Cover of The Young Ones DVD, featuring the four main cast members in front of a Union Jack


Title: The Young Ones
Released: 1982

Title: The Young Ones: Every Stoopid Episode
1982, 1984
BBC, College Humor, Variety Show

Netflix Summary:

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.

FYA Summary:

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.

Familiar Faces:

Rik Mayall in The Young Ones

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.

Ade Edmondson in The Young Ones

Adrian Edmondson as Vyvyan

The psychotic punk medical student.

Honestly, every time something explodes in this house, it’s ‘Vyvan, Vyvyan, Vyvyan’!

Nigel Planer in The Young Ones

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 in The Young Ones

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 in The Young Ones

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.

Brian wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.