What’s On TV – The Young Ones

List Item:  Watch half of the 1001 TV Series You Must Watch Before You Die
Progress: 242/501
Title: The Young Ones
Episodes Aired: 12
Year(s): 1982-1984
Country: UK

So I am still ridiculously ahead when it comes to the proportion of comedies on the 1001 list, but since my husband has been really wanting to share this with me for over decade, I couldn’t exactly refuse him. Going into this I knew bits and pieces about The Young Ones because of how big an impact is had on the UK comedy scene. Sections like Vyvyan ripping down the beginning sequence of The Good Life or the entire parody of University Challenge make their way into clip shows and documentaries about British comedies.

Imagine my utter horror when, having finished the first episode, I wanted nothing more to do with this. Let alone 11 more episodes. I thought it was amateurish and that fake edginess you get with poorly attempted shock humour. The fact that my husband loved this show… well I felt just awful. A few episodes in and, for me, it began to find its feet and I started to enjoy it once we got into the second series.

This is the interesting thing with having comedy series so short in the UK. The first series of six episodes is so much seeing how it works and then, if you like a show, you hope enough others liked it that it gets a second series to work out the kinks. Same with Red Dwarf. At least in the US you have enough episodes in a half season order to try and divert course if something isn’t quite connecting.

The Young Ones works best for me when it just goes full throttle on the absurdity. Also when people like Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French turn up for a cameo – the star quality of those two really is something else. I also started to like it more when they transferred a lot of the bullying away from Neil and onto Rick. Made it feel less hostile because rather than just piling on someone helpless, they piled onto a prick.

It’s my pick for a show next and, after the Emmys, I am finally getting around to seeing Schitt’s Creek. Not a list show, but one I have been meaning to see for a number of years and it fills the comedy role rather nicely in our watchlist.

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