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Saturday, April 11, 2015

'Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em!' DVD: Michael Crawford Before He Was Broadway Star Britcom

Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em! Collection Set DVD

The BFS Entertainment 11-episode 3-disc DVD release of the mid '70s BBC sitcom "Some Mothers Do' Ave 'Em" illustrates the range of brilliant British fare that BFS sells in North America. These releases further support the theory of Unreal TV that British shows kick the arse of American fare.

These 11 episodes are a "best of" collection culled from the three series (my people call them seasons) of "Mothers."

As an aside, the recent emphasis on nostalgia associated with the averted imminent demise of Unreal TV evokes thoughts of the first review of a  BFS title on this site. A love for the British scifi series "Crime Traveller" led to finding (and reviewing) the BFS release of that show in July 2013; that in turned led to a beautiful business friendship.

The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of a scene with guest-star Richard Wilson of the classic Britcom "One Foot in the Grave." in the "Mothers" episode titled "Wendy House" offers a look at the good physical comedy and other humor in the series. (The BFS set does not include this episode.)

The nature of "Mothers" further fuels this nostalgia vibe. Future Broadway star Michael Crawford stars as the relatively newly married Frank Spencer. Much of the humor relates to this quirky bloke creating chaos that causes extensive damage and that also hinders his efforts to obtain and maintain full employment.

BFS aptly describes this endearing character as "well-meaning but incompetent, inept, infuriating and injury prone." This introduction to that character equally appropriately compares him to Mr. Bean and Basil Fawlty.

The extended and amazing acrobatic physical humor additionally will bring the late and great John Ritter's Jack Tripper of the fellow '70s sitcom to mind. Having Frank needing to work as a waiter at Jack's Bistro while on holiday in the U.S. would have made for the best-ever "Company" or "Three's A Crowd") episode.

BFS displays great instincts in starting the set with the mid-S1 episode "Have A Break." The opening scene has Frank grabbing onto a moving train as the initial stage of a second honeymoon with wife Betty. Needless to say more hilarity ensues as the efforts of Frank to remedy minor damage to the hotel room where he and Betty are staying only worsens the condition of the room and the mental states of the hotel manager and a fellow guest. In this respect. "Mothers" throws a hint of the Tim Allen sitcom "Home Improvement" into the mix.

The arguably funniest episode in the set is also from S1. The titular "George's House" is a largely automated abode that, although being foolproof, is not Frank-proof. A scene in which a bathroom door with a motion sensor opens each time that Framk tries to use the room for its intended purpose is fall on the floor funny.

A slightly darker S1 episode titled "The Psychiatrist" has Frank seeking the titular therapist. This one is largely notable for including flashbacks that show how Frank met Betty and how a later first meeting with Betty's mother establishes a relationship with her that parallels the in-law relationship in the hilarious Britcom "The Worst Week of My Life."

The combination of Crawford's talent for physical comedy, co-star Michele Dotrice doing a good job as a very loving and tolerant wife, the comic chops of the foil of the week, and the ability of the writers to take everyday occurrences to comically absurd extremes combines to produce a show that represents the best of classic sitcoms on both sides of the pond.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Mothers" is welcome to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.