The Upper Hand (1990–1996)

TV Series  |   |  Comedy
6.8
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British version of the US TV show 'Who's The Boss?'

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Title: The Upper Hand (1990–1996)

The Upper Hand (1990–1996) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Diana Weston ...
 Caroline Wheatley / ... (95 episodes, 1990-1996)
...
 Laura West / ... (95 episodes, 1990-1996)
...
 Charlie Burrows / ... (95 episodes, 1990-1996)
William Puttock ...
 Tom Wheatley / ... (94 episodes, 1990-1996)
...
 Joanna Burrows / ... (93 episodes, 1990-1996)
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British version of the US TV show 'Who's The Boss?'

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Comedy

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1 May 1990 (UK)  »

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En karl i huset  »

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Remake of Who's the Boss? (1984) See more »

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Weak sitcom; cute comic drama
7 May 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Sometimes we Brits steal America's shows.

This is based on US show Who's The Boss? I say 'based'; translated is more like it, as the first episodes are identical in their script. The premise is interesting: career woman Caroline Wheatley (Diane Weston) is looking for a housekeeper. Unbeknown to her, her mother Laura (Honor Blackman) has promised the job to ex-footballer Charlie (Joe McGann, brother of Paul/Stephen/Mark McGann). Though Caroline is a bit unsettled at having a bloke in the house, he and his chip-off-the-block daughter Joanna (Kellie Bright) move in.

As a sitcom, it's a bit 'gentle' and laboured; sleepy Sunday type of TV, which is probably why it's being repeated on ITV 3. It works a lot better as a comic drama about alternative family structures and gender role reversals. Refreshingly (although I haven't watched every episode so don't know if this evolves) neither the characters of Caroline or Charlie are made to sacrifice their personalities. Caroline is a career woman who couldn't care less about domesticity and Charlie is house-proud without being portrayed as effeminate.

We know from the start that Caroline and Charlie will get together but it's like in Ugly Betty. It's the audience's pay-off. However there's no sizzling sexual chemistry. That may disappoint some viewers but I actually prefer it. The sitcom is about families and whilst I'm not disputing the right of parents to have a sex life (which Caroline and Charlie attempt to have else where), it would imply that the combined family was as a result, an afterthought, whereas it's actually the romance that's the afterthought.

There isn't really a 'will they, won't they?', it's a question of 'when will they?'. But even then, the appeal is that the families just accept their unconventional structure; indeed, they pretty soon become one family.

Whilst I wouldn't watch it for laughs, it's a nice undemanding bit of comfort TV. Second Chances was also on around about this time; it has a similar theme of families evolving/combining and a similar gentle tone. Interestingly the opposite of other nineties sitcoms such as Game On and Men Behaving Badly, which explored lad culture.


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