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The Young Ones may be an obscurity in the USA, but here in Australia its
fondly remembered. We first heard rumours of it back in about '82, then
someone sneaked in a crappy tape of 'Bomb'. We sat and watched it in awe.
This was The Great British Surrealist sitcom; the logical next step from The
Goons and Monty Python. It was appallingly, daringly head and shoulders
above everything else from the 80's (oh, alright, except Black Adder.
Especially Black Adder II).
Four students: a hippy, a punk, a would-be anarchist who secretly loves Cliff Richard, and... Mike, 'the cool person' - who appears to be throughly normal. Except he isn't. In fact, when you really take a close look at him, Mike is actually stranger than all the others put together. Half of his lines make little or no sense. He said something once about a sheepdog, which struck me as one of the strangest lines I've ever heard on television. But anyway, he is still nominally the anchor of normality around which all the madness rotates.
Using Python's rapid-cut technique, and employing a similar lack of concern for continuity, a Young Ones episode is a rollercoaster of surrealism, violence and squalor (the latter two elements taken to even greater extremes by Mayall and Edmonson in 'Bottom'). Episodes are suddenly interrupted by the appearance of Benito Mussolini, singing a song called 'Stupid Noises', or by various other manifestations of Russian landlord Alexai Sayle, who is inclined to go into stand up comedy routines and address the audience, much to the confusion of everyone else on set. Images of garden taps or insects are flashed on screen for a fraction of a second, scenes cartwheel off in all directions: a family of peasants in the adjoining room sit huddled round a lamp, a wardrobe leads into the realms of Narnia, an unexploded atomic bomb lands in the middle of the kitchen, vegetables in the fridge talk to each other, and Motorhead just happen to be in the loungeroom, performing 'Ace of Spades'.
Someobody else said that this series hit Britain like bombshell. It's effect was similar in Australia. It never spawned any imitators - the rest of the 80's seemed to be given over to dreary political satire, but it is undeniably one of the great English sitcoms - even if, now and then, it drags its feet just a little.
Like Fawlty Towers, it ran for only two series, but when they were over, it had breached countless boundaries of bad taste and absurdity, introduced the writing talents of Ben Elton, the careers of Rik Mayall, Alexei Sayle, Nigel Planer, Dawn French and Adrian Edmonson, and made the godawful, bland, mid 80's bearable for a few people like me.
Produced in six-episode fits during 1982 and 1984, The Young Ones would
been relegated to the status of a historical curiosity if not for one
fact - it is a lot funnier even today than a lot of the dross that has
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.
The Young Ones is simply the most wonderful sit-com ever. A mad combination of Monty Python's Flying Circus with the British punk scene, The Young Ones focuses on four hilariously demented student archtypes. I can't believe this doesn't have a larger cult following. I highly recommend this to any and everyone.
With few exceptions, today's comedy scene is abysmal. Canned laughter and
absolutely nothing funny. No-one seems able to write a funny script now. The
Young Ones didn't have to try too hard to be entertaining-it just was,
It was set in a student household and didn't really have plots-just craziness. Margaret Thatcher was UK Prime Minister at the time and the characters made frequent digs at her and her regime. Rik Mayall played Rick who was the craziest of the lot and always picking on Neil who was played by Niger Planer. Neil was the hippy who cared about everyone, man and beast but was bullied constantly. Adrian Edmondson played punkrocker Vivyan who was violent at times and simply didn't give a toss. Then there was Mike played by Christopher Ryan. It is hard to define Mike-I challenge anyone to give a character description to Mike. He wasn't as crazy as the rest of them but he was weird. And that is what I liked about The Young Ones.
As I said earlier, don't expect any plots because there are none. And as for them being students, well I never saw them revising in their spare time. There were some great scenes throughout the show and some very surreal scenes as well. Items of food in the fridge spoke on the state of things at times and there was the two speaking rats. Alexi Sayle as the landlord Balowski popped in from time to time.
Expect the crazy when you watch this. Great scenes throughout the show included a nuclear bomb landing in the kitchen, Vivyan eating the TV to escape prosecution by the TV Licence man, the students fighting and Neil being planted like a seed in the ground and spouting other Neils.
A fantastic cartoon-like comedy which had some impressive cameo appearances throughout it's run. If you're fed up with the boring tripe that tries to pass itself off as comedy nowadays, then check this out.
Absolutely brilliant describes this show. I have never laughed so hard in my entire life that was until I saw one episode of "The young ones" a while back. I couldn't stop laughing! Such funny characters like Rick, Vyvyien, Mike Thecoolguy, and Neil the hippie have never made me laugh until I cried. It has a lot of silly, and funny moments as well as some of the best memorable quotes ever to be written on a script. All I can say is to those who have never seen this show, and have a good opportunity to see it, CHECK IT OUT!!! 10/10.
This is my favorite show of all time... no questions asked. My mother
introduced it to me last year when she bought a video called "The Very
Best of The Young Ones" which featured 5 episodes. They were Bomb,
Boring, Bambi, Interesting and Summer Holiday. I was so hooked on it! I
gave the video away to someone else... not before getting the complete
series of season 1 and season 2 on DVD. It's absolute kick@ss and stuff
and I can't help but watch it all of the time. I blooming love it.
