Media - Sitcoms

Covering nearly everything there is to do about sitcoms

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  • Created by: faizan
  • Created on: 09-05-08 20:46

Charcter Analysis "One Foot in the Grave"

"One Foot in the Grave" (1990-2000)

This sitcom is set in a suburban area and the comedy is partly linked to how disaster occurs in what is supposed to be a carm and peaceful environment.

There is also a dark side to this sitcom which sits along side the comedy, but is never tooo morbid. For example when we find out Margaret's mother has died in the end of the episode with the **** builder in.

Based on couple - no children or extended family.

Victor Meldrew (

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Charcter Analysis "One Foot in the Grave"

Victor Meldrew (Richard Wilson)

Victor is disatisfied with life and society in general. Thw 1980's was a time in which many middle aged people were being made reduntant due to the invention of technology. Traditional jobs were going and the older generation were feeling misplaced and worthless. Victor represents the point of view of this generation.

Victor is constantly moaning about the things that upset everyone and says things we're not supposed to say, or at least what respectable middle aged, middle class people aren't supposed to say. He often moans about technology and about the encounters he has with people, in everyday life, like builders and mechanics.

Victor is negatively stereotyped as an old and grumpy man who is intolerant and moans alot. Victor has a sarcastic and moody type of humour attached to his charcter which encourages audiences.

Victor is always the victim when he tries to make a stand for common decency, but he always coming off worse. Victor tries to win but ends up being the looser and getting humiliated. The audience finds this funny but as we have some empathy for Victor we, the audience, also feel a bit sorry for him too.

Victor is a pessimist - always looks on the dark side.Clothing = flap cap, chackered jacket + trousers:Catchphrase - "What in the name of bloody Hell. I don't believe it."

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Charcter Analysis "One Foot in the Grave"

Margaret Meldrew (

MargaretMeldrew (Annette Crosbie)

Margaret is Victor's wife. She is long suffering but always loyal. Margaret is remarkably resilliant and patient. She loves him really and the audience sees glimpses of the affection and love they have between them. They rely on each other.

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Charcter Analysis "One Foot in the Grave"

Patrick Trench (

Patrick Trench (Angus Deayton)

Patrick is Victor's next door neighbor. He is always angry like Victor and constantly tries to ingnore him. Patrick is like a younger version of Victor and in one episode we even see an image of Patrick and Victor briefly morphing into one another, Victor and Patrick hate one another and the tension between them greatly contributes to the comedy.

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Charcter Analysis "One Foot in the Grave"

Pippa Trench (

Pippa Trench (Janine Duvitski))

Pippa is Patrick's wife.

Like Margaret, she often has a lot to put up with from her husband. Also like Margaret, she's learned to cope with her situation.

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Charcter Analysis "One Foot in the Grave"

Jean Warboys (

Jean Warboys (Doreen Mantle)

Jean Warboys is Margaret's best friend, who always tries to do the right thing but things always go the wrong way. She sees a lot of the Meldrews and on occasion is the object of Victor's wrath, who finds her immensely annoying. She deals with his outbursts mainly by ignoring them.

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Charcter Analysis "One Foot in the Grave"

Nick Swainey (

Nick Swainey (Owen Brenman)

Nick Swainey is the Meldrew's other next-door neighbour.

He's a kind hearted, shy young man who is very involved with community projects and "good works". He is the antithesis of Victor.

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Character Analysis "My Family"

"My Family" (2000 - 2008) Ben HarperPlayed by: Robert Lindsay

Ben Harper is a dentist who is constantly grumpy and sarcastic. When he is not at work sacking another assistant or trying to avoid fellow-dentist Roger, he is at home trying to relax (which never works).Ben isn't all bad though, behind his moody exterior he does really love his family and has to put up with being bossed about and manipulated by his wife Susan, continually fleeced for money by his children.

Susan HarperPlayed by: Zoë Wanamaker

Susan Harper is a control freak and very good at getting her way. She is constantly worried about her three children and often forces Ben to go out his way to monitor or look after them.Susan is a tour guide but seems to spend most of her time at home. She is a terrible cook, and the rest of the family often have to sneak the food she has prepared into the bin without her noticing.

