Courtesy of 'Paramount 2', we're rediscovering the joy that is 'Goodness Gracious Me'. It didn't hit the mark every time, but there's a hell of a lot of good stuff in there. Tonight's episode had Sanjeev Bhaskar's "Skipinder: The Punjabi Kangaroo", which was just inspired. Skipinder essentially took episodes of 'Skippy' and dubbed them so that he sounded ike an alcoholic Punjabi.
'Going for an English' was their 'Dead Parrot' sketch, but other things tickle my fancy more. I have soft spots for several Sanjeev Bhaskar characters, the Guru Maharishi Yogi for one (roughly translated this is meaning....) and also 'Indian' guy (Superman? Indian! He runs faster than a speeding train... there's only one country you can run faster than the train!)
In the following clip (3 minutes in) which I found on youtube, Shampoo, Bungalow and Jungle really are all Indian words, the rest aren't (as far as I know):
I found the songs a little hit and miss, but some were really on the money, one that stuck in my head was 'I wanna live like Hindi People' in the style of Jarvis Cocker and Pulp.
I loved the fast bit, 'Comb your hair and be polite // do your homework every night // don't smoke fags don't play pool // do extremely well at school' - such a clever take on the original.
The Six Million Rupee man was great too, with 'Sanjeev Austin'
My favourite Meera Syal bit was 'Smeeta Smitten, Showbiz Kitten', I liked Nina Wadia doing the 'rich bitch' sketches, Kulvinder Ghir was great in the Bhangra Muffins. Meera Syal and Nina Wadia did a nice set of sketches where they were proud mothers, comparing the achievements of their offspring.
Nina Wadia these days seems to pop up on various shows, she took over from Meera Syal on a sitcom called 'All About Me' with Jasper Carrott. I haven't seen her recently though (Update: She's now in Eastenders). Kulvinder Ghir, last I heard, was working in Bollywood.
Meera Syal and Sanjeev Bhaskar went on to be in 'The Kumars at No. 42', which I didn't like at first as it seemed too contrived, but it grew on me. The Kumars has inspired similar series all over the world, and we even saw it in India over the new year.
We're hoping to get tickets for a recording at some point in the future. I've seen a clip where Meera Syal was in make up for 'The Kumars' talking to Sanjeev Bhaskar, one minute she was Meera Syal, the next Ummi. I saw the transition take place, but it was so total I still find it hard to believe that it's the same woman!
Despite my situation (heck, I'm a Person of Indian Origin!) a few references had to be explained, the milk bottle for example. The aubergine references were bang on though, at the time Goodness Gracious Me went out, it seemed like every time Monica made some food it contained aubergine....
The one set of sketches that I never really liked was the Coopers and the Robinsons, a little too strained for my taste.
We like 'Goodness Gracious Me' quite a lot. If you're unfamiliar with it it might be worth taking a look on Paramount 2.