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The Young Ones Series 1 Episode 1

The Young Ones was the first non-musical show to be shown on MTV. This was before my family had cable, so I didn't see it then, but I have friends who love it from seeing it at that time. The show is new to me, and while parts of it were funny over all I just don't get all the fuss so far. The first episode introduces us (barely) to four university students living in a house together. Each student is a stereotype with Neil being a hippy, Vivyan being a punk rocker, Rick being kind of a New Wave social justice warrior, (yes I'm aware that phrase wasn't in use then but it's still the best description of him), and Mike the Yuppie. There's really kind of two story threads taking place. In one Neil has decided to kill himself, but he proves to be too inept. In the other they have received a letter stating the city is going to knock down their house. Mike plans to stop them, while Vivyan plans to beat them to the punch by demolishing the house form the inside.

Parts of the show were really funny. The rat puppets were fun. A couple of the jokes were even clever, like the Euripides knock knock joke. There was a strange but entertaining musical interlude where the band Nine Below Zero played a song. A few of the jokes were lame, but that was not as much of a problem as the fact that most of the dialogue was given very fast at the highest volume the actors were able to scream it. Maybe it's because I am finally becoming a grumpy old man, but this made it hard for me to understand what was being said in some spots. None of the characters are very likeable, so if that is off putting for you this may not be your show. The characters were fun enough for it to not bother me, although I will say the rat puppets were the best part of the whole thing for me. I did have to wonder why these four people would choose to live together when they have nothing in common and don't even seem to like each other very much.

There was another weird detour in the show when Dick turned on a tv program that was sort of a parody of a show trying to appeal to young people. The show within the show becomes the show for a few minutes, and this is where most of the lame jokes come into play. There are a couple of spots where the actors can't seem to help themselves from mugging for the camera, as if to say "Wokka wokka, look how zany I am folks!" Over all the episode was okay, but not good enough to earn the show the reverence it has in some circles. This raises my hopes that future episodes get better, but British television has such short runs there's not much time for them to improve in. One of my favorite things is a mystery character who was in one of the shots, who is apparently someone who just pops up in some episodes. Their appearance is never explained or even addressed. I don't know why exactly but I get a kick out of that. I also enjoy the landlord breaking character and the fourth wall in a very Pythonesque monologue to the audience. There is promise here, and I'm hoping the show delivers on it.


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