's dad?

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #105 on: September 13, 2020, 09:11:54 PM »
I was joking about To The Manor Born. Wasn't ‎Peter Bowles' role based on Ghislaine Maxwell's dad?
Oops.

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #106 on: September 14, 2020, 01:24:57 PM »
Four pages in and no Comrade Dad?

Re: Left-wing sitcoms & tv comedy series?
« Reply #107 on: September 15, 2020, 01:12:22 AM »
What about Cheers? I feel there is a collectivism about the main cast that mainly have each others backs and always try to empathise with each other’s situation. Is it socialist with a small s? Also has some sweet, if at times clunky by modern standards, takes in progressive social issues. I suppose that could just be a broader take about alcoholism (the whole thing is ABOUT alcoholism isnt it? I assume at least one if the writers was alcoholic and Cheers was his catharsism) and role if support network but se point applies.

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