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"Auf Wiedersehen, Pet" Cowboys (1986)

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The Best of the Rest

10/10
Author: nephihaha from Scotland
23 January 2012

I rate this particular episode as being amongst the best of Auf Wiedersehen Pet, and certainly the best of the second series. It's funny, it's engaging and it's good drama.

There's some great ideas in this one. There's country music, and a western style showdown. There's also some great dialogue, such as Barry's pronouncement on Country music - "Not so much Heavy Metal as Thick Grass. I would think prolonged exposure to this would make you grow udders." – or Kenny Ames on his exile in the Costa Del Crime "This is a real prison, this is." Even Neville gets a great comedy line, and he shines in this episode.

Series two had some really laboured (no pun intended) story lines about class conflict and snobbery, but in "Cowboys", we're spared the dreadful upper class stereotypes of "Another Country", and the political points are much better made. Ally perhaps represents the Thatcherism of the time, with his get-rich-quick scheme, which rides roughshod over the pride/self-respect of the lads, and is not ashamed to use force if necessary. Someone rightly describes Ally's proposed old folks' home as a "cardboard death trap". More obviously, "Cowboys" tackles the (now largely complete) Americanisation of England.

The drama works really nicely too. The lads manage to do Dennis a good turn, and stand up for his (and their) rights, and justice is served. It's also one of the few times that the villain Ally Fraser gets to show his true nature.

While series one of AWP was full of good episodes, series two wasn't. I just wish the rest of series two – and indeed series three and four – were this strong. Maybe Harry Blackburn should have been brought back, instead of that "Wyman" character. (Even Trev would have been better)

High Point: The showdown (Barry's contribution cracks me up)

Low Point: The ghost subplot doesn't work very well, particularly when we find out what the cause is.

Look out for: Big Willie Osbourne's number, Kenny and Ally in the jacuzzi, a young Gina McKee.

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