I listen to the podcast regularly, if I’m honest they are being ridiculously harsh on Series 3. Like a lot of the criticisms of Terror, which I admit is a personal favorite of mine, border on nitpicky.
The gulf in quality from Hole and Carnival to the rest of series three is maybe comparable to Cassandra vs. the rest of VIII, except that the Bottom episodes are considerably better. I think Finger’s the nadir, not counting some of the live shows, which I just don’t really think about generally.
It’s great to see Bottom getting more appreciation these days and being embraced by younger generations more than I would have expected. In the 90s to early 00s it was only The Young Ones that I saw getting any respect, since it was the show the comedians on talking head documentaries had grown up with. Bottom was either ignored or seemingly looked down on as crass, lowest-common-denominator trash (it does have that aspect, to be fair).
The Young Ones is so time-bound that it always looked and felt really dated to me, even in the 90s. Bottom’s got this otherworldly timelessness about it, with the old-fashioned clothes and decor not pinning it to a specific decade, and as with Red Dwarf, you don’t have to know the references to get the jokes. It also doesn’t take time out from the characters for musical interludes and weird asides, that helps too.
I generally prefer the two-handers (you’re lucky if you can fit two fingers, etc.) to the crowded ones like Parade, except there are so many counter-examples that that isn’t much of a rule.
I saw all of Bottom from the age of about 8-13, apart from ‘Gas’ which for some reason I didn’t see until I was about 18. Worth the wait, almost pissed myself laughing and felt more on edge than during most suspense films.
I’d watch just about every new sitcom on in the UK for quite a few years, but moving to somewhere without a telly (and with slow internet) at the same time as introducing my girlfriend to all my favourite shows on DVD put a stop to that, and it’s extremely rare that I get into a new comedy these days. I’m really beginning to wonder if my comedy fandom has passed.