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August 18, 2022, 02:09:44 AM

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My Family

Started by TheQueensboroBridge, July 23, 2022, 09:56:20 PM

Previous topic - Next topic
During its original run I considered this show with absolute scorn. In my twenties ans only interested in Chris Morris and anything Chris Morris adjacent, Partridge, The Office, Spaced, South Park and anything I considered 'dark' or leftfield it represented everything I hated about British primetime sitcoms. A cosy, dull, Radio Times approved throw back to a bygone era. Obviously I was a cunt.

Thing is I grew up loving 'traditional' sitcoms but aside from seeing a couple of clips with that Nick guy being vaguely funny I never gave this a chance.

Until recently when clips started showing up on YouTube and I watched them and found them genuinely funny. Granted they were all taken out of context and all seemed to feature Robert Lindsay as the Dad and Death in Paradise guy playing Nick. But I liked them.

So was I wrong all along? Was it really good? Is it just because I'm sliding into middle age? Does it look better with hindsight compared to what we have today? Or is it pretty rubbish?

Its all on iPlayer so shall I give it a go? Or try The Outlaws instead?

(Looking it up on Wikipedia I was surprised to learn that Nick left after 5 seasons and it carried on for another 6 after! I'm going to take a guess and say it went downhill when he wasn't in it/got even worse).

up_the_hampipe

I think it did go on far too long, and Nick's departure definitely hurt the show. Robert Lindsay and Zoe Wanamaker apparently started to hate doing the show as it went on, even refusing to film an episode because the script was so poor.

I haven't seen it since I was a kid basically, so I'm not sure how it holds up but I'm fairly sure it's better than most of those thrown together trad sitcoms. I remember an episode where Nick becomes an exorcist being genuinely funny.

Wezzo

The first two or three series are genuinely good, imo. Nothing groundbreaking but a fair number of laughs. Probably wouldn't bother with anything after Kris Marshall left (I did watch every series a while back, and some of the later ones were quite tough to get through).

dissolute ocelot

I think it depends on your tolerance of Robert Lindsay's gurning, but for a while it was quite pleasant, although I don't remember it being particularly funny. The idea of Lindsay as a dentist is certainly amusing. As a show, it went on a journey from competently put together, to increasingly dull, to why are these people even in the same house?

Lindsay's is a strange career though. A man of many talents. Some wonderful shows like Nightingales and GBH, did a lot of Shakespeare, but there was Me and My Girl and the attempt to become a musical comedy star with Bert Rigby. I'm too young for Citizen Smith. I bet he was amazing as Richard III - I wonder if he tap-danced.

Noodle Lizard

I remember it being a nice thing that you could almost guarantee would be on at a certain time of day on UK Gold or whatever - back when you couldn't just conjure up anything you fancied in a few clicks. Nice if you wanted something to eat a sandwich with. Would it hold up to any harsher scrutiny than that? Probably not. It served its purpose just fine though.

I remember reading some interviews with Kris Marshall being incredibly disparaging of it after he left, "a serious actor" after all. That always left a bitter taste; you'd better have a lot of talent or a hell of a career lined up to get away with that. Sky ads within a year.

Captain Z

I never watched more than a handful of episodes at the time, I had very little feeling one way or another about it. There was a thread a few months back noting it was all up on iPlayer again, so I picked a random episode from series 2 or 3 and gave it a go. It was fucking tedious shite.

up_the_hampipe

Quote from: Noodle Lizard on July 23, 2022, 11:59:55 PMI remember reading some interviews with Kris Marshall being incredibly disparaging of it after he left, "a serious actor" after all. That always left a bitter taste; you'd better have a lot of talent or a hell of a career lined up to get away with that. Sky ads within a year.

He said it was always a bit weird playing him because he was so much older than the character, although it was never clear how old Nick was supposed to be, just "you should have moved out by now" age I guess. He seemed appreciative of it, though, even if he wanted to get away and be taken more seriously. He was actually on The One Show with Lindsay and Wanamaker for the 20th anniversary reminiscing about the show.

The Lurker

I quite liked it when I was a young'un as Nick was absolute gold. However, I watched an episode or two recently and it was very dull

Quote from: TheQueensboroBridge on July 23, 2022, 09:56:20 PM(Looking it up on Wikipedia I was surprised to learn that Nick left after 5 seasons and it carried on for another 6 after! I'm going to take a guess and say it went downhill when he wasn't in it/got even worse).

It really did go downhill.  It wasn't just him leaving, it was also the way that they brought in new and much less funny characters - sort of one-joke characters (she's thick, he's childlike, etc) who each came to live with the family for some spurious reason.  As you do.

ishantbekeepingit

If you like dark stuff, there's an episode where Robert Lindsay tells a small child that heaven isn't real and he and everyone he loves face oblivion and worms eating their faces when they die, which was pretty fun.

letsgobrian

13 of the later, poorer episodes were written by the screenwriting team of Leveson & Minett, currently being highlighted over in the "What's the worst old comedy show on YouTube?" thread.

So having watched the first four episodes of the first season a few observations:

-I definitely did sit down to watch this when the first episode went out. I remember the rather weak A Plot and central joke being Susan's decision to 'cheat' on Ben by going to see another dentist and how it's like infidelity. It hasn't gotten better with age.

