I think I have figured out why Men Behaving Badly has endeared itself to me. I can’t say for certain, but I think that it might have something do with the show reminding me a lot of “All In the Family”. Okay, so the subject matter is different, but I think the comedy is quite the same. I say this because there are moments of total seriousness that happen in this UK show and then BAM...you find yourself laughing again. I think it is this ability, to walk the tightrope between laughing and crying, that makes a show like Men Behaving Badly what it is. We aren’t dealing with humor that goes for the easy laugh, but it isn’t some cerebral thing either. It is just good comedy and something we’ve come to expect from our friends across the sea.
Season Two of Men Behaving Badly is a bit different. Dermot(Harry Enfield) is gone and we have Gary (Martin Clunes) looking for a new roommate. And what a roommate he finds in Tony (Neil Morrisey). He is a man who chases after women, trashes their apartment and rather then pay the rent, uses the money to buy beer. Needlessly to say, he is someone who endears himself to Gary and thus they end up being roommates. So now, Tony pursues their upstairs neighbor Deborah and Gary is still trying to get loose from his steady chick, Dorothy.
I often find that when a show first comes out of the gate it can go many ways. Oftentimes, a show that has an awesome first season, isn’t able to follow it up when it comes to subsequent seasons. It’s as if all the good ideas have been poured into one season, and the other subsequent seasons(usually there aren’t many) end up either falling flat or just outright failing altogether.
This isn’t the case here. In fact, there were certain aspects of the dynamic between Gary and Tony that, I don’t know if Season Two is better then Season One, I just know that I didn’t find myself really comparing the two. I just sat back and enjoyed. Like seeing an old friend after years apart(not that that really happened in this case) it was nice to see that although there had been changes, the show was still really good. Tony, to me, seems like the classic guy that girls fall over themselves for while their mates wonder why. Add to this how Gary deals with Tony and the show just keeps elevating itself.
I also like how this show doesn’t fall prey to cliché or parlor tricks. I never found the humor to be for the lowest common denominator. I always felt that how Gary reacts to situations(like Tony snagging Deborah) or how Tony reacts to Gary(especially in dealing with Tony’s family) was right on the money. These guys seem worlds apart yet at the same time, they make terrific “flat mates”. After awhile, I sort of wondered how I ever imagined Gary living with anybody else. Not to detract from the Dermot character, but I think this is just another feather in the cap of the shows creators.
Also, British humor seems so much different from the humor I find on American shows. However, I think that one constant among all good humor is it’s ability to care about the characters. How it makes light of humanity without making light of the human being. Men Behaving Badly is very well crafted show which I believe(according to IMDB) ran from 1992 to 1998. I had been told that British sitcoms didn’t run that long, simply because they didn’t want to beat a dead horse. Well, while I can’t really speak to that, I will say that I liked second season of Men Behaving Badly immensely and I look forward to hopefully screening the other seasons if the show did indeed have that long a run.