The Filipino government rather seems to have got a bee in its bonnet over this story today about a sketch in Harry and Paul a couple of weeks ago. Apparently the British ambassador in Manilla was summoned to explain the sketch. What, didn’t they get it? It’s terrible when you have to explain jokes to someone, isn’t it?
For those not aware of Harry and Paul, let me explain. The show contains a running sketch with a ‘nice’ southern, suburban family and their misadventures with their pet, