Couple #12 – Steve and Susan, Coupling
How can Steve Taylor and Susan Walker not be considered for all-time favorite couple when you think of what they endured to get together and then the ultimate sacrifices they were willing to make to remain a couple.
So what if Steve wanted to date Susan while he was dating Jane. Susan, after all, was dating Patrick, a Tory, who ends up with Sally even though she’s a Labour supporter. Patrick and Steve are best friends. Sally and Susan are best friends. Jeff and, somewhat insane, Jane just float through life both thinking about Mariella Frostrup. In spite all of this, they got together, got engaged, split up, got back together and, ultimately, had a child. That’s enough for consideration right there.
What I always thought was genius in Coupling, were the unconventional techniques and elements used within the scripts such as seeing the same scene from several different perspectives, doing a complete show, half in Hebrew and half in English, an entire episode shot in simultaneous split screen looking at the same situation, etc.
The unfortunate part of the series was how much it suffered when Richard Coyle (Jeff) did not return for the fourth season. It continues to amaze me how such a great British comedy series can fail miserably as an American re-make. In the case of Coupling, they actually used the scripts from the British series. Failure is such a strong word, though. It did last four episodes.
Don’t forget, polls open first thing Saturday morning, Feb 13 through mid-afternoon Sunday, Feb 14 so vote early and often for your favorite all-time British comedy couple. Winner announced Sunday evening, Feb 14.
Couple #11 – Daisy and Onslow
He’s “bone-idle”, reads the Financial Times, and is a regular viewer of Open University. She’s responsible for Daddy and keeping tabs on the daily escapades of her sister, Rose. Forced to lose herself in romantic novels while Onslow drinks beer and watches racing on “the telly”, Daisy almost lost Onslow on her wedding day after revealing she was a Liverpool F.C. supporter.
Even though both endlessly crush Hyacinth’s hopes of creating the perfect impression by turning up in their broken-down, backfiring Ford automobile, Onslow and Daisy seem very close and made for each other. Most of their conflicts stem from ‘Dais’ being quite the romantic and Onlsow ‘having a headache’. Through it all, Onslow hangs with Daisy through each of Daddy’s engagements and Rose’s romantic encounters, and Daisy is always there for Onslow and even, sometimes, seems to enjoy how much he gets to Hyacinth.
We’re not talking 432 years together like Blackadder and Baldrick, but we are talking about two people that were a couple, lost touch for 38 years, became a couple again and then, ultimately, married.
Couple #10 – Lionel Hardcastle and Jean Pargetter
As Time Goes By, starring the incredible talents of Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer, showcase a couple that met in ’50′s, lost track of each other when Lionel was sent to Korea and wrongfully assumed they had lost interest in each other. When Lionel returns to London to write his memoirs of life in the Army and as a coffee-planter in Kenya, their paths cross again.
Three great scenes stand out over the years for me. One, when Jean hires a temporary secretary for Lionel and she isn’t what she expected. Two, when a gentleman comes to the door and announces that he has finally found his father in Lionel and, three, the best one-liner of all, when Lionel and Jean are in the kitchen arguing, Jean pours tea on the table, then throws a piece of toast at Lionel and finally, when Lionel comments, Jean says to “wait for dinner, she’s making a casserole”. Classic writing from Bob Larbey. Also love the marriage proposal with Lionel not being able to get up from one knee. Anyone else with a favorite scene?
Couple #9 – Favorite all-time British comedy couple or, Hall of Fame worthy?
Richard has had to change the pronunciation of his last name, then, wear a tie to “deadhead the roses” in the garden for fear the neighbors might comment, then, his son Sheridan decides to rebuild Romania with Tarquin and, now, he’s facing retirement and a 24/7 full-time job with Hyacinth. That alone should either get you on the ballot for favorite all-time British comedy couple.
