What does the British sitcom Blackadder have to do with snakes? Absolutely nothing, unless you count Edmund’s snake-like personality traits. This show takes place in a variety of eras, from the Middle Ages all the way to World War I, each being funnier than the last. The main reason for the hilarity of this show is the all-star cast. The main character, Edmund, is played by Rowan Atkinson. He is supported by Tony Robinson, HUGH LAURIE, and Stephen FRY. Stephen Fry remained a huge star in Britain, but Hugh Laurie extended his career to America and became a great award-winning actor across multiple movies and shows. Rowan Atkinson went on to become the popular “Mr. Bean”.
My favorite time period comes from World War I, Blackadder Goes Forth. Blackadder and the gang are entrenched in the front lines of Flanders, from which Blackadder is constantly trying to escape in an attempt to not go over the top of the trench. The show contains very obvious anti-war themes, such as the commanders being 35 kilometers behind the front and the satirizing of the high numbers of troops lost over 17 square feet. The show constantly pokes fun at how war is meaningless, which was seen by many critics as an attempt to trivialize the war. The show, even with its anti-war sentiment, went on to be a classic show and garner the British Academy Television Award for Best Comedy Series in 1989.
“Blackadder, “Captain Cook,” (season 4, episode 1.) Image from [https://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/blackadder-quotes.html]
The dry, satirical humor present throughout the show is what draws me to it. Atkinson’s pessimistic, negative humor presents itself in ways that viewers can find funny. It’s like how a douche bag’s insults are insulting, but at the same time can be hilariously creative. Hugh Laurie plays the fool to Atkinson’s straight man and does a bang-up job of it! I find his stupidity amusing as opposed to annoying, which is really hard to pull off (it could just be the British accent to be honest). Robinson plays Atkinson’s loyal, yet daft, sidekick who is constantly voluntold to participate in Atkinson’s escape schemes. Stephen Fry plays the idiot general who leads the men in an attempt to get his drinking cabinet six inches closer to Berlin.
“Black Adder, “Corporeal Punishment,” (season 4, episode 2.) Image from [https://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/blackadder-quotes.html].”
Overall, this short series is easily one of my favorites and I am sad that I forgot it and did not mention it as my favorite on the first day of class. There are rumors of another season being done, if they can afford Hugh Laurie now that he is a hugely successful actor. I want there to be another season, as long as they stick to the same humor and do not try to change it drastically. I wonder what era they will represent next and who will be satirized?