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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fawlty Towers – Some Observations

THE TWELVE EPISODES OF FAWLTY TOWERS PRODUCED OVER TWO SERIES’ are legendary for their timeless wit. Central protagonists Cybil Fawlty (Prunella Scales) and Basil Fawlty (John Cleese) have a lack-lustre business-motivated marriage based on managing their very ordinary 22-room hotel named ‘Fawlty Towers.’ She is a money-miser and he is a snob; both are joyless.

Actually based on a real life encounter that the Monty Python characters experienced when staying at a real hotel in Torquay in 1970, the plot of the sitcom is hilarious, but it’s incredibly sad to real life—there are too many couples who epitomise the Fawlty’s.

As I watched part of a recent episode—and laughed again—it was clear, seriously, that Cybil would often nag Basil; he could hardly please her. But he was no better, incessantly muttering sarcastic comments under his breath about her.

We laugh about these things because they remind us not only of the bad aspects of our own relationships, we see them so much in others too. It reminds me of an elderly couple I saw in a licensing centre who were “at” each other verbally and physically for some time! It would’ve been funny if it wasn’t so sad (and scary).

And what have we to learn from the Fawlty’s?

We should look to appreciate all our partners do not only for us, but for our partnerships—and even for themselves, not taking them for granted. There is too much discouragement in this world as it is. If we can’t encourage our partners each day or most days we should take a good reflective look at ourselves.

And how can some people live the lie, saying things about their partners when they’re absent or won’t hear? Surely this is as bad as cheating is. Well, perhaps the consequences aren’t nearly so serious, but the motivation is the same. It’s being dishonest with the person we should have implicit trust with and respect for.

Of course, I do appreciate the humour and ironies resplendent in Fawlty Towers; but why would we not learn from those sorts of relationships, using them as a catalyst to make sure our relationships are as precious as they can be?

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

More Information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fawlty_Towers

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