Considered to be the definitive British sitcom, with it's innuendo-laden, penchant for slap-stick comedy, and panto-type characters, Are You Being Served surely has something for everyone. Broadcasted from 1972-1985, Are You Being Served was written by Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft. The idea for the show came from the brief period Lloyd spent working in a department store in the early 1950's. Set in the ladies' and gentlemen's clothing department of Grace Brothers' Department Store, the ensemble cast often permeated their conversations with sexual innuendo, and acted out misunderstandings and mistaken identity with occasional slap-stick humor. In addition to this, the cast's comedic performances were enhanced by outrageous costumes and frequently malfunctioning displays. Within all the humor, wonderful comedic situations, and brilliant acting, lies a severe critique of the british class system, the defined roles of gender, and the exploration of sexuality.
There is the portrayal of the floorwalker- Captain Peacock (played by Frank Thornton)-- who may only be addressed by the title of 'Captain' , and wears a red carnation to symbolize his position as an executive. There are the sales men and women who constantly make light of their lousy pay- one that sees them often hitch-hiking because they can't afford a ride on the bus. There are the maintenance staff who are not allowed and always leave extra early in his Rolls Royce. The show explores gender roles in a humorous manner as it pits the new world Mrs. Slocombe, head of the ladies' department, against the bitter Mr. Grainger, head of the gents' department, in an eternal battle of the sexes. The character of Mr. Humphries, as played by the flamboyant John Inman, is often seen prancing around the department in sequins and high-heels, leaving both his colleagues and the audience to question his sexuality. The quickness of the wit, the genius of the situations, and the cleverness of the social commentary are all wonderful reasons to watch this remarkable sitcom. But putting all of this aside for one moment, the show is genuinely funny, and it will have you roaring with laughter from start to finish.
Image Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9b/JohnInman.jpg
Video Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0YW3ixaswQ&feature=related