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Did the plan work, Edward?,
This review is from: League of Gentlemen Series 2 (2 disc set) [DVD]  (DVD)
Never, in any comedy show I have ever watched, has a character so utterly sinister and yet so deeply hilarious as Papa Lazarou made such an impact with such little screen time. The first episode, when the circus comes to town and women are carted off with cries of "Dave... you're my wife now!" is comic perfection of the highest order. I laughed my bum off.
The League of Gentlemen are back, and this time they crank up the creepy lever a couple of notches. They find new ways to kill animals in spectacularly violent, explosive ways. They find new 'issues' to write plays for the kids about. And they throw in some plot lines.
The plot, such as it is, has several strands and runs throughout the series. There's the fatal nosebleed epidemic, which initially seems to have been brought on by the arrival of Papa Lazarou but in fact has another, more 'local' source. Then there's Tubbs' and Edward's attempts to find a 'no-tail' for their half-beast son David, including a trip to a supermarket in a stolen rural ambulance and ultimately an alliance with botched transsexual Barbara. Pauline is back, plumbing the depths of despair after being fired from Restart and trying, with the help of Mickey, to get back on her feet. And melodramatic middle-class beauty salon owner Judy Levinson reveals just how close she and her maid Iris are...
Whilst the first series of League of Gentlemen is rightly considered a classic, it's the second - and in fact the third - which rank as the quartet's masterpieces. Characters are given the kind of depth that Little Britain just cannot even get near; and the writers are not afraid of killing off major characters to change the 'scenery' every so often. In fact, by the end of series two, several major characters have been axed - leaving space for a new batch in series three.
The genius of Royston Vasey is in just how beautifully it is all stitched together. In some respects it follows a sitcom format (and characters tend to stay within their own set-ups - Judy Levinson never meets Bernice, for example - mainly because they're played by the same actor!), but because the characters and plotlines are all interlinked, the viewer is given a sense of a wider environment in which everything is happening.
Watch the second and third series back to back, if you have a spare day (and aren't susceptible to nightmares) - it will pay you back again and again.