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The Young Ones
July 21, 2007 1:38 AM   Subscribe

The Young Ones [TV-Links. Previously 1, 2] "A mad, helter-skelter, rude, awesomely violent, unpredictable, swaggering, staggering, joyously infantile, exhilarating steamroller of a sitcom, The Young Ones provided the breakthrough for the new generation of aggressive and forthright 'alternative' comedians." (I recommend Summer Holiday and Bambi.) Lots of great and soon-to-be-great guests. Look for Emma Thompson in Bambi as one of "the posh kids."
posted by McLir (87 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite

 
Other posh kids include Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, IIRC.

Also, link titles would be appreciated.
posted by asok at 2:08 AM on July 21, 2007


Awesome post, McLir. Thanks.
posted by koeselitz at 2:25 AM on July 21, 2007


May the seed of your loins be fruitful in the belly of your woman!
posted by goo at 2:38 AM on July 21, 2007


The Young Ones got me my first pair of Docs - after a few months of playing Alexei Sayle and bopping around the house singing "Dr Martens Dr Martens Dr Martens BOOTS!" my mother finally bought me some to shut me up.

Thanks Balowski!
posted by goo at 2:46 AM on July 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


Mr. Carrot... could you ever love a cripple?

No, I don't think so.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:03 AM on July 21, 2007


Ace!

And right, Brendan, where are you? Say something!
ex-flatmate, introduced to MeFi and Young Ones, trying to work out his username - must be here somewhere
posted by imperium at 3:24 AM on July 21, 2007


The Young Ones was the highlight of my week back when it first aired. My kids love it now so it seems to have stood the test of time quite well.

If you've not already seen them you should check out The Comic Strip Presents (Wikipedia link), a series of one off films featuring most of the same cast along with regular appearances from Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Robbie Coltrane and Peter Richardson. Their film 'Five Go Mad in Dorset', a spot on piss-take of Enid Blyton, was one of the first things broadcast on Channel 4 when it launched in the UK.

You can also see Edmondson and Mayall in Bottom (YouTube link), Filthy Rich and Catflap (YouTube link) which are like ultra-violent slapstick. And if you can track it down, Rik Mayall reading 'George's Marvellous Medicine' by Roald Dahl on Jackanory is awesome.
posted by jiroczech at 3:36 AM on July 21, 2007


When this came out in the US I was in high school. It was aired on Sunday nights on MTV. I assiduously taped every episode they aired until I had them all on videotape. It took ages. I lent the tape to a friend, who's sister proceeded to use the tape to record soap operas. I could have killed her!
It was a stupid movie, but Rik Mayall was great in Drop Dead Fred.
posted by conifer at 3:50 AM on July 21, 2007


Oh, and don't forget Rik Mayall as FlashHeart in The Blackadder. Pure genius!
posted by conifer at 3:50 AM on July 21, 2007


When I last watched them I thought they'd suffered the intervening years quite badly actually. At the time (the height of Thatcherite misery) they seemed wildly energetic and fresh, almost revolutionary, but most of the Jarryesque craziness has been absorbed into the mainstream now, and without the impact of that they lost a lot of their energy. I'm interested to see if episodes like "Bambi" will mean anything at all to anyone not from the UK.
posted by silence at 3:56 AM on July 21, 2007


Brings a tear of joy to my eye.
posted by Mojojojo at 3:58 AM on July 21, 2007


it's madness this week.
posted by the cuban at 4:12 AM on July 21, 2007


They were ALL posh kids pretending to be working class and radical. Hated them from the start
posted by A189Nut at 4:17 AM on July 21, 2007


Rik Mayall's best creation (I'd argue) is Alan B'Stard MP, The New Statesman, "a selfish, greedy, dishonest, devious, lecherous, sadistic ultra-right wing Conservative back bencher" in the Thatcher and Major governments.

