|Index||7 reviews in total|
8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
A damn funny show, 26 April 2003
Author: dell_of_dreams from Australia
Four of the funniest comics around (Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Tracy
Ullman and Ruby Wax) all together in one show? Hilarity
Girls on top has these four lasses playing four flatmates in a flat owned by Lady Carlton (Joan Greenwood).
Dawn French plays Amanda Ripley, hypocritical left-wing feminazi with a secret hobby of keeping pictures of penises in a box under her pillow.
Jennifer Saunders plays slow witted and childlike Jennifer Marsh who lives in a corner of the lounge room and is constantly victimized and bossed around by Amanda
Ruby Wax is failed American actress Shelly DuPont, who has a habit of being the annoying character that you wish would sometimes just tone it down a notch.
And Tracey Ullman plays (in the first series only) Bimbotic Candice Valentine.
Watching these four and Joan Greenwood in a show for which the script was edited by Ben Elton is certainly one of the funniest shows to grace television screens.
Come back GIRLS.
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Superb, 4 April 2011
Author: manimal99 from Nottingham
I hadn't seen this series since it was first shown in the eighties, so
what an absolute joy it has been to rediscover it. Although recorded in
the mid-80s, the humour hasn't dated one jot - there are few
contemporary references which has helped the show stand the test of
time remarkably well.
For me the star of the show was Tracey Ullman though. It wasn't long after this series that she defected to the US and it shows what a sad loss to British TV comedy she was.
Its also interesting to see Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders so early in their careers, although they seem to play "second fiddle" to Tracey Ullman and Ruby Wax in series one.
All in all, this show comes highly recommended.
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Go into it without preconceptions and you might enjoy it, 7 April 2005
Author: TelevisionJunkie from Texas
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Just to note, I think the only real spoiler here is the set-up that's
established in the first episode.
When I stumbled upon the now long out of print videos of this series, I had never seen "Ab Fab," "The Vicar of Dibley" or "French and Saunders." I was familiar with Tracy Ullman and Ruby Wax (as well as "The Young Ones," which this is always compared to), but I had not yet been subjected to the "Ab Fab" experience. That out of the way... It became very clear to me very quickly that this series had a lot of potential. It was witty, edgy and had five of the wackiest characters I'd seen from Brit TV at that point.
To summarize the characters/plot (since I haven't seen an in-depth summary anywhere on the net): Dawn French portrayed Amanda Wripley, a neo-Nazi feminist writer (for "Spare Cheeks" magazine) who is homeless. She cons her way into getting a flat in Chelsea, owned by Lady Carlton (Joan Greenwood), an insane romance novelist who adores her deceased dog, Josephine, so much that she sent the canine to the taxidermist after her death. Upon arriving, Amanda discovers the previous tenant, Candice Valentine (Tracy Ullman), is still occupying the flat. A slutty bar-hopper, Candice gives a very phony story about an illness that she has, and she herself cons Amanda into letting her stay. Meanwhile, nearly retarded Jennifer Marsh (Jennifer Saunders), a school chum of Amanda's, arrives hoping to share a pad with Amanda. The trio soon discover that none of them have the funds to pay the rent. Enter Shelley DuPont (Ruby Wax), a loud-mouthed failed American actress who's leeching off of her parents, running through their wealth like water, while trying to make it big in England. Personalities clash and hilarity ensues. "That's this - interesting."
While far more coherent in storytelling than it's male counterpart, "The Young Ones," some of the episodes missed the mark but the characters were so well developed and the one-liners were so hilarious that you nearly don't notice. Stories revolved around Shelley's acting career/social status (or lack thereof), the other girls wanting Candice out of the apartment, Jennifer's stupidity, Amanda's horniness... and it ended with one of the weirdest finale episodes it's ever been my pleasure to see (a finale that ranks right up there with "I Married Dora" on the weirdness scale). Despite some criticism that Ullman was underused, I thought her character was delightful and I was sad to see her go in the second series (though her departure was hilarious -- each of the other ladies thought that they killed Candice). Just as the series ended, it seemed as if the actors/writers had hit their stride, and it's a shame that the show didn't continue. Sadly Joan Greenwood passed away shortly after the show went off the air anyway -- and I can't imagine the show without Lady Carlton's Alzheimer's-induced rantings.
Now, the videos/DVDs... The Canadian company that released the series didn't put much care into the release. The picture quality's pretty good for an '80s show shot on video, though some have complained of audio problems. The original 3-VHS set was released in stereo that was not mono compatible -- the sound on the DVDs is far better. But then there's the DVDs themselves. Episodes are scattered across two 2-disc sets (when they could have easily been shoved onto one 2-disc set) and the episodes are completely out of order (to include Ullman in both releases). On the video release (and original airings, I'm sure), halfway through each episode it would go to the theme, pause, say "End Part One" and immediately come to "Part Two." These title cards have been omitted from the DVDs, making the picture/audio choppy in each episode. I sort of wish that BBC video would do an official release, but I've got them all now, so I can't complain.
