4.6

4.6 Greenfingers

In which Foggy yearns for a satisfactory carrot…

BOB: So with no explanation or elaboration on last week’s, romantic detour, Foggy is back in Holmfirth. First – I assume – in the town’s hitherto-unseen marketpace, and then onto Clegg’s kitchen, complaining characteristically about ‘the deterioration of the British vegetable’. The perceived passing of an era of British life and the transition of our society into the modern world is a theme that subtly underpins the whole series at this stage. Foggy and Clegg in particular simply cannot let go of the past, often to great comic effect. ‘How long is it since you last had a satisfactory carrot?’ spits Foggy. I laughed.

As I did with the constant references to Compo’s ‘shriveller’. A bizarre archaic expression that gains lovely comic weight due to the sheer repetition of the word. The dialogue in those scenes has a lovely poetry and rhythm. And so our heroes set off to attain some ‘proper’ vegetables from Compo’s nemesis, the objectionable (but green-fingered) Lewis Bickerdyke.

ANDREW: That’s such a fantastic name. They all are, really. Do these kinds of names still exist in the real world any more, or have they been phased out of our society by way of natural selection? The art of the sitcom name seems to have been lost over the years.

BOB: En route, there’s a surprisingly vicious garden cane swordfight between Compo and Clegg (‘Enough Monsieur… I am Le Shagged’) that took me back decades! Garden cane swordfights were an essential part of my 1970s childhood, and I still have tiny scars on my fingers from endless after-school duels on top of the coal bunker. Nice to see Peter Sallis indulging in the textbook 1970s comedy device of suggesting groinal injuries in a high voice… ‘Just checking for damage!’

ANDREW: I sustained an injury to the hand while partaking in a lightsabre battle with Emma just the other year. To this day I don’t think I can pass a sizable set of sticks and not attempt to engage somebody or something is a spot of sword fighting. I must have been an underprivileged child if I still spy dead bits of tree and think to myself, “Oooh, free toy!”

BOB: We’re very much moving into the second phase of Summer Wine now… the show has pretty much dispensed with the gritty edge of the Blamire years, but we haven’t yet fully entered into the era of repeated stunts and physical comedy. Instead, we have some delightful whimsy. ‘I don’t believe in infinity,’ assures Compo. ‘It means the sky’s got no lid on it’. We then enter a charming philosophical debate about the implications of having two mirrors opposite each other on the walls of the local chippy. ‘Some clever twonk might think he’s in infinity when he looks into that mirror, when all the time he’s in some tatty little chip shop’. It’s glorious stuff.

ANDREW: That actually got me thinking for a bit. One doesn’t expect a sitcom to provide points for philosophical mulling and if you consider his point, he does have one! The only character I can really think of who might come out with something similar would be Hancock.

BOB: All this philosophy, and still room for a giant plastic carrot at the end of the episode – used, naturally, to make the legendary vegetable-grower Bickerdyke feel inadequate. The plan – amazingly – works a treat, and we’re left with a strange and beautiful sight… Foggy actually laughing along with Clegg and Compo! Until now, he’s almost uniformly been the butt of their hilarity, and it’s actually quite a jolt to see them all giggling together! Especially as Wilde’s laugh is such a weird, gasping chortle.

ANDREW: Then they’re brought crashing back down to earth when their unattended carrot starts to hurtle away down the road. We’ve probably missed a few already, but is now the time to start a “Thing Rolls Down a Hill” counter? The audience certainly seem clued in; as soon as the carrot-cart’s wheels begin to turn they shriek with delight! We’ve had a few examples before now, but I’ll be damned if I can recall them all. Perhaps a reader can help us out? Comments below please!

This is also the second instance of the juxtaposition of a large object and a double-decker bus being used for comic effect. Will this be a new trope as well?

BOB: And a great bit of ‘legless’ acting from Joe Gladwin at the very death! Some fine physical comedy, that.

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Jakob Pieterson on April 10, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    The “things running downhill” that have occured before include Foggys luggage in his first episode (with Foggys scarf attached) and Foggy himself in tge previous episode

    Reply

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