I like Cosby--he\\\'s clever, funny, ground-breaking. family-orientated & can usually come up with a great TV show. When I had heard Bill Cosby was in discussion with David Renwick about an American Adaptation of his EXTREMELY funny although classically dark humored Britcom \\\"One Foot In The Grave\\\", I had my doubts about it\\\'s success on American audiences. \\\"OFITG\\\" is classic British Humor, and much like Rosanne Barr\\\'s failed attempt at an American \\\"Absolutely Fabulous\\\", the comedy of \\\"OFITG\\\" is so intense, dark & way out there that mainstream America would either not get it or complain to have it pulled from the air.
To Start \\\"OFITG\\\" is about Victor Meldrew (played brilliantly by Richard Wilson), a man who is forced retired as a security guard for an office building in London. To add insult to injury, he is replaced by a little black box to automate security. So begins a life of a man with WAY too much time on his hands. In addition, anything that can go wrong in his life does go wrong, always complaining about the little nuances in life--much to the aggravation of his wife Margaret(played by Annette Crosbie).
The show coined the catch-phrase \\\"I DON\\\'T BELIEVE IT!\\\", frequently uttered by Victor when life takes a downward turn. This was even parodied in the season three \\\"Father Ted\\\" episode \\\"The Mainland\\\" where Father Ted spots Richard Wilson (playing himself) & thinks it would be clever to go up to him & say \\\"I DON\\\'T BELIEVE IT\\\". Little does Ted realize his idea is NOT original & only irritates Richard Wilson.
The Meldrew’s have no children, but are frequently visited by Mrs. Jean Warboys (played by Doreen Mantle), Margaret’s good but some-what ditsy friend and neighbors Patrick (Angus Deayton) & Pippa (Janine Duvitski) Trench. Victor & Patrick hate each other, and are always watching each others activities, much to the chagrin of Margaret & Pippa, who enjoy each others company & frequently vent to each other about their lives with their husbands. Some examples of everyday life of Victor Meldrew:
1)Finding a toupee in a loaf of bread just picked up from the bakery.
2)A container of rice from a Chinese take-out crawling across the counter.
3)Discovering a frozen cat in their fridge.
4)Locking a neighbor up in their attic & mistaking her banging for the water heater breaking.
5)Using a toilet at a Chinese restaurant marked \\\"out of order\\\" and discovering it\\\'s a secret entryway to a Chinese brothel complete with topless hookers.
6)Taking a day trip only to have it rain--seeking shelter in a friends van that has bags of quick dry cement and getting his foot stuck in a bag along with Mrs. Warboys.
7)Taking a holiday trip only to be stuck on the Motorway for most of the day due to traffic.
8)Getting buried up to his head in his backyard when he mistakes the daughter of the handy-man he hired as a hooker.
9)Using fresh kelp from the beach to liven up his fish tank only to have a stowaway crab escape from the bag & crawl up neighbor Patrick\\\'s shorts & clamping itself to his scrotum.
10)Yelling at the neighborhood kids (who\\\'s father is a sign maker) and finding a sign new sign nailed into his front lawn. The sign is a horrible portrait of Victor with the inscription \\\"PAIN IN THE ARSE\\\" written on it.
I\\\'ll stop right there for as you can see, whereas \\\"OFITG\\\" used some very off-the-wall, dark, British humor to garner it\\\'s laughs, none of the above plots could ever be recreated by light-hearted, family-orientated Cosby. From what I have read from various fan websites, Cosby was receiving scripts from David Renwick while developing the show and subsequently
watered them down to where he felt they would be acceptable to American audiences.
Unfortunately, the \\\"Americanized\\\" scripts bore little resemblance to it\\\'s British counterpart & the show retained none of the cutting edge humor that gave \\\"OFITG\\\" it\\\'s six seasons of great comedy (Cosby only lasted four seasons). I urge everyone to check out \\\"OFITG\\\" to see the roots of \\\"Cosby\\\"--series 1-3 + \\\"best of\\\" are available from Amazon.co.uk on DVD. The first season of Cosby mirrors most of the scripts from \\\"OFITG\\\" Series 1.
One side note: Cosby did pay homage to creator David Renwick and the curmudgeonly character he created Victor Meldrew by naming the law firm Erica is offered a job \\\"Renwick & Meldrew\\\" Also. the theme song to \\\"OFITG\\\" was written & sung by Monty Python alum Eric Idle.