Yanks Go Home (1976–1977)

TV Series   |    |  Comedy

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25 March 2014 | prof-pseudo
| Americans Invade Britain
It's WWII. Fearing a German invasion of Britain, an American invasion, the lesser of two evils, is welcomed – briefly. As a result the Lancashire town of Warrington has been overrun by American Airman who are interested in one thing . . . it's just never clear what that is. This could have been a wonderful program and run for several series. There were three fundamental flaws; poor scripts, poor characterization, and poor attention to detail.

Poor scripts: The individual plots lacked any real humor. They lacked the awkward situation seed from which characters can interact with each other (eg Dad's Army – bomb in the vault). It is this interaction that allows the witty lines we enjoy. In YGH the actors all delivered their lines but lacking the awkward situations there could be little humorous interaction. It would also seem that many of the DA plots may have been loosely based on actual events. This just didn't seem to be the case with YGH.

Poor characterization: Nearly all, if not all, of the characters lacked any depth. There were peculiar characters to be sure, but they were flat. The "hillbilly" from Kentucky with the funny accent was flat. His humor rested on his sad attempt at a Kentucky accent. Compare this to Manuel on Fawlty Towers. Manuel's humor was much more than his accent; his facial expressions, his mannerisms, the slapstick with Basil, and the timing of his lines all added to the characterization and fun. And the poor characterization was not limited to only the American characters – certainly the British characters were equally shallow.

Poor attention to detail: There are several errors in detail that by themselves may not have made any difference had everything else been up to par. But they indicated a lack of interest on the part of the crew, writers, and producers. I'm not talking about minor error in details like incorrect service ribbons on their uniforms or the wrong wheels on a jeep, but rather significant errors showing a lack of basic details and that would not have required a great deal of research to correct.

  • The "American Expeditionary Force" was WWI not WWII. And they most likely would have identified themselves not as "US Army" but "(US) Army Air Corp".

  • Sgt. Gus Pulaski should not be wearing an officers cap. A "crush cap" or "fifty mission" cap, as is often seen worn in movies/programs by B17/B24 pilots/officers (think 12 O'Clock High or even Hogan's Heroes). Sgt. Pulaski would have worn the same cap as the other enlisted men in the program.

  • Sgt. Gus Pulaski carries a swagger-stick or short-stick. This has never been part of a uniform in the US Army. That said, there were a few US Army officers who carried a stick during WWII, Gen. George Patton being a notable among them. Generals have a little more latitude than does a sergeant.

  • While Americans cussed (cursed) with the best of them, at that day and age most would not have done so in front of women. They would also have been more polite, using "Yes, sir; No, sir; Yes, ma'am; No, ma'am" when speaking to a woman, an elder, or most civilians for that matter. This is not to imply that all of them were choir boys, far from it.

Side note: I'm often surprised when I hear American characters on British programs use the expression, "god damn". While it is used in the US from time, it is not used nearly as often as is "fuckin'" and I suspect that in the WWII time period neither were used often (especially not with ladies present). On the other hand I have often heard Brits use god damn.

  • In one of the early episodes the General mentions hearing the latest "scuttlebutt". Scuttlebutt is a Navy term and would not yet have permeated civilian life sufficiently to result in an Army general to using it.

  • In YGH there is a class distinction between the American officers and enlisted, at least on the officer's part, that is not typically an American trait. While it does/did exist to some extent it was not as strong as it was portrayed. It would seem to me that the emphasis placed on the distinction is nearer that of a British unit. An American enlisted man would fully understand and agree that an officer out ranks him, but would not agree that that officer is "superior" to him.

  • The two ranking officers (colonel and general) are older and imply a career officer in the "regular Army" verses a "shave tail" or "90 day wonder" (newly created 2nd Lt.) picked up in the draft or hurried enlistment. Thus it is not typical that such officers would have been so lenient when it came to cleanliness, order, obedience, and respect. Such officers would be interested in making promotion and retirement.

So there it is. The program has it's inadequacies but it's worth a look, everyone has their own tastes. While not the funniest sitcom it has interesting moments and isn't completely worthless.

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Release Date:

22 November 1976



Country of Origin


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