On the other hand, Hyacinth does have the all-time record on the block for number of Christmas cards at 112, has a sister, Violet, with a Mercedes, sauna and room for a pony AND has a pearl-white, slim-line, push-button telephone with automatic last-number redial. And, she suffers nightly having a phone number only one digit removed from the Chinese take-away, The Green Lotus.
Even though Richard did once favorably compare his marriage to Hyacinth to his time in the Army in that he “never had to make a single decision and all meals were prepared for him”, how can one argue against their inclusion on the ballot?
Just when you think Richard is hen-pecked, he stands up to Hyacinth. I think he even surprised himself. Couple #9 – Richard and Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced, Bouquet) from Keeping Up Appearances.
From her first day in Dibley, Geraldine was almost rejected by the Parish Council, rejected Owen (thankfully) and David Horton (ultimately), been dumped by David’s brother Simon, linked with Rachel Hunter, always consulted, simultaneously, her pictures of Jesus and Mel Gibson in troubled times and had an affair with a chocolate fountain.
Self-described as a “babe with a bobcut and a magnificent bosom” and after years of marrying others, it’s the Vicar’s turn. Who’s the lucky guy? It’s Sir Guy of Gisborne in The Adventures of Robin Hood, Lucas North in MI5 and now, Harry Jasper Kennedy in Vicar of Dibley.
In a wedding that was themed around her favorite movie, Saving Private Ryan, with touches of Doctor Who, who can dispute Geraldine and Harry as being a legitimate contender on the list of all-time favorite British comedy couple.
Couple #8 – Vicar of Dibley, Geraldine and Harry
The proposal had to be one of the greatest laugh out loud moment in the series….and there were plenty to choose from.
One can only imagine that this was Geraldine’s dream the night before the wedding. Second greatest laugh out loud moment…brilliant scripted by Richard Curtis.
Don’t forget, voting begins Saturday, February 13. Polls close mid-day Sunday, February 14 and then the Valentine’s Day announcement of your favorite British comedy couple of all time.
We mark the end of our first week of British comedy couple profiles with a somewhat ‘unconventional’ couple. With Hugo and Alice, you had two people that didn’t even know they were a couple. With Edmund Blackadder and Baldrick, you have two people that have been together for 432 years from the British monarchy to World War I. How can you not be considered in the running for favorite British comedy couple of all-time with that longevity?
Couple #7 – A cunning plan
Without question, one of the funniest lines in the history of British comedy as written by Richard Curtis….funniest to me, anyway.
Unfortunately, the long-time rumors of a fifth season of Blackadder after all these years are just that, rumors. The best one I think I ever heard was that it would be set in 1960′s London with Blackadder in a Dave Clark 5-type rock and roll band with a drummer called, Bald Rick. I’m ready to buy it if it’s ever made.
Re-cap of the first week….before voting on Saturday, Feb 13
Couple #1 – Audrey fforbes-Hamilton and Richard DeVere
Couple #2 – Tom and Barbara Good
Couple #3 – Jerry and Margo Ledbetter
Couple #4 – Basil and Sybil Fawlty
Couple #5 – Tom Ballard and Diana Trent
Couple #6 – Hugo Horton and Alice Tinker
Created by Richard Curtis, the Vicar of Dibley has probably the best collection of an ensemble cast as there ever was in a British comedy. Starting with Geraldine and David Horton, right down the Parish Council with Owen, Jim, Frank and Letitia, the series is genius. Up next in our quest for favorite British comedy couple of all-time….
Couple #6 – A verger and a dim-witted son
Sometimes, couples come from the shadows of a series. Sometimes, they don’t even realize they are couples. In the case of Hugo Horton (James Fleet) and Alice Tinker Horton (Emma Chambers), it took a vicar to get them together. It’s not like the Vicar hasn’t upset Hugo’s father, David, enough just by being the new vicar, now she makes it her “calling” to get Hugo and Alice together which culminates into a wedding not to be missed. How many weddings can say they had Daleks and Teletubbies in attendance?
Obviously, Geraldine played Cupid quite well as they went on to have 10 children, the eldest, Geraldine, infamously born on Christmas Eve. How could this not work? Alice believes in the Easter Bunny, Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy. And, after reading The Da Vinci Code, Alice believes she is a direct descendant of Jesus. She thought Black Sabbath was a gospel singing group. Hugo, as his father’s campaign manager, ends up campaigning door to door for his opponent and calls Geraldine, Mrs. God.
Hey, I can’t make this stuff up.
By no means am I trying to influence the voting for favorite all-time British comedy couple, he says, but I happen to think this couple from a very, very underrated series deserves a shot. From a series standpoint, Waiting for God had a relatively long run on BBC One for five seasons.
The series dealt with numerous subjects, including alcoholism and adultery, that weren’t dealt with freely on television starting off with the continuous theme running throughout of two people thrown together by families that had no time or interest in them anymore. In addition, it was a comedy that empowered a lot of television viewers in the early ’90′s by showing an older age demographic as being funny, headstrong and clever as opposed to being nothing more than the butt of “age jokes”.
Couple #5 – Waiting for God
Bayview Retirement Home was never the same once Diana Trent (a retired photojournalist) and Tom Ballard (life-long accountant) moved in. Making life difficult for Harvey, the manager of Bayview, may have been their daily task, but it’s each others company that kept them on top of their game. They definitely were not ‘Waiting for God’.
She’s cynical and acerbic, he lives in a fantasy world much of the time. Their goal? To wreak as much havoc as possible on the younger staff to make like worth living at Bayview.
With that said, couple #5 – Tom Ballard (Graham Crowden) and Diana Trent (Stephanie Cole)
Bungee Jump anyone?
We continue our search for everyone’s favorite British comedy couple of all-time. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions, including the ones that push the boundaries of “comedy”. We’ll definitely find a way to get them all on the ballot for voting on February 13. Up next…
Couple #4 – Fawlty Towers
In my book, favorite couples can also send you screaming from the room. How can you not include the likes of Basil and Sybil Fawlty on the potential most favorite British comedy couple of all-time list. Inexplicable as they may be together, they probably couldn’t last a day without each other.
When one thinks about Basil and Sybil Fawlty, who on Earth do you feel more sorry for? Sybil, who is so affectionately referred to as that golfing puff adder, my little piranha fish, and my little nest of vipers by Basil? Maybe it’s Basil who, according to Sybil, is an aging, brilliantined stick insect that you empathize with. She’s verbally abusive. He’s snobbish and rude and has an outward distaste for “riff-raff”. Whomever it is, they’ve been together for 15 years when the series began. Had they remained together, which I suspect they would have, they would be celebrating their 52nd anniversary this year!
Anyone detect the smell of burning martyr?
In the episode titled “The Anniversary“, Cleese claimed that it deliberately took a slightly different tone from the others, focusing on fleshing out their otherwise inexplicable status as a couple.
Couple #3 – Jerry & Margo Ledbetter
One immediately thinks of Tom and Barbara when remembering The Good Neighbors (The Good Life in the UK). However, the most underrated couple in British comedy series, Jerry and Margo Ledbetter, took on a much greater role after the first episode. If you think back to that first episode, Margo (played superbly by Penelope Keith) was only voiceover. Immediately recognizing what they had in both Penelope and Paul Eddington (Jerry), the roles increased and Penelope Keith ultimately won a BAFTA award for the character of Margo Ledbetter in 1977. The clash between Tom & Barbara and the snobbish Margo made for great television that even had one episode taped with The Queen in the live studio audience.
Daily Mirror vs The Telegraph – no comparison in Margo’s eyes
If you’re playing along at home getting ready to vote on Feb 13, so far, we have Audrey & Richard (couple #1), Tom & Barbara Good (couple #2) and now, Jerry & Margo (couple #3). See you tomorrow for what may be a surprise “couple” to some.