Sitcom Weekend Spoofs (Channel 4, 1997)
In May 1997, Channel 4 had a special weekend devoted to sitcoms over three days (it was a Bank Holiday) that featured episodes of British and American sitcoms, along with film versions of sitcoms and some documentaries. Also featuring throughout the weekend were four five-minute long spoofs of various styles of sitcoms. These were notable as they featured some early TV appearances from soon to be big names who went on to various successful comedy shows including Little Britain and The League Of Gentlemen, along with a few others including Rebecca Front, Bob Mortimer and Paul Putner.
All of these spoofs were written by and featured Matt Lucas and David Walliams, and they were also repeated on the Paramount Comedy Channel. I don’t remember watching them first time round, but I have wanted to see them, and the good news is that all four of the spoofs are on YouTube, so let’s take a look at what happened in all of them one by one.
I’m Bland… Yet All My Friends Are Krazy! A spoof of the American sitcom Seinfeld, which featured an ordinary man and stand-up comedian called Jerry who tries to get through life but is surrounded by wacky comic characters and too much canned laughter. That seemed to be the idea anyway, but some critics felt that there wasn’t much point in trying to spoof one of the greatest sitcoms of its era, and it soon went off in an entirely different and rather bizarre direction.
My Gay Dads. A spoof of the rather cliched and saccharine American sitcoms about family life that were around at the time, featuring too much moralising and hugging, such as the rotten My Two Dads. Kimberley invites her boyfriend round her house, but her gay dads are planning something, which mostly involves playing “In The Navy” by Village People rather loudly.
A Puppet Lives In My House. A spoof of the rather odd and far-fetched sitcoms where one of the main characters is a non-human, such as ALF. Holden and Laverne are expecting their boss to come round for dinner. They very much hope that the wisecracking sock-puppet that lives with them won’t cause chaos. What could possibly go wrong?
Only Jerks And Horses. A spoof of Only Fools And Horses being re-imagined for an American audience. Del Boy is now a stock market trader, and Roderney (who has been imported from the British version) isn’t sure about his new money making scheme, but he is soon written out as he is unpopular with the viewers, and Uncle Albert has been replaced by a robot. This was considered to be the best of the spoofs, indeed you could say that it was “nice jubbly!”.