Synopsis by Hal Erickson
This highly influential British "alternative comedy" series took an anarchistic, almost Brecht-ian approach to its material. The setting was a rundown, messy apartment, occupied by four eccentric and fiercely anti-establishment college students. The quartet consisted of Rick (played by series co-creator Rik Mayall), a staunch disciple of British pop singer Cliff Richard and an inveterate womanizer; Vyvyan (Ade Edmonson), whose obsessions bordered on the insane; Neill (Nigel Planer), a funky fellow with peculiar notions about cooking and cleaning; and Mike (Christopher Ryan), the "odd man out" (i.e., the most normal and least screwed-up of the four roomies). Comedian Alexei Sayle floated in and out of the proceedings, usually cast as zany landlord Jerzy Balowski, and sometimes as various other members of the Balowski family (shades of Sidney Fields on The Abbott and Costello Show). The plot lines were anything but linear or traditional, with the cast members talking directly to the audience, commenting on the fact that they were merely television performers, and changing story direction at the slightest provocation. The series was allegedly based on the real-life experiences of star Rik Mayall and his writing partner Ben Elton, though one seriously doubts that these two worthies entertained a different rock star each week, as do the four "heroes" of The Young Ones. Lasting 12 35-minute episodes, The Young Ones first aired from November 9 to December 14, 1982, returning for a second season from May 8 to June 19, 1984.