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Rising Damp season two episode reviews

Rising Damp, Leonard Rossiter, Richard Beckinsale, Frances de la Tour, Don Warrington
Season 2, Episode 1. "Permissive Society" Parts of the series that have only been hinted at before are brought out in the open with this episode. Rigsby makes a proper play for the affections of Miss Jones and Alan is revealed to be a virgin (I think). He certainly is found out as being totally clueless with regard to women. Up to now, we all knew that Rigsby liked Ruth but he never made any direct play for her (if you don't count waving that smoking stick about!) and while we certainly suspected that Alan was pretty clueless he never actually said it to anyone else on-screen before. With the start of the second season, I suppose Eric Chappell was just making the conceits of the series more concrete. Whatever the reasoning behind it, it's certainly one of the funniest episodes. All the best scenes are the ones between Rigsby and Alan and - on this viewing - I think their friendship is my favourite part of the show.

Season 2, Episode 2. "Food Glorious Food" Rigsby shoots his mouth off and Philip challenges him to stay off food for 48 hours. Simple premise. Delightful execution. Leonard Rossiter is hilarious in every scene. As usual, his bond with Alan comes to the forefront and he pleads with the young medical student to sneak him some food. It doesn't happen, but it nicely sets up the twist ending. Very funny.

Season 2, Episode 3. "A Body Like Mine" The formula is intact: Rigsby is shooting his mouth off and Philip challenges him to a boxing match. Sure, it's the exact same idea as last week. It doesn't matter. It's really, really funny. The comedy comes from the conversations and Rigsby's ideas about the world. Most of the episode is devoted to Rigsby and Alan chatting. The landlord and tenant have a close friendship and - at this stage in the series' run - are willing to be each other's confidant. Even when Alan thinks the older man is completely wrong. Which is 100% of the time.

The physical comedy in this one is top notch. The exercise scenes and the actual boxing match are hilarious. The twist ending is delightful.

Season 2, Episode 4. "Moonlight and Roses" While this is still a very funny episode, it is much different to most other episodes of RD. It's a bit more sad. Rigsby wears his heart on a sleeve a bit more than usual in this one, he tries very hard to win Miss Jones and plays a very mean trick to try and derail her impending marriage. But it fails: Miss Jones still moves out at the end to get married.

Most of the humour in Rising Damp comes from the tenants (mostly just Philip) playing tricks on Rigsby. Rigsby (mostly) deserves it, because he's a know-it-all and should be taught a lesson from time to time. But this one is a bit different. He really is in love with Miss Jones. To their credit the boys try and shield him from heartbreak at the very start of the show, but - when that fails to work - Philip goes all out and sets him the landlord up for a fall. It's very, very funny. But, for the first time in the series, you cannot help but feel very sorry for Rigsby. He might have his flaws, but the guy did love Miss Jones.

His trick to ruin her marriage is very mean (funny, but mean). Seldom does he do something so out of character. Desperation, I suppose, drove him to it...

Gabrielle Rose (of Robson Arms) joins the cast in this one and makes a great first impression. When Brenda shows up in a very revealing top and tells Rigsby that she is a nude model, the show delivers one of it's best-ever moments. Watching the inept advances of the lecherous landlord is a real delight.

Season 2, Episode 5. "A Perfect Gentlemen" Rigsby's love for Miss Jones is one of the main engines that drives the stories on Rising Damp, but the show doesn't miss a beat now that the character of Miss Jones has moved out of the boarding house. Some episode's rely on Philip playing a prank on Rigsby (to teach him a lesson), but this isn't one of those. Rather, it goes back to another established trait of the landlord: Rigsby is a sycophant. Place him with someone he considers superior/important and he becomes hilariously obsequious. We saw it in Season One with the policeman, and we see it here again (to great effect) when a con-man moves in and convinces everybody that he is 'somebody'.

Except except Philip, that is. Long established as the smartest one of the bunch, this episode shows - once again - that he's nobody's fool. Best bit? Rigsby finding the money that Philip planted, putting his foot on it and being caught by Philip.

Season 2, Episode 6. "Last of the Big Spenders" Poverty drives the storyline in this very funny episode. Rigsby is trying to impress Brenda (the new tenant) but he has no money. It's a slim and very depressing premise, but with this writer and this cast it makes for another hilarious half-hour of television. That's the real skill and wonder of shows like Rising Damp and Steptoe & Son. They can take the most bleak of real-world scenarios and make us laugh out loud. Even when we've lived through them ourselves and know that there's nothing funny about them at all.

Season 2, Episode 7. "Things That Go Bump in the Night" Much more over-the-top than your typical Rising Damp episode. But still very funny.

Rigsby is scared of ghosts, so Alan dresses as a ghostly woman in order to sneak down to visit Brenda (who he is now dating). If you are willing to accept that Rigsby is stupid enough to fall for this, there are laughs to be had.

By the end, however, things are been stretched too far. A couple of priests have been called in to deal with the ghosts and everyone runs around as if it is a farce. It's not. Good effort, nonetheless.

Season 2, Episode 8. "For the Man Who Has Everything" It starts off slow (with too many guest characters), gets better (as the regulars arrive) and builds to a truly great comedy of misunderstanding.

Rigsby has been alone all over Christmas and he is in very bad form. All the early conversations are with guest characters and it lacks the spark of the usual starts. Most episodes seem to open with Rigsby and Alan deep in conversation. Random bickering with random strangers is just not as funny.

Soon Alan and Brenda arrive and things pick up considerably. Rigsby getting the same bad gift from both of them is very funny, but the episode kicks into high gear in the final third. Phillip arrives with a girl in tow. And when Rigsby meets her, he jumps to a spectacular wrong conclusion. Leonard Rossiter has seldom been funnier.

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