Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Time keeps on slippin', slippin' slippin', into the future. Dec 9, 2015

Have you ever seen the British sitcom "Are You Being Served?" ?

Methinks that it if I had to describe it to you I would have to use the words "simple" and "lightweight" and the term "easy humor". Just like a hundred other sitcoms, "AYBS?" is populated by characters designed to clash; they annoy and befuddle each other, they bicker and trade insults, and each week they go through their assigned paces and troop through a silly little 30 minute story full of all the ingredients like misunderstandings and confusion and foolish concerns and schemes that you'd expect to find in any sitcom from "I Love Lucy" to "Saved By the Bell".

I'm not going to try to convince you that there's anything extraordinary about the show, but I have for many years had the feeling that you couldn't find a better show if you were looking for one to hold up as the most perfect example, the most quintessential, the archetype perhaps, of the genre of the television situation comedy. Of course I can fully understand how some people may feel that every episode just repeats the same tired jokes and that watching a show like AYBS? is a complete waste of precious time, but to me it's more like watching the clouds drift by, or the waves rolling in and out at the seaside. It is a thing of great beauty in its pure, innocent, mentally unchallenging simplicity. It is the easiest type of television to watch, you know what I mean? Just shift your brain into neutral and relax, you know?

The show was a big hit in Britain in the '70's & early '80's, and then I used to watch it on PBS in the '80's, and now, over the past decade, the old cast has been dying off at a right steady clip. Mr. Humphries in 2007. Mrs. Slocombe and Miss Brahms both in '09. Mr. Lucas in '11. Captain Peacock in '13. And now I see that over the past weekend we lost Mr. Rumbold.

Mr. Rumbold, in case you've forgotten, was Captain Peacock's boss. He had the big jug handle ears. The actor who played him, Nicholas Smith, was 81 and he was the last member of the original cast as well as the last actor who stayed on the show for all 10 seasons. 

So anyway, as always, time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin', into the fuuuuuturrrre.