Author Topic: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History  (Read 16249 times)

Fambo Number Mive

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Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« on: February 24, 2021, 08:04:16 PM »
Inspired by Stuart Millard's excellent seven part series on his blog.

What do you think are the worst sitcoms in History? And what makes a bad sitcom?

Having read Stuart's blog post on Bottle Boys, I watched a couple of episodes on Youtube and I think it deserves to be featured as one of the worst sitcoms ever.

It stars Robin Asquith as a milkman who works at a dairy full of racist and sexist stereotypes. As well as the scripts only appealing to ultra-gammons, the sitcom has about one actually funny joke every couple of episodes (when it veers away from hateful stereotypes for a few minutes).

I think it would appeal to the type of Little Englander who thinks women are stupid (the character of the secretary), Scottish people drink all the time (Milkman Jock, who only seems to be in the show for these kind of jokes) and enjoy anti-BAME racist jokes (the black milkman is the butt of many racist jokes). And Asquith's boss is Welsh, which allows for even more racist jokes.

I think Stuart says it better than I can:

Quote
...Incredibly, Bottle Boys is far worse than Richard Blackwood will tell you, after he’s seen five seconds of it on C5’s Britain’s Most Manky Old Telly. More than just the outdated sexism, racism, and frankly preposterous level of unfunniness, the performances are truly dreadful. I do consider Robin Askwith a national treasure, but he’s lumbered with a turd of a script, and lengthy takes that leave everyone pausing to remember lines, or stumbling through mistakes to avoid another run-through. The main indicator of its chronic badness is just how easy it is to picture Jim Davidson slotted into the role instead...

https://franticplanet.wordpress.com/2019/01/09/bottle-boys/

The acting isn't awful, but it is still somewhat bleak that this heap of small-minded cack was renewed for a second series. No wonder Alan was so angry with Tony Hayers.

The writer for Bottle Boys, Vince Powell, also created Love Thy Neighbour and Mind Your Language.

Poirots BigGarlickyCorpse

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Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2021, 08:09:36 PM »
ah yes this would be the beloved classic humour and sparkling wit that the PC Woke Brigade are killing

Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2021, 08:10:55 PM »
Bottle Boys is bad but, as you've mentioned, it's not even the worst Vince Powell sitcom.

Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2021, 08:21:58 PM »
It's very embarrassing to remember, but I laughed a lot at Mind Your Language when it came out.  In mitigation, I was only nine.  My dad however was 56 and read big serious books all the time and listened to classical music, and he laughed at it even more than me.

Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2021, 08:33:23 PM »
Me and my little sister fucking loved MYL. there was a bit where they were talking about aftershave and someone mentions eau de toilette and a guy in a turban says "Water from de toilet?" in an hilarious foreign voice and we used to go round the house mimicing him. 27 we were.

idunnosomename

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Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2021, 08:34:47 PM »
Babes in the Wood

Poirots BigGarlickyCorpse

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Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2021, 09:43:08 PM »
RTÉ is notorious for failing at sitcoms and one of the worst was Upwardly Mobile, a sitcom about a couple from the Northside of Dublin winning the Lotto and moving to the much posher area of Belvedere Downs on the Southside. I had vague memories of the theme tune but little else, so decided to check YouTube for episodes.

I'm a third of the way through this one and I haven't cracked a smile once.

Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2021, 09:47:17 PM »
Work It? Only two episodes aired on US TV before the whole thing was cancelled. Synopsis:

Quote
Work It centered on men laid off from a fictional St. Louis GM plant after the Pontiac line was phased out, who believe that the current economic recession and job shortage has affected men more than women. One of the men, Lee Standish, inquires about a job opening at Coreco Pharmaceuticals, where he finds that the company employs female sales reps almost exclusively. He then dresses as a woman, applies for the job, and is hired. Character development, starting in the first episode, involves the men learning how to be more "sensitive".

I watched the first episode on youtube and it is truly awful. premise aside. It is just pure nothingness

Fambo Number Mive

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Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2021, 09:50:57 PM »
RTÉ is notorious for failing at sitcoms and one of the worst was Upwardly Mobile, a sitcom about a couple from the Northside of Dublin winning the Lotto and moving to the much posher area of Belvedere Downs on the Southside. I had vague memories of the theme tune but little else, so decided to check YouTube for episodes.

I'm a third of the way through this one and I haven't cracked a smile once.

The visuals.during the theme tune are an interesting choice, beautiful but feeling more like they belong.in a documentary than a sitcom.

Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2021, 09:52:50 PM »
The House That Jack Built, Adam Faith's last tv role sadly, has to be a contender. If memory serves it was so bad they didn't show the last episode.

Alberon

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Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2021, 10:20:06 PM »
One that is often mentioned is Yus, My Dear with Arthur Mullard, Queenie Watts and Mike Reid in an early role and, apparently, a spin-off from another show I've never heard of called Romany Jones. Based on this first episode it truly is fucking awful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uy2noSAoaQw

Out of the ones I remember watching there's 'Come Back Mrs Noah' a dreadful sci-fi sitcom starring Mollie Sugden and Ian Lavender.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdAytULg7Ks

And 'Up The Elephant and Round the Castle' starring everyone's favourite, Jim Davidson. This clip guest stars Marina Sirtis just before she landed her role in Star Trek TNG.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WvYe3wQVIE

This ran for three series. Three!

Poirots BigGarlickyCorpse

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Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2021, 10:28:36 PM »
https://franticplanet.wordpress.com/2019/01/09/bottle-boys/
Thanks so much for linking this.

Quote
[The episode] Here Comes the Groom does at least introduce more female characters, like Sharon’s mum, watching Corrie with her hair in curlers, and leaving the front door wide open in the hopes of being sexually assaulted by passing rapists. No, really.

sweet jesus

Chriddof

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Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2021, 10:39:02 PM »
And 'Up The Elephant and Round the Castle' starring everyone's favourite, Jim Davidson. This clip guest stars Marina Sirtis just before she landed her role in Star Trek TNG.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WvYe3wQVIE

Why is that man in the pub reading The Beezer?

Brundle-Fly

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Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2021, 10:45:26 PM »
I'm starting to get deja vu. Has anybody nominated So Haunt Me yet?
« Last Edit: February 24, 2021, 11:16:50 PM by Brundle-Fly »

Famous Mortimer

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Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2021, 10:55:11 PM »
Pretty sure franticplanet has an account here, and may be tempted out of retirement by this thread.

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Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2021, 11:24:22 PM »
Pretty sure franticplanet has an account here, and may be tempted out of retirement by this thread.

True on both counts.

There's actually eleven parts to the Shitcoms series (so far; it's ongoing), and the most recent one was Dream Stuffing, which is a video essay, though the other ten are linked in the post: https://franticplanet.wordpress.com/2020/10/12/dream-stuffing/.

Out of the ones I've watched for it, Curry and Chips might be the worst, not just for the endless and unbelievably hateful racism, but the weird scenes where they sit around and regurgitate Johnny Speight's political opinions about contraception and "shifty Harold Wilson" for ten minutes, which must've been a right laugh for the gammons sitting down to enjoy a DVD of 'good comedy how it used to be'. Big Top's up there too. Late 90's CBBC visuals, junior school play blocking with everyone stood in a long line, and in a tea-time slot, but with (absolutely awful) gags about Hitler and John Thompson getting his dick bitten off. Just the dirt worst, and undoubtedly the most embarrassing of all.

non capisco

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Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2021, 11:41:46 PM »
Enjoying the blog a lot, franticplanet. Looking forward to reading more tomorrow as I "work" from home.

Poirots BigGarlickyCorpse

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Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2021, 12:05:23 AM »
True on both counts.

There's actually eleven parts to the Shitcoms series (so far; it's ongoing), and the most recent one was Dream Stuffing, which is a video essay, though the other ten are linked in the post: https://franticplanet.wordpress.com/2020/10/12/dream-stuffing/.
Working my way through them now. I vaguely remember The Upper Hand, as in I remember it being on television.

Quote from: Come Back Mrs. Noah
In all of recorded entertainment, has anything aged worse than Mrs. Slocombe’s pussy jokes? It’s not even a double-entendre nowadays, just a woman plainly violating workplace sexual harassment laws to give colleagues daily updates on how she had to air out her vagina with a hair dryer, or got terrible cramp because she was rubbing herself all weekend. Disgusting.
I snort-laughed.

Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2021, 04:26:06 AM »
Why is that man in the pub reading The Beezer?

I'm more shocked by the fact that The Beezer had gone tabloid.  When the hell did that happen?

Lisa Jesusandmarychain

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Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2021, 06:56:06 AM »
I'm more shocked by the fact that The Beezer had gone tabloid.  When the hell did that happen?