If you're going into this for the first time, go in without preconceptions. While it IS French and Saunders, this was their first big series, and it shows since it is a little rough around the edges. Personally, I like that roughness. It works for the characters, the stories and the series. And it made me seek out "Ab Fab" (which I'd avoided since I loved "High Society" -- which was unjustly referred to as an American-Ab-Fab-rip-off).
3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
very, very good, 21 November 2006
Author: luvinasda from the Midlands, United Kingdom
Well, what can i say about Girls on Top then? OK, its not as funny as Ab Fab or anything that Dawn French or Tracey Ullman have been in recently, but still, it was an enjoyable comedy. Now everyone says Ruby Wax, who plays the eccentric, failed American actress Shelly, and Tracey Ullman the typical London, bimbo slag as the most annoying of the girls, but i found these two to be very funny in deed, and nice to see Jennifer Saunders at her ditsy best. And what can i say i say about Joan Greenwood? hilarious! and the thing with her dead stuffed dog Joesphine is simply pure comedy! i loved this programme i really did, but it ain't Ab Fab believe u me. but if your a fan of any of the girls, then i would recommend it! 4**** out of 5*****
3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
A mixed bag but Well worth it., 16 September 2004
Author: FUNCHO MCLALA from Boston, MA
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Possible spoilers so be warned!
This is a fascinating series, for its eighties nostalgia and the opportunity it gives to see these famous women "before they were stars". The guest stars are also a handful of success stories - Hugh Laurie, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane and OMG Katherine Helmond, like you have NEVER seen her before, as Shelley's American mother!
I agree that the comedy is uneven - some episodes lack that spark, but others are totally over the top, giving us a glimpse of what is to come from these women. There are moments of inspired insanity though, which is why I recommend it.
Strangely, (and I am a big Tracey Ullman fan), although the series was supposed to be a TU vehicle, she has the least to do and is really the least interesting character. I think the show takes a huge leap forward in the second season after she leaves. It seems edgier, crazier and funnier. At this point I have seen the entire series, bar three episodes, and I am enjoying it a lot.
Dawn French is the sort of "sane" one and is somewhat typically herself until they let her go man crazy in the second season.
Jennifer Saunders is also better in the second season when she gets more to do and her speech becomes a bit clearer, but as one of the odder characters, she is also one of my faves.
I LOVE Ruby Wax, and although she may be a sterotype, I know plenty of Americans just like her! Plus I love how her character, Shelley, always sinks her own boat with her pushiness and outright stupidity!
Like I said I think Tracey Ullman doesn't get the opportunity to shine here.
She's okay and appropriately "bimbotic" but wish we had seen more.
Finally, Joan Greenwood's Lady Carlton is OUT THERE! In outer spaaaaace! We LOVE her! Her over-dramatic entrances, her dead stuffed dog she carries around with her, how she always calls TU's character, "the Slut" all over-enunciated and wonderful! She is this gay man's camp dream! You have to see her in action.
All in all, I think that had this series continued, it would have improved. But it's a valentine, and you should give it a try. Stop by when you're in Boston and we'll invite you for a viewing!
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
This Is A Must Have For French and Saunders Fans, 13 January 2006
Author: jacinta-8 from United States
These Girls On Top dvds are a must for French & Saunders fans. It's some of the best of their early work. I love Dawn's character, Amanda. And I also think Jennifer is brilliant as the slow, child-like Jennifer Marsh. My only complaint is that Ruby Wax kind of over acts and after a while I find myself wanting to slap her silly. Other than that, this a great show with a lot of funny moments. Once you get to know the characters you will love them. Unfortunately there are only 13 episodes made and I doubt there will be any in the future. I for one would love to see a Girls On Top reunion. Bottom line...you will enjoy the show. Buy it!
5 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Very disappointing, 4 July 2004
Author: Rich Meyer (firstname.lastname@example.org) from St. Clair, Pennsylvania
I can only say that I was very disappointed with Girls on Top. I
recently watched the first DVD with the first three episodes and found
it to be more annoying than watchable.
I expected a lot more, considering what a big French and Saunders fan I am, but even knowing that this series was created before their more-celebrated partnership began doesn't make this show any funnier. Dawn French has the only semi-likable character on the show ... with Tracy Ullman and Ruby Wax being completely over the top in their portrayals (Wax is an American, and I shudder to think what the British must really think of us).
Sure, I laughed a couple of times, but most of the time I just strived to try and understand what was being said. It was interesting to see Alan Rickman (one of my favorite actors) in a bit part in the first episode as well, but there really wasn't much to redeem this britcom.
If you like these actresses, check out their later work ... avoid wasting your time with Girls on Top.
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