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Character Analysis "My Family"

Janey Harper (Series 1-3;5-8)Played by:Daniela Denby-Ashe

Fashion conscious, money loving, boy mad Janey spends all her time on the phone, switching boyfriends or pestering Ben for money so she can go shopping.

Whilst at Manchester University (spending yet more of her dad's money) Janey got pregnant. She was chucked out and so returned home to once again take advantage of her parents. Susan doesn't seem to mind as it means she now has Kenzo to look after.

Michael HarperPlayed by:Gabriel Thomson

Michael (or 'Mikey' as Ben calls him) is the youngest of Ben and Susan's children. He is a smart, clever geeky adolescent. He looks down on his family as he is more sensible than the rest of them put together and often ends up having to get them out of trouble.

In the last few years Michael has developed quite an interest in girls and often brings them home, much to his mother's disgust. He seems that since we started going to university he has become more of a rebel, with his bleached hair and piercings.

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Character Analysis "My Family"

Abi Harper (Series 3-8)Played by:Siobhan Haye

Abi moved in to the Harper household in the third series. She is Ben and Susan's niece... although Ben wishes she wasn't!

Apart from being very clumsy, Abi is also very dim. She can often be seen telling Ben and Susan off.It took her a while (how she missed all the clues we don't know) but Abi has now finally realised that Roger is madly in love with her!

Roger Bailey Jr. (Series 3-8)Played by:Keiron Self

Roger is the over-enthusiastic dentist who works in the same building as Ben. He often turns up at the Harper household un-invited and proceeds to un-intentionally annoy Ben.

For a long period Roger was trying to build up the courage to ask Abi out on a date. They were, after all, ideally suited - like Abi, Roger possesses no common sense and is very gullible. Eventually they did indeed get married. Roger is now a part time policeman.

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Character Analysis "My Family"

Nick Harper (Series 1-5)Played by:Kris Marshall

Nick Harper is the oldest of the three siblings. He is a complete layabout who is constantly changing jobs - one minute he is a self-made stunt man, the next he is a mime artist.Nick is extremely laid-back and certainly cannot be trusted to carry out an important task or look after money!Nick was last seen moving out into his own flat - from the phone conversations Ben and Susan have with him it seems he is coping living on his own.

Alfie Butts (Series 6-8)Played by:Rhodri Meilir

Alfie is a friend of Nick's. He turned up at the Harper household at Christmas in 2005 and proceeded to hang around for a couple of years!Alfie comes from a small community in Wales which seems to have some rather backwards traditions based on what we hear in the stories he tells. There were not many girls where Alfie came from so he very much enjoyed living with the Harpers. For some reason most of the family have turned to Alfie at one stage or other for his advice - you shouldn't ever take advice from Alfie!Alfie is a struggling musician - despite not having a steady income or place to live he is still very laid back about life.

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  • Length of a sitcom tends to range between 25 - 30 minutes

The christmas holiday special for "Only Fools and Horses" is around 50 minutes long = unusual

  • Sitcoms have a circular, classical narrative.

Equilibrium, Disequilibrium, Resolution - everything is returned do its original state

Sitcoms follow the series format.

  • Sitcoms have a transparent style, meaning it is easy to see through and understand what is happening.
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The characters in sitcoms aretrappedas they have to return again and again too their original situation.

For example in "My Family" Ben and Susan Harper are stuck with their family, however this can also be a positive at times so it isn't as bleak as it sounds.

  • Sychronising motives are repeated actioons, clothings or catch phrases.

e.g. In "One Foot in the Grave" Meldrew always wheres a checkered jacket and flap cap and his catchphrase is "What the name in bloody hell! I don't believe it!" Similarly in "Only Fools and Horses" Del Boy also wears a checkered jacket and his catch phrase is"One year from now we'll be millionnaires!"

Snychronising motives are also linked with audience pleasures as repetition creates familiarity to the audience and allows them to feel more welcomed.

  • Main characters are more 3 dimensional then minor chracters that are based on stereotypes. As the main charcacters are more 3 dimensional we, the audience, feel more empathy towards him/her allowing us to feel more apart of the sitcom.

Main characters can also be based on stereotypes such as Victor Meldrew in "One Foot in the Grave"

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