In 1991, the spiritual successor to The Young Ones arrived in the form of Bottom. Starring Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson (both of whom had appeared in Young Ones), the show had an anarchic and violent vibe, and it was truly hilarious, especially when things became truly outrageous, from Richard Richard and Eddie Hitler‘s increasingly-mad attempts at wooing the opposite sex to the aggressive fist-fights that at times would stem from literally nothing.
Though The Young Ones is right praised as being a ground-breaking British comedy, in some ways Bottom is the funnier and more structured show, and an underrated programme from the 1990s as a whole, even if some moments featured across its three seasons haven’t aged particularly well. In this regular feature, we take a look at the best 12 editions of a particular programme, and in the case of Bottom, we have got 18 to choose from. So, which episodes top our list? Let’s find out!
Honourable Mention – Accident
My only issue with this episode is that, after a few viewings, it doesn’t have quite the same comedic impact in comparison to other editions that have me laughing over and over again. Nevertheless, this is all about Richie’s birthday, and the “celebrations” only become more and more disastrous as the day progresses.
#12 – Break
Having wrangled themselves a “great” holiday deal (which Eddie defines as “pay up the money by Christmas or we die”), Richie and Eddie begin to pack their belongings for their trip while also attempting to lose some weight so that they can catch the eyes of any lovely ladies down at Doncaster. The ending breaks the fourth wall a bit too much for my liking and lacks any real logic, but the preceding twenty-five minutes or so are filled with great lines and some outlandish scenes, such as Richie getting “something” stuck in the vacuum cleaner.
#11 – ‘S Up
Richie and Eddie are tasked with managing their landlord’s shop, and while Richie uses this as an attempt to flaunt his supposed sophistication (while simultaneously offending every single person who comes into the store), Eddie becomes workshy very quickly and decides to watch some cricket on the roof of the building. But by leaving the shop unguarded, the store ends up being looted, and to make matters worse, Richie’s plan to pull a violent prank on Eddie only leads to them being both stuck on the roof!
#10 – Dough
In this episode, Eddie has created a machine to forge money for himself, Richie, Spudgun and Dave Hedgehog to use down at their local pub The Lamb And Flag. The idea is to create erotic and obscene images on the notes to distract would-be punters (such as the local landlord Dick Head). When Dick threatens to set local money forger Skullcrusher Henderson onto the quarter, their only hope is to try and win a pub quiz. There are some classic Bottom moments here, though to me it felt a bit too over-the-top at times, even by the standards of the series.
#9 – Culture
Perhaps the most memorable of Richie and Eddie’s on-screen fights comes at the end of this episode. In an attempt to offset boredom caused by the lack of a television, the guys decide to play several games, eventually settling on chess. Eddie has to improvise to find suitable pieces as the original ones have gone, while Richie proves how insane he really is by flitting from one random topic to another, before finally admitting that he doesn’t even know to play chess! And once the game does commence, all hell breaks loose.
#8 – Smells
The very first edition sums up the lifestyles of Richie and Eddie perfectly; they do very little all day except bicker, before expressing a desire to get lucky with women of almost any description. The discovery of a new sex spray leads to them going down to The Lamb And Flag to try and cop off, but they only make matters worse for themselves by trying too hard and coming across as being very creepy, before their conquests are thwarted altogether by their chosen targets revealing themselves to be lesbians.
#7 – Burglary
One night, Richie and Eddie have their flat invaded by a burglar, and they manage to overachieve by catching him and keeping him hostage until the police arrive. At least, that is until they realise that they could use the already-stolen loot from other houses to afford a glamorous new life in the Bahamas, except that they have to somehow dispose of the burglar’s body (once they decide how to kill him) and the intervention of the police. Ultimately, their scheme is in vain, and all they’re left with is mouse traps on their todgers. Seriously.
#6 – ‘S Out
The final episode of series two sees the lads go for a camping trip to Wimbledon Common. Away from the flat and even from The Lamb And Flag, the comedy comes from Richie and Eddie having to both survive and co-exist, which is too much to ask from these two. Their attempts to capture local wildlife to eat for their tea sees Richie swallowing a dart, and once he manages to avoid this, the guys lose their only true source of food, a packet of chocolate Hob Nobs, which leads to one of their many fights.
#5 – Holy
It’s not the best festive edition of a sitcom that you will see, and the major plot twist is a bit overdone. But the journey that the central characters towards getting to that point is fantastic, with the highlight being Eddie’s attack on Richie, masquerading as Santa Claus, which results in a visual that you’re unlikely to see on any other Xmas programme for any other series. Another vintage scene comes when Richie chops off his own finger, and Eddie reacting by taking the severed digit and shoving it up his own nose!
#4 – Finger
Richie gets pummelled by Cannonball Taffy O’Jones at the latter’s “stag cricket game”, so in revenge, he convinces Eddie to steal his car, which they then take to the Marvelloso Splendido Hotel in … Wolverhampton, where they masquerade as the married couple for their honeymoon. It starts strong, but it gets really funny when they arrive at the hotel, and Eddie being dressed as Mrs O’Jones is a sight gag to behold. There are several memorable moments from this edition, perhaps the funniest being Richie trying to avoid having to share a bed for the night with Eddie, and his attempt to explain why he doesn’t want to do so only making matters worse.
#3 – Hole
The first episode of series three sees Richie and Eddie spend the entire episode stuck at the top of a ferris wheel, which they soon learn is hours away from being demolished (they were left up there alone for a reason). What impresses me about this entry is that the entire 28-29 minutes rely solely on the banter between Richie and Eddie, which could easily grow tiresome, but instead only gets funnier and funnier before the fourth wall-breaking climax. This is the best edition when it comes to studying the complex characters of both men.
#2 – Terror
The Halloween episode (broadcast in January, because why not?) from the third series is simply bonkers. Richie and Eddie conjure up a scheme to go trick-or-treating while using an electric cattleprod, one which unfortunately causes Richie to soil himself on three different occasions. Once he gets cleaned up, it’s time to prepare for a Halloween party with Spudgun and Dave Hedgehog, and this leads to one of Richie’s many lurid sex-related schemes, if not his most insane to date. Of course, it’s best to watch this on October 31, but even out of contest, it’s brilliant.
#1 – Gas
This is tremendous from start to finish. Richie and Eddie are trying to avoid paying their gas, so they are essentially nicking the gas from their bad-tempered next door neighbour, Mr. Rottweiler. But a visit from the gas man creates a sense of panic which leads to several ludicrous stalling tactics, followed by the two guys believing they had no other option but to pummel the poor bloke into unconsciousness. They initially think he’s dead, but when he realise he’s still alive, they then have to make sure that they remove the illegal gas supply, albeit while distracted by Rottweiler having intercourse with his new bird. It’s over-the-top slapstick, and it’s laugh-out-loud from the first minute to the last. If you want to sample the best of Bottom with just one episode, it’s this one.
So, those are our thoughts on the top 12 Bottom episodes of all-time, but what do you think? Let us know by leaving a comment below!