Television sitcom about a recovering alcoholic who becomes the manager of a big city bus station. The tragicomic theme of the show is perhaps summed up best by an old carnival sign that now... See full summary »
Fawlty Towers @ 30 is a series of short programmes designed to support the 30th anniversary of Fawlty Towers as a celebration weekend on UKTV Gold. The 'shorts' consist of specially-filmed ... See full summary »
John Howard Davies
Copywriter Conrad Bloom is a "nice guy" in New York City whose life is filled with interesting women: His mother, his sister, an ex-girlfriend, his lady boss and a female co-worker. This ... See full summary »
John Cleese was asked to play a role in the second series as the manager of a rival hotel called the Sand Dune. Larroquette wanted "John Cleese to be the owner and be the nicest man in the world." Due to the lack of success of "Payne", it never happened. See more »
The US has a history of lifting successful comedy formats from the UK, some of which have proved as successful - and occasional more so - than the original templates. Steptoe and Son became Sanford and Son, Till Death Us Do Part begat All in the Family, Man About the House mutated into Three's Company. Payne is not one of those shows.
Much as the US version of Coupling appears to have surgically sliced out the sex and sarcasm which made the original so funny, the team behind Payne seems unable to grasp that none of the characters in Fawlty Towers are meant to be likable, with the possible exception of Polly. Basil acts superior but has deep insecurities, Sybil is a self- centred bitch, Manuel is an idiot, even the guests are barely coherent.
But that's what makes them human. And funny. And whilst we bemoan the fact that Cleese & Booth produced only a dozen episodes of Fawlty Towers, we can sit agog that Payne made it as far as nine.
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