Creator: John Cleese, Connie Booth
Years: 1975, 1979
I’ve always loved Cleese, so I figured why not give his show a chance, especially since it’s just 12 episodes and much of the internet hails it as one of the best shows ever. Well, that’s selling it a bit high, but hey, it’s pretty funny.
Cleese plays the owner of Fawlty Towers, Basil Fawlty, a hotel advertised towards the upper class. The hotel fails miserably as Basil himself fails miserably at being higher class. He also fails at hiring competent staff. Each episode more or less focuses on a guest who is expecting high class service and doesn’t get it and all the slapstick ways things can go wrong.
I would say about half of the episodes provided the wife and I with uproarious laughter, and about half didn’t do much at all. Part of the show’s problem is that two of the primary characters play the imbecile. There’s the Spanish waiter who barely speaks a lick of English and is a bumbling idiot, and the Major, a permanent guest who is going senile. While both characters have their highlights, things get redundant. And, to be honest, Manuel’s character was a tiny bit racist.
Connie Booth, Cleese’s wife, played the head waitress, and she’s dynamite in that role. She and Cleese had strong chemistry.
See that sign up there in the title card? That was how the sign looked for the first episode. They changed it for every show. The other 11 are below.
- Episode 2: “Fawlty Tower” (the letter “L” is askew)
- Episode 3: “Fawty Tower” (the second letter “W” is askew)
- Episode 4: “Fawty Toer”
- Episode 5: “Warty Towels”
- Episode 7: “Fawlty Tower” (the letter “L” is askew)
- Episode 8: “Watery Fowls”
- Episode 9: “Flay Otters”
- Episode 10: “Fatty Owls”
- Episode 11: “Flowery Twats”
- Episode 12: “Farty Towels”
Oh, Cleese. You make fart jokes funny.