... Ah, here we are (youtube).
posted by cstross at 4:23 AM on July 21, 2007


No A189Nut, they were actors following a script.
posted by mattoxic at 4:39 AM on July 21, 2007


A189Nut: "They were ALL posh kids pretending to be working class and radical."

Precisely. They an exact reflection of the punkers that way.
posted by koeselitz at 5:15 AM on July 21, 2007


My cutting remarks would have more bite if I'd remember to add the word "were" where it's needed.
posted by koeselitz at 5:16 AM on July 21, 2007


Huh, I just received disc two of the series from Netflix, which includes "Bambi." I too used to schedule my Sunday nights around The Young Ones on MTV (it was paired with Monty Python, If I recall correctly). It's still pretty funny to me, but I'm not sure how well it would hold up for someone who didn't have fond history connected to it.

"Will the snows never cease?"
posted by schoolgirl report at 5:46 AM on July 21, 2007


Ask Alexei Sayle what he thinks of them Mattoxic!

Koeslitz - nice one.
posted by A189Nut at 5:51 AM on July 21, 2007


So...have we got a video?
posted by thanotopsis at 6:02 AM on July 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


YES! WE'VE GOT A VIDEO!
posted by conifer at 6:30 AM on July 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


I AM NOT A VIRGIN!
posted by peewinkle at 6:37 AM on July 21, 2007


That thing Rik Mayall's character did with his r's, pronouncing them sort of like a w mixed with a y -- what's the story on that? Is that a regional thing, or a stereotype of some particular group? Or is that how Rik Mayall really talks?
posted by gubo at 6:41 AM on July 21, 2007


Is that the PEOPLE'S POET??!?
posted by jonson at 6:54 AM on July 21, 2007


OK, A189Nut, next time Alexi is over I'll ask, but I'm sure he will agree with me, they are actors following a script.

You 1/4 right, Rick Mayall's character was a posh kid trying to be working class, Nigel Planner was a tragic hippie, Ade Edmonson was a punk from an underprivileged background, and Christopher Ryan, well... dunno. It was of the times, it was funny.
posted by mattoxic at 7:05 AM on July 21, 2007


We sow the seed...
posted by itsjustanalias at 7:12 AM on July 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


I've nailed my legs to the table.
posted by effwerd at 7:16 AM on July 21, 2007


That thing Rik Mayall's character did with his r's, pronouncing them sort of like a w mixed with a y -- what's the story on that? Is that a regional thing, or a stereotype of some particular group? Or is that how Rik Mayall really talks?

Coincidentally, recently on AskMe. It's one way you know Mayall's character is a posh kid who's slumming.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:17 AM on July 21, 2007


The appearance of The Damned on this show was one of the formative moments of my high school life. I also set aside Sunday nights to make sure I watched The Young Ones. Oh yeah, Motorhead was great also. I guess they had a bunch of cool musical guests.
posted by glycolized at 7:24 AM on July 21, 2007


ftmch!
posted by Dillenger69 at 7:25 AM on July 21, 2007


the p is silent
posted by machaus at 7:38 AM on July 21, 2007


My friend and I discovered The Young Ones just coming out of high school, in our boredom we would watch them over and over.

To this day, I still quote the show regularly.

Shut up Neil, no one is on fire.

posted by quin at 7:52 AM on July 21, 2007


I'm going to write about this to Echo and the Bunnymen!

Dear. Mr. Echo....
posted by everichon at 8:01 AM on July 21, 2007


At my high school prom I won a the soul of a friend. She bet me her soul that Rik says "Dear Mr. Bunnyman" whereas I maintained that it was "Dear Mr. Echo".
I've still got the receipt somewhere...anyone want to buy a soul?
I'm English, but I went to high school in the US. My friends just didn't think the part about Felicity Kendall's knickers was as funny as I did!
posted by conifer at 8:34 AM on July 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm English, but I went to high school in the US. My friends just didn't think the part about Felicity Kendall's knickers was as funny as I did!

