How funny was this show? Very. Even though I watched it way back when I was knee high to a grasshopper, it’s memorable for numerous reasons: dialogue, acting and locations. Fortunately, I got to see the whole darn lot, living in the UK and all. Apparently in the USA only a few episodes were shown before it was pulled from the network. If that is in fact the case, the US doesn’t know what it missed! Although it was obviously based upon the Nick and Nora Charles / Jonathan and Jennifer Hart styled ‘detective’ genre format, it still managed to be original. And a hell of a lot funnier.
First off, there’s the dialogue and the acting. Each conversation is loaded with sharp-witted retorts, often involving the vivacious Margaret Whitton as Louisa and her quintessentially English husband Michael, played by Christopher Cazenove. In most episodes, Whitton had enough waggish dialogue to out do Bette Midler in a stand up show and delivered her lines with such verve that it was one of the funniest hours I spent watching television as a kid. Cazenove proved to be the superb foil who gave as good as he got, all be it in a far more reserved, stereotypically British manner. I am really glad that Anthony Andrews was not available to make the series after the pilot as I think the rapport between Whitton and Cazenove was far better. Cazenove portrayed his frustrations towards his wife’s outrageous actions with far greater credibility. Andrews seemed a bit ‘weak’ to me. If a marriage between Whitton and Cazenove was highly improbable, one between Whitton and Andrews was truly implausibile.
Yes, the plot of each episode was somewhat formulaic and highly contrived. Yes, the separated couple caught up in that ‘will they, won’t they get back together scenario’, has been done to death. Yes, the overt culture clash between brash American Louisa and retired English gentleman Michael was all too obviously orchestrated. But if you actually got over the notion that you were watching the show for those reasons, it was really enjoyable!
On the location front, I swear this show was one of the reasons why I decided to go travelling around Europe. Filmed on location in Hungary, Malta, Ireland, England etc, each week, it let you be a virtual sightseer without leaving the comfort of your own home. When you’ve got locations like that, who gives a monkeys if the plot wouldn’t hold up to a CSI form of investigation.
All in all, it was a good hour’s romp. Well, it made me laugh my socks off anyway.moreless