I love Vyvyan the most out of them all, followed by Rik than Neil and of course Mike TheCoolPerson. But they're all hilarious. My favorite episode was probably Bambi... but they're all good.
Alexei Sayle would have to have been recognized as the funniest man in the whole entire world during this series.
The musical guests are fantastic as well with Madness, Motorhead, and so much more.
Hilariously written, wonderfully over the top acting, very original the whole way. Great... great... great... great show! This is proof that the British do comedy 100,000,000,000,000,000 times or better than the United States of America. Sorry Yankees... bow down before the Oxford graduates, Cambridge graduates and gifted high school dropouts!
There was never anything quite like The Young Ones and there never will
It's almost impossible to copy this outrageously bizarre and far-fetched
show anyway. It's even impossible to exaggerate how crazy it was. Do I
to say I totally love it? each episode is crammed full of eternally
dialogue, wonderful physical comedy and insane, unexpected plot
developments. The Young Ones takes place in a universe where absolutely
ANTHING can and WILL happen.
Rick is undeniably the best character tho. He and Vivian get into the
stupidest fights and argue over the dumbest of things. Neil the hippy is
also consistently amusing in his many failed attempts to off himself. Mike
hardly ever had any funny lines but thankfully no episode really ever
revolved around him. Plus a Bolowski family member (always played by Alexi
Sayle) pops up in each episode to add to the mayhem.
What makes the show priceless are the totally irrelevant and senseless intercut scenes. Check out the episode 'CASH' for the best example of this. And, in an effort to raise the budget from 'sitcom' to 'light entertainment' the show had a musical performance each week from the likes of Jools Holland, Madness and Motorhead. They never intrude tho as they are cut over madcap montages.
It speaks volumes of the youth of 80's Britain and has a lot to say about the politics of the Tory Government at the time. All four play penniless students, surviving on lentils, who are completely unconcerned about their exams or coming bottom in the whole world. This is mainly channelled thru Rick (Mayall co-wrote the show with Ben Elton) who is the most studenty of them all, a wannabe anarchist and people's poet. Vyvian is a hard, hardcore Sex Pistols-like punk/thug who thinks nothing of having steel stars stuck onto his forehead or chopping his fingers off for a laugh. Neil smells. And has no quibbles picking up dead pigeons off the street to cook for dinner. Mike is a ladies man, despite the fact there are precious few ladies around him. All four get on like a house burning down. Or exploding like a cigar thrown into fart gas.
The show was shot on early 80's video with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. the picture quality is not the best but it's always looked like a TV show so it's perfectly adequate. The sound is Mono but that's all you need to enjoy.
The extras seem cool but they're not really. There is a bonus episode from Filthy Rich and Catflap and one from Bottom (the episode 'Smells' in which Ritchie and Eddie try to lure two lesbians with foul-smelling pheromone spray). The 15-minutes long 'Creating the Young Ones' is quite superficial and deserved to be much longer. And where are the new interviews with Edmondson, Ryan and Sayle? The same applies to 'The Young Ones and the 80s'. Why wasn't it longer? Five postcards of all the main stars are also included in the set. And you must buy it.
This series can give you hysterics time and time again. Something freakish, surprising or brilliantly silly happens every minute, and the comical appeal never seems to fade. The scripts are loaded with some wonderful, hilarious dialogue, the visual gags are suitably campy and over-the-top, and the plots are filled with surreal and quirky bits of delightful nonsense. This is a treasure trove of unforgettable moments of hilarity, you are urged to seek this out and laugh your head off.
My favorite thing to do with the Young Ones happened in a shop in Greenwich Village in the early 90's. I was in Meyers of Keswick, a British grocery in the Village with a young female coworker who trod down there with me in hopes of purchasing Christmas crackers and some English candy for the parties we were going to. We were in line waiting, and I noticed an actual Kendall Mintcake on the counter, picked it up, and screwed my face up to try to look like Ben Elton and said, "Hi," like I was Mr. Kendall Mintcake. My coworker stared blankly and I frustratedly tried to explain who The Young Ones were, Bambi, The Balowski Family, Monk deWally deHonk, Mr. Liberal,etc. to no avail. A cockney bloke standing next to us finally exploded and shouted, "Its Only The Greatest show Ever, Mate!!!" I asked him if he wanted to see how many pressups I could do. His girlfriend screamed at me that she was not being aggressive and we cracked in up in front of a few astonished bystanders.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Why cant there be more shows like the Young ones filled with senseless violence and verbal beatings. Ill tell you why its because everyone is so worried about being politically correct. If we could all give it up and say YOU BASTARD on a regular basis television might just be funny again. I mean why is everyone so afraid of being offended? who cares. My favorite episode is Sick. How can you go wrong with any show that has British punk band Madness playing in the middle of the street while a riot is going on. By the way the riot was started because a man throws a brick at a womens head. Halariouse! by the way if you like the young ones you should check out another one of my personal favorites The Dangerous Brothers. and stop being so p.c. YOU BASTARD!
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