We got The Good Life (retitled as Good Neighbors) and Solo over here, but most stations had the sense not to run them when anyone might see them.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:40 AM on July 21, 2007


Neil, your bedroom's on fire!
posted by bayliss at 8:40 AM on July 21, 2007


bored bored bored bored bored BORED.

Vyvyan is married to Jennifer Saunders, and sang on the opening credites of Ab Fab. fun facts!!!
posted by armacy at 8:50 AM on July 21, 2007


"All you get from a public school, right -- one, you get a top job, right, and two, you get an interest in perverse sexual practices. I mean, that's why British management's so inefficient. As soon as they get in the boardroom, they're all shutting each others' dicks in the door! 'Go on, give it another slam, Sir Michael!" BAM! OW OW OW! "Come on, Sir Geoffrey, let's play the Panzer commander and the millkmaid, EW EW EW EW! YOO HOO!' "
posted by ntartifex at 8:58 AM on July 21, 2007


My cutting remarks would have more bite if I'd remember to add the word "were" where it's needed.

Also, if they were funnier. Or had some basis in actual truth.
posted by Tommy Gnosis at 8:59 AM on July 21, 2007


Boom shankar.
posted by everichon at 9:03 AM on July 21, 2007


Does anybody here like The Human League?
posted by TrialByMedia at 9:26 AM on July 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


"I'M VERY SOBER AND VERY, VERY BORED!"
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:42 AM on July 21, 2007


"Harry the Bastard?!?"

You're very frank... and you owe me 500 quid.
posted by porn in the woods at 9:45 AM on July 21, 2007


Neil... are these lentils South African?

I'm not paying good money so I can eat black people - I could become a policeman and do that for free!
posted by porn in the woods at 9:47 AM on July 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Damn it, I was second guessing myself ever since that earlier post, I knew it didn't sound right...

"Shut up Rik, no one's on fire."


And Vyv remains a god to this day:

"I'M BORED, IT DESERVED TO DIE. THIS IS THE END, ARMAGEDDON, NO FUTURE!...[grenade fails to explode]... BASTARD!"

It's amazing, he's one of the few people that speaks in ALL CAPS.
posted by quin at 10:07 AM on July 21, 2007


Oh man. I loved this show in high school. I've never thought about lentils in quite the same way.

But as an American teenager watching these back in the day, I never quite got Mike. What stereotype was he?
posted by Squeak Attack at 10:51 AM on July 21, 2007


VYV'S MUM: [snatches fiver and puts it down her shirt] I'll have
the ring and the watch. [grabs ring and watch. She then takes the
tray to the table]Well, aren't you going to introduce me to your friends?

VYVYAN: Oh, yeah! This is a friend of mine called Mike. This is a
friend of mine called Neil,

NEIL: Hello.

VYVYAN: And that's a complete bastard I know called Rick!

RICK: [laughs] He's only joshing, Mrs. Vyvyan, we're actually
terrific friends!

VYV'S MUM: Ooh-ah! He is a bastard, isn't he?

RICK: Tell me, Mrs. Vyvyan, why did you give him a girl's name?

[Vyvyan shoves Rick out of the chair. Vyv's Mum kicks him as she
walks over to Mike and Neil]

VYV'S MUM: Now, then. Why don't you come over here and tell
me what you've been doing for the last ten years?

VYVYAN: Okay, Mum! [grabs his drink and walks over to his mum.
She stares at him angrily]

VYV'S MUM: Not you, zitface! Him! [grabs Mike]

MIKE: [as Vyv's Mum takes him away]Hey, Vyv! Vyv!

[Vyvyan waves goodbye. Neil manages to open his bag of
crisps. They fly everywhere]

NEIL: I knew I should have stayed at home!
posted by exlotuseater at 11:03 AM on July 21, 2007


I was a huge Young Ones fan a few years ago, back when it was on Comedy Central.

So my band got a chance to open for the Damned a year or two later. (We got to watch them soundcheck. They did Plan 9. I was giddy.)

