Monday, June 1, 2015
'Dad' S2: Six Episodes (and Christmas Special) of Classic BBC Britcom
[Editor's Note: This Australian-produced DVD set is coded for Region 4; playing it in the U.S. requires a region-free DVD player.]
This review of the Australia-based Madman Entertainment DVD set of the 1999 second series (my people call them series) of the BBC Britcom "Dad" (as well as the recent review of S1 of the program) is timed to allow ample notice should you chose to get one or both releases for your male parental figure for his upcoming special day.
The well-executed simple premise of "Dad" is that everybloke Alan Hook is caught in the middle between his well-meaning but disaster-prone senior citizen father Brian and charmingly snarky late teens son Vincent. The twin goals of our hero are to be a good son while being a better father than his perceived version of Brian. Meanwhile, Alan's wife Beryl is a seemingly perfect spouse and mother.
S2 starts strongly with an episode that finds the planned move of the family of Alan hilariously expedited; putting micro-manager Brian in charge of the project only adds to the humor. The overall "com" regarding this "sit" relates to the intense impact of every element of the move (and life in general) on an already stress-prone Alan.
This episode is equally notable for including arguably the best scene in the entire run of "Dad." An individual who finds himself the object of wrath by Alan achieves wonderful poetic justice by hilariously placing the latter on the wrong end of the stick in a manner that results in Alan once again mortifying Vincent. Much of this relates to Alan being the butt of the joke even more than usual.
An episode in which all three Hook men spend several mind numbing boring hours in a polling place tinkers with the formula of Brian humiliating and/or physically injuring Alan in the course of a project by bringing Vincent into the mix. The "com" this time largely relates to Brian insisting on adhering to bureaucratic nonsense causing Alan great distress. Further, one guest star coming out of his shell has strong consequences.
The arguably overall funniest episode of the entire run of "Dad" pits Alan and Brian against both a small furry nemesis and vandals with an awesome sense of humor.
The official series finale relates to the overall theme of the deteriorating health of Brian being a primary impetus for current close relationship with Alan. This one had Brian being scheduled for bypass surgery.
"Dad" later wraps up its run and the DVD with a 1999 Christmas special in which a childhood classmate, played by veteran British television actor Stephen Tompkinson, who bested Alan at every turn in their youth, comes home for the holidays. Indications that the current life of the former golden boy is worse than that of Alan prompts a not very charitable invitation to spend Christmas with the Hook clan. Of course, things go horribly awry.
Nice aspects of "Dad" are that the characters and their portrayors are appealing and that even the predictable humor is minimally amusing and sometimes hilarious. Further, it is funny because it largely is true.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Dad" is encouraged to email me. You can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.