A great , convincing Estonian accent from yer woman in that clip. Right up there with Amelia Bulmore's Ukranian accent in that Alan Partridge series.

Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2021, 07:30:37 AM »
Fuck me, The Upper Hand.  Even 11yr old me thought 'this is the most sitcommy sitcom ever to have existed'.  I just remember it being incredibly bland, like a bread sandwich.  Me Mam loved it though and seeing elderly Honor Blackman being all Blanche Devereaux stirred up some confusing thoughts for me.

I would say Heil Honey, I'm home! but that seems a bit obvious.  Plus I've never seen it or met anyone who has.

Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2021, 08:26:42 AM »


I would say Heil Honey, I'm home! but that seems a bit obvious.  Plus I've never seen it or met anyone who has.

21 posts. Maybe a new record.

BlodwynPig

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Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #22 on: February 25, 2021, 08:43:44 AM »
RTÉ is notorious for failing at sitcoms and one of the worst was Upwardly Mobile, a sitcom about a couple from the Northside of Dublin winning the Lotto and moving to the much posher area of Belvedere Downs on the Southside. I had vague memories of the theme tune but little else, so decided to check YouTube for episodes.

I'm a third of the way through this one and I haven't cracked a smile once.

Quote
Noel Doyle
9 months ago
Rte should rerun all of these

I quite like it - humourless but gentle.

Jockice

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Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #23 on: February 25, 2021, 09:48:01 AM »
It's very embarrassing to remember, but I laughed a lot at Mind Your Language when it came out.  In mitigation, I was only nine.  My dad however was 56 and read big serious books all the time and listened to classical music, and he laughed at it even more than me.

I'm just reading Peter Paphides' autobiography and he mentioned how his Greek immigrant parents loved Mind Your Language and specifically the Greek character. It was essential family viewing in that household.  And not one but two Pakistani friends of mine have mentioned in the past how much they enjoyed it. As did I. My view is that if everyone's a total national stereotype it's just funny. Like (and I know this isn't exactly the same thing), Russ Abbot's C U Jimmy character. As a young Scot living in England I'd heard every fucking stereotype and 'joke' about a million times by the time he started with that. But I just found it very amusing.

As for Love Thy Neighbour I'll do my usual mention of the time I said on another forum that I didn't think it was as racist as remembered and got followed around for weeks by some weirdo making allegations about my political views. A few months after this I ended up going for a drink with a mate from school who happened to be black and mentioned this. He was aghast. He remembered the programme as being totally anti-racist. Which is beyond even what I thought of it. I do think there is quite a bit of history rewriting about it, whereas for some reason Till Death Us Do Part is seen as a great satire on prejudice, although all I can really remember about it is Alf Garnett being abusive about minorities, none of whom were ever featured.

I can't remember ever seeing Bottle Boys. But I do remember hearing a tale about Robin Askwith being so ashamed he hid in a cupboard while filming it.


Anyway, You Must Be The Husband is the worst sitcom ever. Closely followed by Bread.

Retinend

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Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #24 on: February 25, 2021, 09:50:33 AM »
Does anyone remember "Full English"?



Episode 1(I think?)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lES1h6rj20
Episode 2:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeaZUTKS7Zo
Episode 3:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMc4NT4697U
Episode 4:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27NwSgnrsQA
Episode 5:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYgb5PbdbOM


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_English_(TV_series)


The script was written by two brothers, and the artistic direction was handled by Gerald Scarfe's son. The two brothers have since gone on to find great success with their production company, but they don't rush to mention this early misfire - an attempt to emulate the acerbic style of Family Guy in a rare counter-example of the Brits stealing from the Yanks in comedy.

The critics mauled it, almost unanimously: only Sam Wollaston of The Guardian (remember him?) piped up to say "I think it's hilarious". It was so poorly received that Channel 4 refused to broadcast the final episode (hence its designation as "bonus episode" on the DVD cover, there).

The show was callow and repugnant: childish and distasteful in every way, and determined to shock at any cost - it came across to me as "disrespectful" rather than "irreverent" - especially in its  treatment of the late Jade Goody.


dr beat

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Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #25 on: February 25, 2021, 10:01:27 AM »

As for Love Thy Neighbour I'll do my usual mention of the time I said on another forum that I didn't think it was as racist as remembered and got followed around for weeks by some weirdo making allegations about my political views. A few months after this I ended up going for a drink with a mate from school who happened to be black and mentioned this. He was aghast. He remembered the programme as being totally anti-racist. Which is beyond even what I thought of it. I do think there is quite a bit of history rewriting about it, whereas for some reason Till Death Us Do Part is seen as a great satire on prejudice, although all I can really remember about it is Alf Garnett being abusive to minorities, none of whom were ever featured.