They got off the stage and Captain Sensible came over to talk to us.(!) I said "So, think you're gonna do Nasty tonight?" and he said something about how the two new members didn't know it (Patricia Morrison on bass and somebody else).

So my drummer says "That must have been quite an experience, The Young Ones, and you guys" and the Captain says "Yeah, it was good. We all went out to a restaurant afterwards because we were supposed to do a big interview with a newspaper reporter, but by the time she got there we'd been kicked out for walking up and down the tables kicking food off"

And then the Captain walked away and my head exploded.

I'm listening to the radio and the song that just came on mentioned Cliff Richard!
posted by Brainy at 11:30 AM on July 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Neil! Neil! How are you keeping that flowerpot on!
posted by Brainy at 11:31 AM on July 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


But as an American teenager watching these back in the day, I never quite got Mike. What stereotype was he?

He was "the cool guy", the capitalist who always had lots of girls. I think that definition of cool exists only in Rik's mind (possibly also in Mike's), though.
posted by goo at 11:32 AM on July 21, 2007


Also, you should definitely check out the Bad News soundtrack. Much better than the video (IMHO) Bad News being the Spinal Tap-esque band that .75 of the Young Ones made. Spider Webb replaced Mike

Their "Introduction to Excalibur" is amazing to anybody that's ever been in a band.
posted by Brainy at 11:35 AM on July 21, 2007


MICK: Oh, yeah! I'm sorry. Look, we've come about the muck.

RICK: Muck?

MICK: Look, you know, manure.

RICK: Yes?

MICK: We've been told to drop a load in your garden.

RICK: Well, listen, absolutely nobody, I don't care who they are, is doing a two-ton pooh outside of my front door.

TESS: Just thought you might need it to cover up that dead hippie you just murdered, that's all.

RICK: Yes! Yes, bury him! Bury him. But it's not a hippie. It's just a garden gnome, that I accidentally cracked.

[A garden gnome is standing aside, watching]

GNOME: What a load of old crap! It's not a gnome! It's a hippie he's just killed. He's just killed a hippie, everybody!!

[Rick kicks it and it shatters]
posted by porn in the woods at 11:47 AM on July 21, 2007


and they preceded Spinal Tap by one year with Bad News
posted by cazoo at 12:11 PM on July 21, 2007


Nigel Planer as "Nicholas Craig" (an imaginary, snooty English theatre actor) is wonderful. Very dry. His "How to be 18th Century" was priceless for its illustrations of absolutely the best ways to play syphilitic fops, but his as part of the recent BBC SF extravaganza he did "How to Be Science Fiction" - hysterical and nailed pretty much all the daft conventions of TV scifi.
posted by meehawl at 12:15 PM on July 21, 2007


I'm amazed that no one has yet posted clips from The Dangerous Brothers, another Rik Mayal and Adrian Edmondson project.


IT'S LIKE DEVIL WOMAN HAD NEVER BEEN WRITTEN!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:17 PM on July 21, 2007


"They were ALL posh kids pretending to be working class and radical. Hated them from the start"

Let Ian McKellen explain it to you.
posted by kolophon at 12:35 PM on July 21, 2007 [4 favorites]


I love that show.
posted by mike3k at 1:12 PM on July 21, 2007


It should also be mentioned that you can get the whole thing on DVD, complete with a bonus disc containing a "Where Are They Now?" documentary.
posted by deusdiabolus at 1:20 PM on July 21, 2007


I never quite got Mike. What stereotype was he?

I though of Mike as the "smooth operator." He was only character nobody hated or injured. Yet he constantly used everyone around him.
posted by McLir at 1:29 PM on July 21, 2007


Oh dear. This calls for a very special blend of psychology... and extreme violence.
posted by quin at 1:32 PM on July 21, 2007


See also the Dangerous Brothers. Proto-young ones with Richard and Adrian Dangerous.
posted by Sparx at 3:22 PM on July 21, 2007


The classic moment is when Viv gets his head knocked off by sticking it out the window of his train car (spitting on people). And then his body staggers off the train, down the tracks, and finds his head laying in the gravel. "What took you so long you stupid bastard!" his head yells. The there is a pause. And his body begins angrily kicking his own head down the tracks.

