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Dated and embarrassingly un-funny, especially given the cast
Stephen Fry & Hugh Laurie gave us the flawless characterizations of "Jeeves & Wooster", and the often hilariously clever silliness of "A 'Bit' of Fry and Laurie". Throw in the talented Emma Thompson and Robbie Coltrane, and what could possibly go wrong? Just one thing: the writing.
This is sketch comedy at its absolute worst -- self-indulgent, unfocused, under-developed and instantly dated. "A 'Bit' of Fry & Laurie" (not to mention "Monty Python's Flying Circus") worked because they relied heavily on absurdist humor, apportioned out in very brief sketches. "Alfresco" sketches wander on and on, with no punch line in sight, just one obnoxious character, potty joke and petering-out plot after another, all propped up with a pathetic laugh track.
They savage "new-agers" (ooh!), the class system (how brave!), and those wacky pop musicians (oh, Alfresco -- you shouldn't have!). They wear madcap wigs and wacky make-up! They affect goofy accents! Every aspect of the show is turned up to eleven, without it raising the humor one tick. Honestly -- I really wanted to like this series, but found it impossible.
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