Classic 1960s British comedy series about a middle aged man and his elderly father who run an unsuccessful 'rag and bone' business (collecting and selling junk). Harold (the son) wants to ... See full summary »
Harry H. Corbett,
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Rigsby was the third of the golden trio of bigots on British TV sit coms in the 70's, the others of course being Alf Garnet and Eddie Booth. Alf Garnet was an obnoxious and overbearing loud-mouth who never knew when to shut up ( he mellowed a bit by the 1980's in the revamped IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH). LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR was a comedy centered at all times on blatant "in your face" racial goading as well as infantile boorish insults that even back then was tiresome .
I can't say this about RISING DAMP or the main character Rigsby. Sure racial remarks were part and parcel of Rigsbys repertoire.For example in one episode you only had to look at the expression on Rigsbys face to see what he was thinking when Philip said he did not like the color of an ashened face sick tenant, or the episode when Rigsby mocked hunger and poverty in Africa!
However, by contrast with RISING DAMP you could also laugh at Rigsbys Scrooge like and eccentric behavior over money and his shortcomings when dealing with women; i.e his narcissistic obsession over Miss Jones is point in case. No matter how hard he worked he couldn't get this man hungry spinster to take an interest in him! In addition his pre WWII upbringing and social values were often at odds with the social changes in 1970's, i.e long haired students living on a grant. Also his insensitivity and impatience towards his tenants and their problems provided an extra dimension of comedy.
In one episode he was trying to reason with a suicidal tenant to come down off his roof rather than jump then asked him while up there if he could straighten the TV aerial to improve the reception. This was a real party piece that had a Tony Hancock style of incompetence to it rather than it being mean spirited.
He was not well educated but he was likable and despite obvious flaws in his character, when forced to, often displayed loyalty towards Alan and Philip despite there different values. For example in the episode PERMISSIVE SOCIETY he stood up and confronted an irate father of one of Alans girl friend's also, in the episode NIGHT OUT he stood no nonsense and made a fool of the waiter and insulted the owner.
Lastly, women were not spared Rigsbys rudeness, the episode WINE AND ROSES he runs into an old battle-axe who he mistakingly thinks is his blind date. "I've never been so insulted in all my life" she barks, "well you should try to go out more often!" Rigsby snaps -- utterly hilarious. I.e. he spread his ignorance and rudeness evenly across class and gender boundaries! Politically incorrect? Of course, what isn't nowadays, yet, certainly watchable today which I can't say for TILL DEATH AS DO PART or LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR.
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