-Maybe it's a product of its time but it is all very cosy and almost completely lacking any of the bite and true eccentricity you usually expect from even the most seemingly gentle British sitcoms. Especially when it comes to class issues. Its like they exist in their own perfectly lovely, comfortably off middle class bubble and it's not even used as something to mine jokes from. If anything it's presented as aspirational. You can see the American influence in that respect. I might be wrong and later seasons might introduce hard hitting 'very special episodes' but I'm going to guess not.

-It is at times insufferably smug. Not helped by the (admittedly realistic) fact they often laugh at their own jokes.

-I'm guessing it took them a while to realise Nick was the MVP and give him more screen time because he doesn't appear much in these opening episodes and in fact Daniella Denby Ashe gets more screen time. Lindsay is pretty good but I already find myself waiting for Nick to appear again. There is no way I will be watching once he buggers off.

-Overall it's alright. But I can't do more than one episode at a time. I feel full up after half an hour. Whereas when I rewatched OFITG and Keeping Up Appearances for instance I could race through 3 or 4 episodes at a time. I quite like how inoffensive it is. It reminds me of a happier and gentler time, at least in my memory. A more innocent time when jokes about the internet and dot com millionaires were all the rage and the fact Nick gets catfished by a 48 year old builder from Sunderland and then catfishes a young french girl by pretending to be a lesbian seemed quaintly amusing.

-Daisy Donovan has a recurring role as Ben's dental receptionist. Coming right off the back of the 11 O Clock Show. She's quite good. What a funny career she has had.

-The creator worked on Larry Sanders which you wouldn't have guessed. 

Virgo76


Alberon


Mr Vegetables

I think as a 16-year-old I didn't like this because it wasn't as hard-hitting as Frasier, which maybe reveals a lot about the kind of teenager I was

Virgo76

Quote from: Mr Vegetables on August 01, 2022, 01:41:04 PMI think as a 16-year-old I didn't like this because it wasn't as hard-hitting as Frasier, which maybe reveals a lot about the kind of teenager I was
It certainly doesn't reflect badly on you (or rather, your younger self)

jobotic

I didn't like this as a sixteen year old because it wasn't going to be aired for another 11 years.

Because I'm old.

I can imagine this sort of joke being in My Family

Virgo76


pigamus

Quote from: letsgobrian on July 26, 2022, 10:57:03 AM13 of the later, poorer episodes were written by the screenwriting team of Leveson & Minett,

They ought to have an inquiry

Virgo76

I felt similar about this to the OP. I always assumed it was shit and publicly berated it, but secretly suspected I might like it if I gave it more of a chance. Now, with it all on the iPlayer and with me in my mellower 40s, rather than my angry young 20s, I sampled two episodes. My thoughts...
1. Kris Marshall's definitely the best thing on it.
2. Great to see Daisy Donovan again. I had no idea she'd ever done anything other than The 11 o Clock Show.
3. Some nostalgia. The internet and DVD players are clearly very new things.
4. I seem to hate both the parents. This may prove an insurmountable barrier to me enjoying it.

Quote from: Virgo76 on August 03, 2022, 09:28:19 AMI felt similar about this to the OP. I always assumed it was shit and publicly berated it, but secretly suspected I might like it if I gave it more of a chance. Now, with it all on the iPlayer and with me in my mellower 40s, rather than my angry young 20s, I sampled two episodes. My thoughts...
1. Kris Marshall's definitely the best thing on it.
2. Great to see Daisy Donovan again. I had no idea she'd ever done anything other than The 11 o Clock Show.
3. Some nostalgia. The internet and DVD players are clearly very new things.
4. I seem to hate both the parents. This may prove an insurmountable barrier to me enjoying it.


I'm re-watching in order and am halfway through season 2. It's really noticeable how much sillier it gets very quickly. The rather dull, 'arent we wry?'stuff from the first series is replaced with more outlandish plots and slapstick. And it's all the better for it. Robert Lindsay in particular is given alot more to do and plays it much bigger and it works better. They obviously realised Kris Marshall was the best thing on it and so increased his screen time and geared the plots more to his character and so the rest of the cast dial it up a bit more.
Its no classic but I'm enjoying it. Definitely still stopping when Marshall leaves though.

Sadly Daisy Donovan vanishes after S1.

thr0b

It works for a bit after Marshall leaves as well, but only for a bit.

Even after that bit, as a thing to stumble  upon on telly, leave it on. It's very much "this'll do" telly.

Zoe Wanamaker in silky pyjamas is the only thing I can remember about this show.
I found it insufferable. Especially wolfy's loud grumbly acting.

Petey Pate

There was an interesting series of blog posts by one of the writers which gave some insight into why the show was what it was. Robert Lindsay didn't exactly come across in a great light. I've been searching around for it but with no luck.

oustropique

Quote from: Petey Pate on August 04, 2022, 08:05:21 AMThere was an interesting series of blog posts by one of the writers which gave some insight into why the show was what it was. Robert Lindsay didn't exactly come across in a great light. I've been searching around for it but with no luck.

You might be thinking of this. It's got Robert Lindsay being antagonistic in it and is part of a series on Paul Rose's writing career. I went back to read it all during the course of this thread. It's fascinating stuff.

Petey Pate

Quote from: oustropique on August 04, 2022, 08:27:19 AMYou might be thinking of this. It's got Robert Lindsay being antagonistic in it and is part of a series on Paul Rose's writing career. I went back to read it all during the course of this thread. It's fascinating stuff.

Many thanks! The culture of the writer's room he describes is very similar to what the staff of American sitcoms get up to - they were imitating the model in more ways than one.