Fawlty Towers is a popular BBC television comedy series that first aired in 1975 starring John Cleese, which proves first and foremost that Cleese has always looked old. Although there were only twelve episodes split into two seasons, the show has remained a favorite on the BBC rotation and if you follow BBC, you most likely have caught an episode or two yourself.
John Cleese plays Basil Fawlty, a short-fused hotelier with his overbearing wife, Sybil who is always reminding him of tasks and the maid Polly and waiter from Barcelona, Manuel and in the second series, Chef Terry all adding to the humor. The episodes are usually about Basil trying to ‘raise the tone’ of his hotel and trying to attract a better standard of people and talking down to others.
This is a remastered collection on a three dvd set with commentary on every episode from John Cleese, John Howard Davies and Bob Spiers. The commentary from John Cleese is somewhat informing, but not so entertaining as the show itself. He goes into how he developed the jokes and how some didn’t work. He also talks about the difference in comedy from then and now and how things are allowed in comedy and then a few years later, it’s not. He also takes no shame in laughing at his own jokes, but claims that he didn’t write them. Connie Booth co-wrote the show with him and stars as Polly the maid. Besides the commentary on the three DVD set, there is also interviews with the cast from 2009, interviews with John Cleese, Prunella Scales and Andrew Sachs. There are some outtakes from the show and a Torquay Tourist Office documentary film.
Even though there are only twelve episodes, the second season is much funnier than the first. Some of my favorite episodes are “The Germans” from Season one and “The psychiatrist” from Season two. There were several laugh out loud moments that still feel relevant today. I never really knew about this show before this DVD review. I had come across an episode or two on BBC before and have always been a John Cleese fan. If you are a big Cleese fan and/or a fan of this show, you should pick up this remastered collection of Fawlty Towers. If you are not yet a fan, I would recommend renting it to educate yourself.
Out of a “Buy It,” “Rent It,” or “Burn It,” I give it a:
by Angela Davis