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Farty Towels -- Writer's Poke #132



For Writers:

Sometimes it's just as much fun to watch my wife watching TV as it is to watch the TV itself.

Linda isn't squeamish. She can watch the most violent horror movie without any problem. It's the slapstick comedy that gets her every time.

Are you familiar with Fawlty Towers? If you've somehow missed this British sitcom, please quit reading this poke right now. You need to purchase the Complete Series DVD post haste.

What makes this series difficult for my wife to watch? It's the masterful use of farce -- taking the comedy of errors to the point that laughter itself becomes painful.

Basil Fawlty, played by John Cleese, isn't a bad man, but he always brings disaster upon himself, and while viewers understand that Fawlty gets what he deserves, on another level they also recognize that he is powerless to act in any way other than he does.

Fawlty simply tries to play the role he has been culturally designed to play, and when things inevitably go wrong, we feel badly for him. He is a man trapped in own faulty misinterpretations of culture and what it means to lead a successful life.

What faulty assumptions have you had, and how did you finally recognize that they were faulty?

"Let us carefully observe those good qualities wherein our enemies excel us; and endeavor to excel them, by avoiding what is faulty, and imitating what is excellent in them." -- Plutarch

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