Anyway, You Must Be The Husband is the worst sitcom ever. Closely followed by Bread.

Never seen Love Thy Neighbour but wasn't the joke always on the racist character in it? And I understand Warren Mitchell was always quite clear that there were going for racists rather than celebrating the Alf Garnett character, although perhaps its debatable if that message always got through.

As for Bread, yeah I agree.  Interesting how it was massive at the time and has largely been forgotten.  I remember the first one or two series, when it was on Thursday nights, were fairly knockabout fun, but it went downhill quickly when it moved to Sundays, got series with large numbers of episodes and sort of turned into a soap.  Problem there I think was it was an attempt at an ensemble cast, but with actors who didn't have the ability or funny bones to flesh out their characters (with possibly the exception of Peter Howitt), but who weren't given funny lines by the writer.   

Jockice

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Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #26 on: February 25, 2021, 10:10:54 AM »
Never seen Love Thy Neighbour but wasn't the joke always on the racist character in it? And I understand Warren Mitchell was always quite clear that there were going for racists rather than celebrating the Alf Garnett character, although perhaps its debatable if that message always got through.

As for Bread, yeah I agree.  Interesting how it was massive at the time and has largely been forgotten.  I remember the first one or two series, when it was on Thursday nights, were fairly knockabout fun, but it went downhill quickly when it moved to Sundays, got series with large numbers of episodes and sort of turned into a soap.  Problem there I think was it was an attempt at an ensemble cast, but with actors who didn't have the ability or funny bones to flesh out their characters (with possibly the exception of Peter Howitt), but who weren't given funny lines by the writer.

It was at first but from what I remember as it developed the black bloke sometimes came across as a bit of an idiot too.  Which I thought was fair enough. I'm no expert, it was an offhand remark about it that made this bloke pursue me like I'd been one of the founders of Combat 18 or something. I can appreciate that Till Death was intended as anti-racist, but as a fairly young kid living at the time in an almost all-white environment at the time it didn't really come across that way to me. Nor did it feature Nina Baden-Semper, who I thought was absolutely gorgeous. Una Stubbs wasn't bad though.

My mum boycotted Bread when Peter Howitt left. Even though there was another character playing Joey Boswell 'it just isn't the same.'

icehaven

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Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #27 on: February 25, 2021, 10:13:04 AM »
Does anyone remember "Full English"?



Episode 1(I think?)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lES1h6rj20
Episode 2:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeaZUTKS7Zo
Episode 3:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMc4NT4697U
Episode 4:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27NwSgnrsQA
Episode 5:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYgb5PbdbOM


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_English_(TV_series)


The script was written by two brothers, and the artistic direction was handled by Gerald Scarfe's son. The two brothers have since gone on to find great success with their production company, but they don't rush to mention this early misfire - an attempt to emulate the acerbic style of Family Guy in a rare counter-example of the Brits stealing from the Yanks in comedy.

The critics mauled it, almost unanimously: only Sam Wollaston of The Guardian (remember him?) piped up to say "I think it's hilarious". It was so poorly received that Channel 4 refused to broadcast the final episode (hence its designation as "bonus episode" on the DVD cover, there).

The show was callow and repugnant: childish and distasteful in every way, and determined to shock at any cost - it came across to me as "disrespectful" rather than "irreverent" - especially in its  treatment of the late Jade Goody.

Oh god. I only watched the first episode (much like everyone else I believe) but it was so bad it was immediately obvious it wasn't a case of giving it a chance or letting it grow into itself or anything, it was an attempt to copy the hugely successful American adult animations equivalent to trying to write in a mirror. I'm amused to learn Sam Wollaston liked it though, of course he did.

Richard Ayoade did the Dad's voice?! Doesn't mention that much does he?

icehaven

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Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #28 on: February 25, 2021, 10:14:27 AM »
What was that sitcom Adam Buxton did that he occasionally sheepishly mentions in his podcast? Never saw it but that was supposedly dire, or at least he says it was and refers to it being panned critically too.

Edit; Found it, it's The Persuasionists.

Re: Shitcoms - The Worst Sitcoms In History
« Reply #29 on: February 25, 2021, 10:25:01 AM »



Can't be coincidence, can it?

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