Hippies : The Complete Series [DVD]
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Ray Purbbs (Simon Pegg) is the editor of 'Mouth', a counterculture magazine which he produces in his flat with the assistance of fellow hippies Alex (Julian Rhind-Tutt) and his 'girlfriend' Jill (Sally Phillips).
Includes all six episodes of this cult BBC comedy. Plus 'Then and Now' - find out what happened to everybody after the magazine was shut down!
Special Features - Episode Commentaries with Writer Arthur Mathews, Cast and Crew, Photo Gallery, Hippy Invasion - the infamous invasion on the David Frost show in 1970.
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The last 2 episodes are not so great. Episode 5 is all over the place and suffers in the same way that the episode of Peep Show suffers where they go to a Christian Rock festival, it just seems that you shouldn't set a comedy at a festival, there are too many opportunities for mirth, so many in fact that the whole thing just becomes swamped in mud, just like Darren Boyd's character Hugo. Episode 6 is not great simply because it just reeks of being a last episode, 'this is the last episode', it seems to be saying with every frame, 'we're just winding things up.' However I love the way the joke about Alex's father's swollen hand resolves itself into a comic book character, a moment of comedy genius and you need the freezeframe to properly appreciate it.
Overall well done Arthur Matthews, you are the 'man'.
And into this largely forgotten time comes this beautifully observed single series, with the four main characters each receiving a generous helping of the comedy, the plot and the dialogue. While Simon Pegg is the lead role, my favourite is Rhind-Tutt's uppper class laconic loafer. I knew guys like this in my student days for whom even lifting a cadged cigarette to their lips was a "hassle".
Yes there are one or two flat jokes, stilted acting and dud lines but with Linehan and Matthews that is the small price for the huge amount of hilarious and keenly observed humour.
This forgotten series has achieved the accursed "cult" status but it is loved by the tiny number of people who actually remember it, and if you buy it you will surely join them.
I get the impression that the writer (Arthur Mathews) is really finding his feet with this series, creating six episodes around six cliched themes of the Sixties: pop festivals, nude theatre, sex, obscene publications etc. Simon Pegg is obliged to perform various banana-skin-type slapstick falls that add little. The penis references were probably a little too strong for the American market. And when it came to finding six new themes for a second series, the writer was probably struggling.
But the characterisations are really wonderful. Although the tumble-down squat scenario, and Sally Phillips' violence towards Ray, are perhaps too close to the 'Young Ones' for comfort -- Phillips even levitates at one stage from drug use -- the sitcom I found myself strangely reminded of was 1970s 'Butterflies'. Bizarre I know, but I found the two unemployed sons of Wendy Craig and Geoffrey Palmer irresistibly cool back then. Julian Rhind-Tutt's ultra-laid-back old Harrovian is strongly reminiscent of their attitude.
Anyway, this is a hugely enjoyable short series.
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