So infamous is that in my house that that image has become a family metaphor for doing something stupid and then beating your self up over it. We call it "kicking your own head."
posted by tkchrist at 5:52 PM on July 21, 2007


If you've not already seen them you should check out The Comic Strip Presents

My favorite of these is Mr Jolly Lives Next Door, which has Mayall and Edmondson as prototypes of their Bottom characters. The restaurant scene with Nicholas Parsons is one of the funniest things they've ever done.

"Never ever bloody anything ever!"
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:27 PM on July 21, 2007


It should also be mentioned that you can get the whole thing on DVD, complete with a bonus disc containing a "Where Are They Now?" documentary.

Though it's missing this version of Subterranean Homesick Blues by Ken Bishop's Nice Twelve because the rights were too expensive clear. As far as I know that's the only cut. Filthy, Rich and Catflap was apparently hacked to ribbons on DVD for similar reasons.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:31 PM on July 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Then...you get to ask me if I'm a man or a woman!
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 6:55 PM on July 21, 2007


Every time I reach for the lentils in my cupboard, I think "heavy, heavy, heavy". Sometimes I even say it out loud if someone's around.
Whenever we pick up a DVD for the weekend it's "have you got a video?"
When the Mr. puts on his boots, it's "Dr. Martin's, Dr. Martin's, Dr. Martin's boots"
But I haven't seen these episodes since they were on MTV in the eighties (20+ years ago). There must be something wrong with me. Now I must have the whole series so that maybe I can exorcise some of these demons.
posted by vewystwange at 8:09 PM on July 21, 2007


Ah, yes Bambi is the best episode of The Young Ones. Just for the University Challenge bit with Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson, and Ben Elton of 'Footlights College'! And that's the episode with Motorhead.

That's right, Adrian is married to Jennifer Saunders.. and Dawn French is married to Lenny Henry.. I've always wondered if they're all best friends and what their weekend bridge parties are like.
posted by Mael Oui at 8:16 PM on July 21, 2007


I think I'll pop the DVDs in tonight for a marathon session... I also saw the show for the first time in high school in the late 80's / early 90's and my friends and I loved it.

I loved Rik Mayall with my entire heart. Just thinking about his horrible awkwardness makes me laugh to this day.
posted by Julnyes at 8:42 PM on July 21, 2007


Best mefi post in weeks. Thanks!
posted by squidfartz at 10:22 PM on July 21, 2007


My old roommate Todd and I made for quite a good Mike and Vivian team.

hint: I was Mike
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 11:13 PM on July 21, 2007


Revolutionary biscuits of Italy,
Rise up out of your box!
You have nothing to lose but your wafers,
Yum yum yum yum yum!

I used to catch the reruns on MTV while I was waiting for ST:TNG to start. I was still pretty young then, so I never quite got the whole thing. Of course, being the kind of teenager who was way more into ST:TNG than MTV probably didn't help there. Then I rediscovered them in college, and I've always been glad I did.
posted by MrBadExample at 11:43 PM on July 21, 2007


Thank you, great post. Let us hope that out of the carnage that is the Bush years, something as worthy and long-lasting emerges.
posted by vac2003 at 2:22 AM on July 22, 2007


Pollution, all around.
Sometimes up,
Sometimes down.

Pollution, are you coming to my town?

We're on different buses, pollution.
But we're both using

Petrol.



(...the fact that I still have that poem memorised is a testament to the awesomeness of the Young Ones)
posted by pompomtom at 4:13 AM on July 22, 2007


..not counting the fact that I missed a line... but I like my version better.
posted by pompomtom at 4:14 AM on July 22, 2007


Then there was the part of Bambi (I think) where they all come downstairs with their laundry and Rik Mayall is Vyvyan, Christopher Ryan is Neil, Adrian Edmondson is Mike and Nigel Planer is Rick.

