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Four mis-matched university students share a house in North London: Neil, the hippy; Mike, the cool person; Rick, a would-be anarchist studying sociology; and Vyvyan, the punk medical student who is prone to extreme violence. Together with their bastard Russian landlord, the world of these "bachelor boys" is surreal and violent, but ultimately hilarious. Written by
Alexander Lum <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Never equalled... never even imitated, because most writers are too scared to try...
Produced in six-episode fits during 1982 and 1984, The Young Ones would have been relegated to the status of a historical curiosity if not for one simple fact - it is a lot funnier even today than a lot of the dross that has been put on television since. This show came long before Australia had pay television, a short while before eMpTyV, and a long, long time before Hollywood's standards fell so low that the likes of Jim Carrey or the brothers Farrelly were given jobs.
Focused upon the daily routines of four British college students, the show came out with all guns blazing, and it didn't let up for a single episode. The first episode pretty much sets the standard for all the others - while Rik is screaming his head off about things that mean very little, Neil is cooking a last supper, and Mike is being his usual bland self, Vyvyan crashes through the kitchen wall and announces that the council have decided to knock down their house. The council are reasoning that the lads are a health hazard, so while Rik is whining, Neil is thinking of hiding within the walls, and Mike is planning to get into the council representative's pants, Vyvyan plans to thwart them by knocking the house down himself. At one point, he even jumps through the wall that seperates the lads' house from their next door neighbours. Classic stuff, and it gets even more over the top in the next five episodes.
My favourite episode... well, it's a tie between Nasty and Bomb. Nasty is just so stupendously funny because Vyvyan is at his nastiest, but Bomb is by far more ridiculous in its premise - who could imagine a bomb landing in front of the fridge, then Vyvyan eating the TV in order to escape the TV license man? As if that last question doesn't date this show enough, Nasty sees Vyvyan and Mike trying to figure out how to operate a VCR that the latter has borrowed from Harry The Bastard. Not a gangster, mind you, but a guy who works at Rhumbalo's (sp?). In this age of DVD-Video, an imminent HD-DVD format, and a standards war between SDTV and HDTV, with Recordable DVD now out in force, those of us who were six years old, or older, when Nasty first transmitted should be experiencing flashbacks now.
The band appearances were quite something too, ranging from Radical Posture and Alexei Sayle doing a real crackup of a song about Dr. Marten's boots to Dexy's Midnight Runners playing Jackie Wilson Said in the dunny, it seemed that every collection of musicians eager for a start or some kind of exposure wanted to get on The Young Ones. It also served to prove that there was a lot more interesting music coming out of England during the 1980s than has come out of America during the entire twentieth century.
Given the political situation in most of the Western, so-called First World, and the advent of entertainment technologies that were considered science fiction when this series went to air, the time could not be better for a new version of The Young Ones, or something that follows in a similar style. The problem there is that The Young Ones set the standard so high that it's going to take a Herculean effort for a new series to simply not be destroyed by comparison to the original. Which is not bad considering some of the crap that was about to hit the airwaves later in the 1980s.
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