Men Behaving Badly

One of the BBC's most popular comedies in the 1990s, Men Behaving Badly, didn't even begin on the BBC! Written by Simon Nye, the series was originally on ITV and starred Martin Clunes and Harry Enfield as clueless roommates. For the second season, Enfield was replaced by Neil Morrissey, but the series still failed to impress ITV chiefs. The BBC, in a rare move, picked up the series and turned it into a smash hit. Now BBC America is running the series in the USA, giving Americans a chance to see this great series (which also spawned a terrible remake on NBC several years ago, about which the less said, the better!).

At its core Men Behaving Badly is a satire about Britain's "lad" culture, personified by Tony and Gary (Morrissey and Clunes), who only care about getting drunk, making out with women, and watching TV. Gary manages to have a full-time girlfriend, the long-suffering Dorothy (Jonathan Creek's Caroline Quentin) who puts up with his antics, while Tony lusts after their upstairs neighbor Deborah (Leslie Ash). Their apartment is a disaster area, the kitchen in particular, and the sofa has seen more action than Clint Eastwood.

The series is deliberately politically incorrect, with Tony and Gary constantly making sexist remarks (and getting called on them by Dorothy and Deb), and while their shortcomings are what make the show so hilarious, clearly nobody is supposed to be a good role model, learn an important lesson, or improve themselves in any way. Maybe that's what makes the show (and most British comedies) so great: you are meant to laugh AT the characters, not find them reasonable.

The BBC honored the series by making it the centerpiece of their 1998 Christmas programming (replacing the venerable Only Fools And Horses which had taken up the mantle of Britain's Yuletide Tradition ever since Morecambe and Wise retired). Viewers got three special one-hour episodes during the holidays wrapping up the series, which became the highest rated programs of the week.

Each of the actors have gone on to great success, Martin Clunes has directed a number of TV movies and appeared recently in the movie Saving Grace. Caroline Quentin continues to co-star in Jonathan Creek and her own comedy Kiss Me Kate. Neil Morrissey starred in a remake of "The Invisible Man" called Vanishing Man. Writer Simon Nye is a prolific contributor to British TV, having also created the comedies Is It Legal?, My Wonderful Life, and How Do You Want Me?.

BBC America is currently running the series on Thursday nights.

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