The Spin-Off’s That Should Have Been…..

Posted: September 25, 2012 in Humour
Tags: , , , , ,

They dont all have to be this bad, you know……

Watching a Frasier re-run the other night I got to thinking: why do so few comedy spin-off’s work? From Daria to Joey, from The Green Green Grass to, eh, Joanie Loves Chachi, telly history is littered with abominable spin-off failures. Perhaps the reason Frasier worked was because his character in Cheers was merely one of a large ensemble and had never been forensically explored so there was therefore still a lot of untapped comedy to be mined from the neurotic shirk. But whatever the formula behind this unique successful spin-off, thanks to the aforementioned offenders the words ‘comedy’ and ‘spin-off’ bring an almost universal groan, but it should never have come to this. Had producers being canny enough and focused on the right characters we could have been treated to some TV gold. In no particular order, here are five missed comedy spin-off opportunities:

Finchy (The Office)

Crass, loud, chauvinist and proud, Finchy was the ultimate antidote to Tim’s new age man. Never missing an opportunity to roll out one of his many schoolyard witticisms (like dragging ‘up the bum, no harm done’ into 21st century tellyland), so repulsive was Finchy that David Brent positively worshipped him.

Brilliantly played by Ralph Ineson (although subsequent advertising roles would suggest Finchy wasn’t that big a stretch), Finchy eats up every scene he’s in, whether it’s casually suggesting oral sex with a colleague who has dropped her pen or throwing Tim’s shoes over a pub wall ‘to determine the winners of a quiz’. Finchy is the type of bloke we would love to see get a proper kicking outside a kebab shop on a Saturday night – exactly why he would be worth watching for an entire series, as each week we tune in, hoping this will be the week he gets his comeuppance.

Bebe Glazer (Frasier)

“She doesn’t have to worship the Devil; the Devil worships her!” warns Frasier of his machiavellian agent Bebe Glazer after one particularly amoral act. Whether it’s fake suicide attempts, being implicated in the untimely death of one of her rivals or pretending to be terminally ill, there’s nothing Bebe wont do to secure the best deal for herself and her clients. Owner of some of the greatest quotes in TV history (Frasier: ‘Donkey basketball?’ Bebe: ‘Texas, darling – it’s like the symphony to them’), Bebe would thrive with her own series as we follow her ever more nefarious methods of self-advancement and rival-elimination. A spin-off of a spin-off, Bebe would make TV history – for which she would no doubt demand extra commission.

Tom (Fr Ted)

Craggy Island’s rabbit-torturer-in-chief, Tom was the barely comprehensible, unstable inbred whose mental development apparently ceased in the same year his ‘I Shot JR’ t-shirt was last fashionable. Whether it was holding up Post Offices to avoid queuing, complaining about the chunk his dog had bitten out of his arse or spraying raw sewerage over Ted and Dougal, Tom was nothing if not interesting; exactly the type of character to develop over a whole series as we get to know the people, places and psychotic episodes that moulded one of the best peripheral sitcom figures of recent times.

Newman (Seinfeld)

To some he will always be the over-excited cop in Basic Instinct, sweating profusely as Sharon Stone exposed her talent to the world. A sweaty, lecherous mound of skin, Newman wasn’t just the nemesis of Jerry Seinfeld, he was an assault on all our visual senses. With his maniacal laugh and narcissistic personality, Newman was so unhinged he made Kramer look normal. Whether it was cajoling his friend to perjure himself in order to avoid a speeding ticket or offering his services as a ‘cat kidnapper for hire’, there was no level to which Newman wouldn’t stoop in the name of financial gain or exacting revenge on perceived wrong doers. Unquestionably worthy of a spin-off series, if only to see him finally post even a solitary letter on his infamous postal route.

Compo Simmonite (Last of the Summer Wine)

On second thoughts…..




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