The crazy and sometimes surreal comedic adventures of four very different students in Thatcher's Britain.The crazy and sometimes surreal comedic adventures of four very different students in Thatcher's Britain.The crazy and sometimes surreal comedic adventures of four very different students in Thatcher's Britain.
Four students: a hippy, a punk, a would-be anarchist who secretly loves Cliff Richard, and... Mike, 'the cool person' - who appears to be throughly normal. Except he isn't. In fact, when you really take a close look at him, Mike is actually stranger than all the others put together. Half of his lines make little or no sense. He said something once about a sheepdog, which struck me as one of the strangest lines I've ever heard on television. But anyway, he is still nominally the anchor of normality around which all the madness rotates.
Using Python's rapid-cut technique, and employing a similar lack of concern for continuity, a Young Ones episode is a rollercoaster of surrealism, violence and squalor (the latter two elements taken to even greater extremes by Mayall and Edmonson in 'Bottom'). Episodes are suddenly interrupted by the appearance of Benito Mussolini, singing a song called 'Stupid Noises', or by various other manifestations of Russian landlord Alexai Sayle, who is inclined to go into stand up comedy routines and address the audience, much to the confusion of everyone else on set. Images of garden taps or insects are flashed on screen for a fraction of a second, scenes cartwheel off in all directions: a family of peasants in the adjoining room sit huddled round a lamp, a wardrobe leads into the realms of Narnia, an unexploded atomic bomb lands in the middle of the kitchen, vegetables in the fridge talk to each other, and Motorhead just happen to be in the loungeroom, performing 'Ace of Spades'.
Someobody else said that this series hit Britain like bombshell. It's effect was similar in Australia. It never spawned any imitators - the rest of the 80's seemed to be given over to dreary political satire, but it is undeniably one of the great English sitcoms - even if, now and then, it drags its feet just a little.
Like Fawlty Towers, it ran for only two series, but when they were over, it had breached countless boundaries of bad taste and absurdity, introduced the writing talents of Ben Elton, the careers of Rik Mayall, Alexei Sayle, Nigel Planer, Dawn French and Adrian Edmonson, and made the godawful, bland, mid 80's bearable for a few people like me.
- Jun 3, 2001