/thought Adrian was very cute as Mike
posted by Lucinda at 6:58 AM on July 22, 2007


They were ALL posh kids pretending to be working class and radical. Hated them from the start

Seemed to me they were middle class red-brick uni students (didn't they all meet at Manchester?) pretending to be middle class red-brick uni students.
posted by Summer at 11:30 AM on July 22, 2007


Neil: [on his final exam]

It was terrible. I sat in the big hall and put my packet of polos on the desk, and my spare pencil and my support gonk and my chewing gum and my extra pen, and my extra polos and my lucky gonk, and my pencil sharpener shaped like a cream cracker and three more gonks with a packet of polos in each, and lead for my retractable pencil and my retractable pencil, and my spare lead for my retractable pencil, and chewing gum and pencils and pens and more gonks and the guy said "Stop writing please."!
posted by porn in the woods at 12:41 PM on July 22, 2007


I never quite got Mike. What stereotype was he?

Mike was the spiv. I never liked him as much as any of the others, because he wasn't as well defined, and just not as funny. So it didn't come as much of a surprise when I found out years later that he was supposed to be played by poor old Peter Richardson, who refused to work with Paul Jackson, the producer. As I understand it, he basically said, 'If that's you're attitude, you can make the show without us! Who's with me?' but the others decided they would rather be rich and famous, thank you very much.
posted by Soulfather at 12:50 PM on July 22, 2007


quin, that line has come to define my modus operandi in many situations.

Random middle-aged woman pushing a wheelbarrow with a corpse in it through muddy cemetery in the rain: "Do you dig graves?"
Neil: "Yeah, yeah, they're all right."
Woman: "I think they're wonderful!"
posted by zoinks at 2:15 PM on July 22, 2007


Also, camera sudenly zooms in on a box of matches on a shelf in the room. Matchbox puppet: "Don't look at me - I'm irrelevant!", and the scene continues where it left off.
posted by zoinks at 2:19 PM on July 22, 2007


Haw haw haw, I've got a Porsche!
posted by dr_dank at 3:21 PM on July 22, 2007


MetaFilter: ra ra ra, we’re going to smash the oinks!
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:13 PM on July 22, 2007


And has nobody mentioned A Fistful of Traveller's Cheques yet? (yt)

Features Planer, Edmondson & Mayall, along with French & Saunders, who play the quintessential Aussie backpackers in Europe, Shona & Jackie:

"Ah, is that for the Rome beer festival?"
"Nooo - that's in Munich"
"The Rome beer festival's in Munich?"
"Naaah. Rome's just art & broken statues. If you want beer, you gotta go to Munich"
"Oh, let's go there & meet all those cute German guys with blonde hair & leather pants"
"And Nazi tattoos! Do me a favour, Shona - get politically aware, why dontcha?"
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:31 PM on July 22, 2007


Greatest. Show. Ever.

Just reading this thread made me all giddy.

I can remember staying up superlate to watch it on MTV as a kid, too. Between my parents, my boyfriend and me we've used just about every line in this thread on each other at some point in time. When our kitten (a rescue, bottle-fed for the first month of his life) was still ultra, ultra tiny, I used to call him Special Patrol Group and laugh and laugh and laugh.

Also, my mom's one cockatiel is now named Vyvyan. A surprisingly apt name given his feathery "mohawk."
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:58 PM on July 22, 2007


I wonder how many lentils I've eaten in my life....
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:33 PM on July 22, 2007


Beep beep beep, oh no heavy, the coins keep coming out, beep beep beep, even the telephone hates me, beep beep beep, I wish there were no machines, and everyone led a pastoral existence, trees and flowers don't deliberately cool you out and go beep in your ear.
posted by jockc at 9:50 AM on July 23, 2007




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