Sunday, September 6, 2009

“Good moaning…”

Yesterday, as I was waiting for some thick-sliced bologna to finish cooking on the stove (hey—every now and then I want a fried bologna sandwich, and this was one of those times) I perused the evening TV listings to see if there was anything worth watching and I noticed that GPTV had made a few changes in their Saturday night Britcom lineup. Nothing radical, you understand—they’re still running Are You Being Served? for the umpteenth time, and they now have a full hour of As Time Goes By—but it was nice to see that they moved Last of the Summer Wine up an hour (it was on at 11:00) and they’ve got Fawlty Towers and Chef! in reruns from 11-12 midnight. (The classic “The Kipper and the Corpse” was the Towers episode last night, but I skipped Chef! because I chose to make some popcorn to accompany the movie I planned to watch—review to follow—and because I thought the sitcom was strongest in its first series and then went downhill after that.)

The big surprise, however, is that GPTV has brought back ‘Allo ‘Allo! to its lineup. I talked about this Britcom about four years ago when I purchased some of the series’ episodes on Region 2 DVD, and despite the fact that it was written by the two gentlemen (Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft) who also labored (or should that be “laboured”?) on Served? for so many years, it’s still one of my favorites. The easiest way to describe the show is that it’s “the bastard son of Hogan’s Heroes and Soap”; it’s a broad farce that stars Gorden Kaye (yes, his name is actually spelled that way—he once blamed it on a “misspelt youth”) as a café owner named Rene who finds himself having to appease both the German army (at this point during the war, the Jerrys are winning) on one hand and curry favor with the French resistance on the other. It’s fast-moving and frequently funny stuff, crammed with the kind of double entendre-laden material that our chums on the other side of the pond do so well.

When I was still living in occupied Morgantown, WV during the 1990s, I remember that West Virginia Public Television was running one of their beg-a-thons and they previewed the ‘Allo ‘Allo! pilot to viewers, promising to add the comedy to their schedule…on the condition that viewers started ponying up the scratch to purchase the rights to run the show. I don’t know if this interesting “television extortion” method was successful, but since no further installments were forthcoming I’m guessing it went over like a fart at a funeral. I have been told (it may have been Linda, she keeps tabs on these things better than I do) that GPTV has run the show before, but it must have been during my Morgantown exile because I’ve honestly never seen it at any other time. I’m just disappointed they couldn’t have scheduled it a little earlier (it runs at 10:30pm); I showed some of the episodes to my mom, who found it hysterical…and 10:30’s a little out of her jurisdiction.


Bill Crider said...

"The jailer's wife brought more hot baloney, eggs n' gravy, by now, I wasn't quite so hard to please."

I don't know why I thought of that, but I did.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

And I'm glad you did!