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I wasn't sure what to make of "The Royle Family" when I first saw it. It tends to meander a lot and if you're looking for action and excitement - forget it. But I stuck with it and after the first couple of episodes I was hooked. I've never seen such brilliantly observed characters on the small screen. They have been superbly created by the writers and brought to startlingly real life by a wonderful cast of actors.
Anyone who thinks this show is boring is really missing the subtlety of it. If you live in working class England, be it Newcastle, Liverpool, London, Manchester or just about any of the big cities, you'll know these people. You may even find elements of yourself or your friends in there. This is real English life; you might not want to believe me but it's true - I've seen it, I've grown up with it.
The closest American TV has come to depicting working class characters in a humorous way is with "Roseanne", "Grace Under Fire" and "Married with Children". While they all have their place in the lexicon of blue collar comedy, none of them could come close to matching "The Royle Family" because the humour is too obvious to be realistic. With this wonderful show you can find yourself laughing at an exchange between the mother and future son-in-law that involves nothing more sophisticated than him telling her what he had for his tea. But it works! It really is funny and if you can't see that then it's a real shame because you're missing out on something very special.
A classic - simple as that.
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