A collection of the best sketches from Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones' comedy show Alas Smith And Jones.
Emerging from the phenomenal success of 'Not the Nine O'Clock News', Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones forged a double act that was to dominate 80's and 90's British comedy. 'Alas Smith and Jones' became the gold standard for television sketch shows, combining superb performances with inspired writing and razor-sharp observation.
Bonus Features include both BBC2 Christmas specials (The Home Made Xmas Video and Alas Sage & Onion) plus all four episodes of 'Smith & Jones in Small Doses'.
New Zealand rating: PG (Note: drug references)
Run time: approx. 375 min
I have always been more of a fan of British humour than American... primarily because I appreciate that the Brits often 'layer' their humour, so that the same skit can appeal to a wider audience... some people see the surface joke and find it funny, some spot the more subtle joke tucked discretely in behind, while other see the surreal irony of the situation and welcome the absurdity of it all. Me, I like to think I can see a layer or two here and there.
This is why I was always drawn to Smith and Jones, both in their team series "Alas Smith and Jones" and also their various individual works, where their trademark humour was always well placed for the characters they played.
However, taking the naughty opportunity to sneak a late-night watch of this DVD before it was sent out to the reviewer below, I too found myself in a most British-humour situation... on the one hand, I was taken back to my younger days when this was all fresh and new, and hilarious for it's strange appeal (For back then I was too young to understand exactly *why* I saw 2 or 3 punchlines where others saw just one), and at the same time let down by how 'flat' it seems, when compared to some of the other classic Brit humour I have been exposed to over the years.
For those who appreciate the classics, and enjoy that feeling of whistful nostalgia, this is a DVD you would find much to appreciate, but you may not find it quite as 'alive' as it is in your fondest memories. This DVD will prove to be more of a reminder of better days, and less of a fresh laugh boost. For those who are only just starting to come to grips with the lost art of 'thinking humour' you'll welcome this as a good introduction into the 'tamer' stuff, before moving on to more cerebral and surreal fare, such as Monty Python or Kenny Everett, or the more flamboyant such as Dick Emery or Benny Hill.
The series 'Alas Smith & Jones' was one of the most popular British comedy shows in the 1980's. Presumably the title 'At Last Smith & Jones reflects how long it has taken to come out on DVD.
The TV series ran for about 60 episodes and this DVD contains a compiled selection of 'the best' as well as a few extra bonuses. It is a mixture of stand-up and sketch-based comedy, as well as their trademark head-to head conversations.
To be honest, I was having a bit of a humour crisis watching through the episodes. The head-to-head banter probably contained the best of what was on offer. Frankly, I found most of the sketches painfully silly, although an occasional moment of brilliance appeared here and there.
Dismayed by such a 'flat' impression, I decided to compare the general consensus of others. My husband and daughter were no more impressed than I was. In balance, a number of online reviewers have said they really enjoyed watching these shows again, grumbling only about feeling short-changed that it is a 'best of' rather than a full series DVD set.
Overall, if you are an avid fan of 1980-1990s British comedy, you might well enjoy this DVD and get enough laughs to make it worth your while.
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