Four mismatched university students share a house in North London: hippie Neil, cool guy Mike, would-be anarchist and poet Rick, and Vyvyan, a punk medical student prone to extreme violence.
Four students at London’s Scumbag College share a house, owned by a deranged Russian landlord. Episode plots include the boys having to deal with both an undetonated nuclear bomb in their kitchen and a visit from the television license inspector; movie night being interrupted by a South African vampire; and the time Vyvyan announces that he’s pregnant.
Each episode contained a musical act, such as Motörhead or Dexys Midnight Runners (the BBC paid more for variety shows than sitcoms). These weren’t interludes, the bands would randomly show up and play in their house. Visitors included Satan, the Easter Bunny, and a Cyclops sea captain, who usually went unnoticed by the oblivious quartet.
The late Rik Mayall as Rick
The whiny anarchist and self-styled ‘People’s Poet.’ Mayall was cast as Peeves for the first Harry Potter movie, but his scenes were cut. He told his kids that he was Hagrid.
That’s just typical. Five minutes before the most important party of my life and the house is destroyed by a giant sandwich.
Adrian Edmondson as Vyvyan
The psychotic punk medical student.
Honestly, every time something explodes in this house, it’s ‘Vyvan, Vyvyan, Vyvyan’!
Nigel Planer as Neil
The morose and abused hippie.
My name’s Neil but don’t bother remembering it ’cause I’ll probably be dead anyway.
Christopher Ryan as Mike
The self-styled leader, wanna be Don Juan, and con man.
Rick, a social conscience is like a garden shed: you try and eat it, it’ll stick in your throat.
Alexei Sayle as Jerzei Balowki (and the rest of the Balowski family)
The crazed landlord and his various relatives.
My name is Alexei Yuri Gagarin Siege of Stalingrad Glorious Five-Year Plan Sputnik Pravda Moscow Dynamo Back Four Balowski. Me Dad was a bit of a Communist, know what I mean?
Couch-Sharing Capability: No Gray Area
You either think this is the funniest thing ever or the stupidest, most nonsensical program of all time. There is no middle ground. I’m still not talking to my brother-in-law after what he said about this show at Thanksgiving.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: College
This show is probably funnier if you watch it the way I first did: drunk off your ass in a college dorm. Scenes like the one where the cleaning supplies start arguing with each other will make more sense. Also, Alexei Sayle does a stand up routine every episode, which really aren’t that funny, so drinking would help. Or you could just fast-forward past that part.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Binge
Every once in a while it’s nice to go back and watch all twelve of these episodes (actually, just eleven. The pilot episode, “Demolition”, wasn’t that great). Yes, it took them two years to produce six hours of TV. That’s British television for you.