tek's rating: ¾

Are You Being Served?, BBC One (British)
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I used to watch reruns of this on my local public television station. I never thought it was that great, but it certainly had some memorable characters. And I guess it could be kind of funny. It was set one one floor of a department store called Grace Brothers. The owners of the store were Old Mr. Grace and Young Mr. Grace, but for most of the series the only one we ever saw was Young Mr. Grace, who was very old and addled, and only showed up briefly in any episode. The actual manager was Mr. Rumbold, who tended to get confused a lot. But mostly the show was about employees. There was the floor walker, Captain Peacock, who considered himself above pretty much everyone in his department, though pretty much his whole job consisted of directing customers to the sales staff (whom they could have very easily found on their own). Well, also he's important because he would always say to customers, "Are you being served?" which of course provided the title of the show. The senior salesman in Menswear was Mr. Grainger, who was old and cantankerous. (He was eventually replaced by other people, apparently, but I don't recall any of them.) Below him was a salesman named Mr. Humphries, who had a lot of campy gay mannerisms, though his actual sexual orientation was never revealed. Below him was Mr. Lucas, a young, wisecracking, fairly impertinent man. He was later replaced by a similar character named Mr. Spooner. In Ladieswear (directly across the floor from Menswear), the senior salesperson was Mrs. Slocombe, who appeared to be in late middle age or so. She seemed to think of herself as fairly proper, and I seem to recall her frequently getting offended or whatever. But there was a running gag I never cared for, in which she referred to her cat as her "pussy," and she clearly didn't see the humor in it. Below her was Miss Brahms (who we kinda liked), a sarcastic young woman whom Mr. Lucas often hit on, without success. There was also a maintenance man named Mr. Mash (later replaced by Mr. Harmen), who was fairly flippant towards everyone. Oh, and eventually Young Mr. Grace retired or something, and was replaced by Old Mr. Grace. But in spite of all the makeup used to make the actor playing him look much older than he was, I still thought he looked younger than Young Mr. Grace.

I can't really think of anything else to say. The show's humor was dead common. I mean quite lowbrow, generally not my taste. But... like I said, the show is memorable because of the characters, even if they were mostly just caricatures.


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