January 3, 2007 Edition

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Last of the Summer Wine

Vivian Heyl
TD Staff

My husband and I are very fond of the Brit coms on PBS. Years of watching British sitcoms have taught me where we southerners get many of our colloquial speech patterns. One of our favorites is "Last of the Summer Wine."

Only in Britain could one base a show around several actors who are all retirement age or older and have a hit. The show has been on for 27 years with the cast changing slightly here and there. There are no heavy-handed moral messages or stances, just a group of retirees who need a few laughs to get themselves through the day.

The characters' antics and silliness in the often-repeated sketches continue to amuse me. Even though it is always the same story, the angle is always different.

Episodes deal with unfulfilled dreams, the desire for something more in life and the need to be respected. The message, if there is one, is that no matter what age we are, we all need the same things.

The story centers around three aging comrades who spend their days getting into and out of scrapes. They are the protagonists for every man who wished he had a little more excitement in his life.

Other characters in the show often treat them with disdain because they don't fit the mold. These men aren't willing to fade into the woodwork or sit in their rocking chairs. Somewhere there is an adventure and they want to be part of it.

People often think I am slightly nuts when I say one of my favorite shows is about three old men who wander around the countryside on foot having adventures and telling tall tales.

My mother, who is also a fan, summed it up in her own unique way. They sure are a goofy lot but you can't help but like them.

When you watch a show for as many years as I have watched this one, the characters become friends. When they leave they are missed. When they die they are mourned. Many of my favorite characters have passed on to that great black and white Sylvania in the sky, but I can still enjoy the reruns.

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