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It's been some years since I last had the opportunity to watch FT, so my ranking is based on how I remember each episode. If I was to watch them again, the ranking might be different. Gourmet Night and The Germans share the top spot for me, but all the top five are brilliant. The rest are really good too, but are not on the same level, IMO.
1. Gourmet Night / The Germans
2. The Wedding Party
3. The Kipper and the Corpse
4. A Touch of Class
5. Basil the Rat
6. Communication Problems
7. The Hotel Inspectors
8. The Psychiatrist
9. The Builders
10. Waldorf Salad
11. The Anniversary
One of my favourite scenes...
PS @barryt007: Your no. 2 should be "Basil the Rat", not "Brazil the Rat".
My dvd's are boxed up though the show is on Netflix, I watch the odd episode though been some time since I did a full rewatch. It's not fresh enough in my mind to do a ranking
Do you agree with it being the best British Comedy, @barryt007? In terms of consistency it’s probably unmatched, but I’m a huge OFAH fan and I’d put several episodes and specials ahead of FT.
If you enjoy John Cleese, BTW, I thoroughly recommend Clockwise. One of my favourite films, very funny and nowhere near as well-known as it should be (Geoffrey Palmer pops up in it, too):
Anyone who hasn't seen Clockwise, it's coming up on Talking Pictures TV next week
I think for me at least FT will always have the upper hand over OFAH due to it just being 12 episodes of comedy genius, OFAH has some moments of sublime brilliance there is no doubting and maybe if it had bowed out after they became millionaires it's standing with me would be higher.
Love OFAH up to that point but the decision to keep it going dilutes it's ranking for me.
I think Fawlty Towers is yet to be bettered. It's impact on British sitcoms is unsurpassed.
I don't think there is another show that has its success rate, 12 and bow out or just 2 series and while I'm not putting it up in those heights I would say the late great Victoria Wood had the right idea with her one and only venture into sitcoms with Dinnerladies.
I can't think of another show more that as soon as I happen to land on it channel surfing I just can't help but watch wherever it is and I guarantee I'll be doubled up in tears of laughter.
I also caught a few episodes back-to-back on Netflix fairly recently and it's ability to hit the funny bone has not been diluted one bit.
I think @barryt007 ranking is pretty fair, I would have to watch them again in order to determine a proper ranking I think like @Torgeirtrap I'd be inclined to put the Germans joint first with Gourmet Night.
Though, this moment from Communication Problems that shows Cleese on sublime form is got to be one of my favourites.
I asked for a room with a view.
Deaf, mad, and blind.
This is the view as far as I can remember, madam.
Yes, yes, this is it.
When I pay for a view, I expect something more interesting than that.
That is Torquay, madam.
That is not good enough.
Well, may I ask what you were expecting to see out of a Torquay hotel bedroom window? Sydney Opera House, perhaps? The Hanging Gardens of Babylon? Herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically Don't be silly.
I expect to be able to see the sea.
You can see the sea.
It's over there between the land and the sky.
I need a telescope to see that.
Well, may I suggest that you consider moving to a hotel closer to the sea? Or preferably in it? Right.
Now, listen to me.
I'm not satisfied, but I've decided to stay here.
However, I shall expect a reduction.
Why, because Krakatoa's not erupting at the moment?
Speaking as someone with a good amount of knowledge about the man and his work, I don't think Cleese has suddenly turned racist in his old age. There is a difference between national identity and national ethnicity, and Cleese's prior criticisms of the British press and government suggest it's national identity he's disappointed with. That said, he should have made clear in his tweet that he didn't think Englishness meant whiteness. But twitter is the enemy of nuance, and at 79 Cleese is not up for watching his tone.
In today's cancel culture, Cleese probably won't be getting much work in Britain for the next few years, but he's near retirement age and most of his recently-made money has been from live appearances in other countries. We live in hyper-polarized times, and the anger of many Britons probably arises from the assumption that Cleese has joined the likes of Farage and the alt-right. In reality, he has always been a small-c conservative and liberal democrat, but that distinction is likely to be lost. And I don't think Cleese helped matters beforehand by loudly publicizing his leaving England in favor of Nevis. Londoners might be understandably irritated at being criticized by someone living in luxury on a Caribbean island.
I would hope that Cleese's reputation will not be permanently tarnished after this, but I don't think he cares about posterity. In any case, he should probably avoid visiting London anytime soon.
I loved it as a kid and i still love it now.
Brilliantly written and acted and never outstayed it's welcome.
Britain used to produce some great sitcoms. Not so sure about these days...
Why would you feel upset about it? And who's the racist when you have to explain that British does not equal white? That whole notion is racist in the first place. I'm Dutch, but if you want to see true Dutch culture I'd recommend going to Surinam as they seem to have more left of our culture than we do. But the fact that apparently so many Britons lost their sense of reality, stiff upper lip but are crying faul after every fart and making anything they see a racial matter underscores Cleese's point. Beeing so easily insulted makes the Brits almost French!
Immigration is not among the reasons Cleese has given for supporting Brexit and I suppose he's in favor of diversity as long as the parent culture isn't lost along the way, but nevertheless he should have been more careful in expressing himself on twitter. Here is a nuanced article that discusses the issue of Englishness and London.
Nice article indeed, but it's a pity this author also has a tendency to get skin colour into the equation. My wife is from a different country and her cultural difference from mine is far further than my friends' wife who's 25% Curaçao and has a distinct darker colour. It's more about habits, interaction, atmosphere. Amsterdam, I. E. Officially is very diverse yet those groups of people live segregated in their own neighbourhoods. Amsterdam is by now a very un-dutch city. People don't behave like Dutch people do. Den haag (the Hague) is ethnically far more mixed, and at the same time far more Dutch.
Far to hard to rank the episodes, though Communications Problems, The Kipper And The Corpse and Gourmet Night rate very highly. Of the twelve episodes, only The Anniversary is the only weak one. And even then it's better than half the rubbish we get nowadays.
FT along with OFAH and The Office are some of the best of British, the likes of which have huge rewatchability and I never tire of.
Cleese is brilliant at illustrating the idiocy of strong negative emotions. And the sarcasm is in a league of its own as well.
My ranking of the 12 episodes:
1. The Builders - I don't care that it's Cleese's least favorite episode, no other half-hour in TV history has made me laugh so hard.
2. Communication Problems
3. The Psychiatrist
4. Basil The Rat
5. Gourmet Night
6. The Kipper And The Corpse
7. A Touch Of Class
8. The Germans
9. The Hotel Inspectors
10. Waldorf Salad
11. The Wedding Party
12. The Anniversary
So I guess The Germans is my favourite episode. ;P
Don't these people have any concept of satire? It's never what it seems to be, and usually is intended to question or criticize the actions portrayed. Being German, I've never felt offended by "The Germans" since it's obvious the satire applies to the small-mindedness and racism of the characters shown, and not the objects of their rant and prejudice. (Not saying the latter didn't deserve it in any way, just that they're not the intended target here.)