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Case Number 12218: Small Claims Court

Buy A Bit Of Fry And Laurie: Season Four at Amazon

A Bit Of Fry And Laurie: Season Four

BBC Video // 1995 // 207 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Roy Hrab (Retired) // October 17th, 2007

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All Rise...

Judge Roy Hrab thinks Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie bit off more than they could chew when they decided to make this batch of bits.

Editor's Note

Our reviews of A Bit Of Fry And Laurie: Season Three (published September 26th, 2007) and A Bit Of Fry And Laurie: Seasons One And Two (published September 27th, 2006) are also available.

The Charge

"No, it was the damnedest thing. I was in this hardware store about three weeks ago, buying a thirty-gallon drum of car wax for my daughter-in-law, when, suddenly, the door burst open and thirty coppers came lumbering in, arrest everyone. Turned out the place was a brothel."

The Case

Those seeking background information on the duo behind this British comedy series, Laurie (House) and Stephen Fry (Jeeves And Wooster), should consult Appellate Judge Mike Pinsky's review of A Bit Of Fry And Laurie: Seasons One and Two.

A Bit Of Fry And Laurie: Season Four, the final season of the series, is comprised of seven episodes, each slightly less than thirty minutes in length. Highlights from the fourth season of the sketch comedy series include:

• Laurie singing "All We Got To Do Is…," a parody of political anthems about making the world a better place
• "It's a Soaraway Life," a parody of It's A Wonderful Life, featuring Rupert Murdoch (Laurie)
• A bartender (Fry) who interrupts and completes the sentences of a customer (Laurie) with suggestive offerings of food and other items
• A game show parody, "Don't Be Dirty," where contestants must describe acts without using "dirty" words
• A soccer instructor (Laurie) teaches his students only one skill: "Run into the box and fall over."

The episodes are a mix of on-set and pre-recorded sketches. Sprinkled between sketches are brief pre-recorded man-on-the-street interviews: "If history has taught us one thing. It has taught us that the Battle of Agincourt was in 1415." Laurie and Fry appear as a host of eccentric characters, appearing in drag a number of times. As done in the third season, each episode concludes with the duo bidding farewell to the audience with Laurie playing the piano and imitating a trumpet while Fry mixes a bizarre cocktail (e.g., "A Quick One With You, Stephen").

The twist on A Bit Of Fry And Laurie: Season Four compared to the previous season is that each episode starts off in a talk show format with Fry and Laurie addressing the audience directly and introducing various British personalities as guests. The guests participate in sketches throughout the show.

Unfortunately, having pointed out some highlights above, I must report that this final season of A Bit Of Fry And Laurie is noticeably inferior to the previous season. The use of "guest stars" is gimmicky. Further, the guests woefully lack the comedic sensibilities of Fry and Laurie, pulling the quality of sketches down. Also, the wordplay is strained, repetitive, makes excessive use of non-sequiturs (especially the guest introductions), and strays into outright vulgarity more often than the previous season. Last, Laurie's songs drift into bad taste occasionally. For example, on one occasion, Laurie sings of being the obsessive Steffi Graf fan who stabbed Monica Seles. Where is the humor in that?

There are no extras.

Overall, A Bit Of Fry And Laurie: Season Four shows abundant evidence of a series running out of creative steam, possibly explaining why it was the last season of the series. Die-hard fans of the duo may be satisfied by this offering. However, most viewers will find that it pales in comparison to Blackadder and Monty Python's Flying Circus. It even falls quite short of A Bit Of Fry And Laurie: Season Three.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 70

Perp Profile

Studio: BBC Video
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• English
Running Time: 207 Minutes
Release Year: 1995
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Comedy
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• None








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