British sitcoms have a long history of presenting characters that on the first glance are not only unlikeable, but also it seems they are completely unsuitable for comedy series. Steptoe and Son was just another example of such sitcom.
A lot of British series actually are talking about total losers, the underdogs struggling to survive just another week and find money to pay the rent. There are very few examples of such characters in American sitcoms (Roseanne, Grace Under Fire, Married with Children), usually the main characters in US sitcoms are people who made it in life, have good houses, happy family and no financial problems.
Just take a look at Friends, Modern Family, According to Jim and many, many more - and now compare them with British Men Behaving Badly, Are You Being Served?? or Steptoe & Son. The differences are blindingly obvious. Especially Steptoe & Son is unique on that list - we have here father and son running rag-and-bone business (buying and selling old stuff, just like in modern times tv shows) and it is not a successful business. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Arnold Steptoe, the senior, is grumpy old man, who got used to being scruffy owner of junkyard, while his son Harold keeps dreaming of better life - he wants to see the world, he enjoys higher culture, he reads a lot of books... The clash between their looks on life and future constantly starts arguments between them and often they are on verge of closing the business and going separate ways. Until they realize they have nowhere else to go and they are stuck together.
This bitter-sweet story of father and son duo was very popular in 1960s, so popular that a remake was created in United States called Sanford and Son. Of course the characters and their environment were changed, but the relations between father and son were the same.
Comedy Series Blog - we search all the interesting (and sometimes not that interesting) comedy series from around the world. Some of them might be slightly better than the others, but in comedy there are no strict rules - sometimes less funny series, but made with skillful touch could be a hit. On the other hand there are series that try too hard to be funny and lose on the plots and characters building.
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