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It would be fair to say that most people have watched or heard of the BBC comedy ‘Men Behaving Badly’. Staring Neil Morrissey and Martin Clunes, they combined their talents to bring us a much loved comedy series that perhaps defined the ‘new-lad’ generation that sprung up during the height of the shows popularity during the 1990’s. I’ve watched the show myself quite regularly; I even remember when it first started life on ITV with Harry Enfield appearing as a character called ‘Dermot’. The show certainly had potential but just didn’t seem to fit together – later the BBC bought the show and replaced Harry Enfield’s Dermot with Neil Morrissey’s character of Tony – the rest of course we all know. A further five series and numerous Christmas specials followed from those early days and in this review I’ll be taking a look at the Series six DVD. I had this DVD bought for me as a birthday present, retailing at around £20, it may sound a little steep – what do you get for your money? Well, basically the entire sixth series of the show. It consists of six episodes, of which I’ll go into a little more detail later. The video transfer takes the form of a full frame 4:3 print, which is identical to the original broadcast material, the sound too retains a DD 2.0 stereo track. Most comedy shows tend to keep the sound central to the on-screen characters with the left and right channels used for the occasional spot effects. Nothing spectacular, the dialogue comes across just as cleanly and crisply as the picture – so it certainly does everything you would expect it too – full marks for that then! Each episode can be accessed via an animated on-screen menu that features the theme tune to the show playing with various sound clips coming over from Gary and Tony, a nice menu, it’s easy to navigate and does it’s task well. Th
e episodes themselves are also broken down into different chapters. They average around four to five chapters per episode making it easy to hop straight to a favourite scene or pick up an episode where you left off. We also get one extra in the form of a quiz. The viewer is given a series of multi-choice questions based on the episodes contained on the disc. If you get them all correct then you’re rewarded with a series of out-takes from the show. Quite funny to watch at first, they’re basically the actors fluffing their lines or the sets falling to bits. Worth a watch probably just the once though. Onto the actual episodes then; there are six to choose from, these are: Episode One - Stag Night Episode Two - Wedding Episode Three - Jealousy Episode Four - Watching TV Episode Five - Ten Episode Six – Sofa Stag Night ------------ Tony is in charge of organising Gary’s stag night, obviously they don’t want anything too distasteful – but then again Tony IS organising this, so it’s no surprise that Gary wakes up in bed with a complete stranger! In an ever-desperate attempt to impress the upstairs neighbour Debra, Tony gets a job selling birthing pools too. A decent enough opening episode and up to the usual standard we’ve come t expect from the writers. Wedding ---------- The day finally dawns for Gary and Dorothy – but will they end up getting married? This episode is slightly different in that it takes its perspective from a video that is being made of the big day. Finally it seems that all of Tony’s persistence in chasing Debra could finally pay off too! Jealousy --------- In a break from the usual sets we see in the show, the gang decide to go into the countryside for a weekend break. Sadly though Gary is having trouble in trying to give up smoking and Tony’s
insane jealousy of Debra making friends with some fellow campers ensure that the holiday doesn’t run smoothly at all. Watching TV --------------- A bit like my average night of late, everyone finds themselves sat in front of the TV thinking of ways to wind up Tony. Perhaps the weakest episode of the six in my opinion, it just never seems to go anywhere! Ten ---- In an attempt to prove just how responsible he can be, Gary ends up looking after Dorothy’s ten-year-old nephew. To begin with things are a little strained between the two, but once Gary teaches him how to tidy things up around the place, they get on great! Not the greatest episode, but not the worst either. Sofa ------ After nearly 15 years of ownership, it’s finally time for Gary to get rid of his beloved sofa. In this episode we see Gary reminiscing about all the girls he’s brought back to his flat over the years and the dismal failures he’s had with them all too! Probably my favourite episode out of the six – Gary just looks weird when he becomes all ‘80’s’) So there you have it, six episodes, some hit and some miss but all worth watching. If you love the series then these are well worth adding to your DVD collection. At £20 it may seem a little steep but these sorts of discs can be watched over and over again so I think they still represent pretty good value for money all in all.
The ultimate small-screen representation of Loaded-era lad culture--albeit a culture constantly being undermined by its usually sharper female counterpart--there seems little argument that Men Behaving Badly was one of 1990s' definitive sitcoms. Certainly the booze-oriented, birds-obsessed antics of Martin Clunes' Gary and Neil Morrissey's Tony have become every bit as connected to Britain's collective funny bone as Basil Fawlty's inept hostelry or Ernie Wise's short, hairy legs. Yet, the series could easily have been cancelled when ITV viewers failed to respond to the original version, which featured Clunes sharing his flat with someone named Dermot, played by Harry Enfield. Indeed, it was only when the third series moved to the BBC and was then broadcast in a post-watershed slot--allowing writer Simon Nye greater freedom to explore his characters' saucier ruminations--that the show began to gain a significant audience. By then, of course, Morrissey had become firmly ensconced on the collective pizza-stained sofa, while more screen time was allocated to the boys' respective foils, Caroline Quentin and Leslie Ash. Often glibly dismissed as a lame-brained succession of gags about sex and flatulence, the later series not only featured great performances and sharp-as-nails writing but also sported a contemporary attitude that dared to go where angels, and certainly most other sitcoms, feared to tread. Or, as Gary was once moved to comment about soft-porn lesbian epic Love in a Women's Prison: "It's a serious study of repressed sexuality in a pressure-cooker environment." Series 6 includes: "Stag Night" in which Gary agrees with Dorothy's suggestion they get married ("We've tried everything else.") provoking potentially disastrous stag-night shenanigans; "Wedding" in which Gary and Dorothy's wedding day fails to run smoothly. ("I don't want to get married--I haven't slept with enough women," he complains. "Do you want to squeeze one in?"); "Jealousy" in which the quartet make the grave error of going away for a weekend in the country; "Watching TV" concerns a quiet night in with Captain Kirk & Co ("On the Starship Enterprise, when no one's looking, do you think they all swivel round in their chairs really fast?"); "Ten" in which the communal boat is rocked by the simultaneous arrival of Dorothy's nephew and Deborah's mother; and "Sofa" in which Tony buys a snake. --Clark Collis The DVD version also features a quiz.