Monday, 13 December 2010

It's been a long time coming....

To quote the good Reverend I.M. Jolly, ""Ah've had a helluva year" Masters Degree completed and all. I had fully expected to enjoy the academic work, but hadn't realised that I would meet so many wonderful and lovely people, some of whom were even North American. Which shows me that I shouldn't be so quick to retort to lazy stereotypes. In fact if I've learned two things this years its that i utterly detest xenophobia... and the Dutch.

If anyone is nonplussed by the reference to the good Reverend, here is, as played by the late Rikki Fulton: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Cpb8rqYFd8 It amazes me that I'd never heard of him or his work before I'd moved to Scotland, 'Scotch and Wry' the show from which it was taken, was only shown once South of the border and it tanked. I can't see why, it's really well scripted and the subject matter is sufficiently universal to raise a laugh, comic clergymen being a staple of sitcoms from 'All Gas and Gaiters' to 'Father Ted. '

'Still Game' was buried deep in the English TV schedules and never really made any impact . I'm not sure it can wholly be explained by the use of regional dialect, sitcoms with a strong sense of regional identity and reference points like 'Phoenix Nights' have been hugely popular. Indeed the one Scottish comedy show of recent years to have any real success was Rab C Nesbitt, which was hardly cut-glass Received Pronunciation (contrary to popular myth, it wasn't shown in England with subtitles.) I'd argue that the real difference is the tone of sitcoms, rather than the language barrier.

When I moved up here I found the majority of Scottish sitcoms, with the exception of Rab C. Nesbitt, hard to watch, they seemed very 'knockabout.' Things like Still Game, the 'Dear Green Place' or 'Gary Tank Commander,' tend to eschew attempts at realism and go for a broader comedy with the laughs coming from one-liners or overtly 'comic' characters or scenes. You don't tend to get the flawed, failed characters that form the backbone of English comedy or the element of bleakness, tragedy and isolation you get in the likes of 'the Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, ' and 'Steptoe and Son,' or the naturalistic feel of the Royale family. Its not a complaint. It is not a criticism, (apart from Gary: Tank Commander, which is actually appalling) only an observation and a curiosity why this should be the case.

Anyway on that sweeping generalisation I shall go to bed! Good night and it is very nice to be back!

1 comment:

Scarlet Blue said...

My Goodness, this is an unexpected post!
The Scots did 'Chewing the Fat' didn't they? A little bit dark, but very funny.
Well... I'll be back for your next post in about 11 months time! And congrats on the Masters Degree!
Sx