Case Number 14074: Small Claims Court

WAITING FOR GOD: SEASON THREE

BBC Video // 1992 // 292 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Kristin Munson (Retired) // July 16th, 2008

The Charge

"Contrary to popular opinion, not all old people are fun-loving and sex mad. Some of us have the decency to be vicious old cripples with a healthily sour view of life." -- Diana Trent

The Case

At the Bayview Retirement Village, Tom (Graham Crowden, The Ruling Class) and Diana (Stephanie Cole, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day) continue to carry out their elderly version of The Odd Couple. Tom is a modern Walter Mitty, forever drifting off to go fishing with Hemingway or tunneling out of Colditz, while Diana is a savage cynic, vocal feminist, and fierce proponent of elderly rights. Somehow though, the unlikely pair is the perfect team to thwart management schemes and ageist plots for ten more episodes.

Waiting For God: Season Three marks the halfway point for this Britcom, and series writer Michael Aitkens adds some twists to the usual episode plots of Tom and Diana riding to the residents' rescue. Tom's slutty, drugged up daughter-in-law becomes a New Age hippie, and the narcissistic manager of Bayview, Harvey Baines, goes in search of a wife. The season's biggest shake-up comes when Tom and Diana get tipsy at a wake and finally get together. This would be the death of any other sitcom, but Aitkens doesn't allow this to change the pair's relationship in any way; they're the same mismatched friends, just with benefits.

The show has always felt like a stage play with American sitcom trappings, and that's because of the supporting cast. While new facets of Tom and Diana are always coming to light in their one-on-one conversations, the rest of the ensemble are stuck playing cardboard cutouts. Basil the horny septuagenarian; Harvey the cheap narcissist; besotted assistant, Jane; they're all one-note parts. As Jane, Janine Duvitski's theatrics are so obnoxious that it's impossible to be sympathetic to the way Harvey treats her, and when the rehabbed Marion starts to display some genuine humanity, Aitkins shoves her back to being the passed-out comic relief.

The DVDs for Season Three are nice but nothing special. The stereo is clear, if a bit loud, and the picture holds up except for the usual UK disparity between videotape and film, where scenes shot on sets look clean, colorful, and ageless, and everything done on location is more murky and washed out. For extras, there are text bios for four of the actors and the season's 45-minute Christmas Special, which I've never seen aired before, probably because of the awkward length. It also sports one of the season's best lines and ready-made message board signature: "Cynicsm is the Romantic's condom."

What you could rely on from any episode of Waiting For God were Diana's biting insults, Tom's flights of fancy, and frequent naughtiness like Diana knitting a willy warmer or the dotty village vicar christening a child "Ugly Little Bastard Jones," and this season offers more of the same. The episodic and formulaic nature of the stories make it easy to jump in, but the character changes aren't going to mean as much if you haven't seen earlier seasons.

Review content copyright © 2008 Kristin Munson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 79

Perp Profile
Studio: BBC Video
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

Subtitles:
* English

Running Time: 292 Minutes
Release Year: 1992
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* 1992 Christmas Special
* Cast Bios

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0098945/combined

* DVD Verdict Review - Season 1
http://www.dvdverdict.com/reviews/waitingforgodseason1.php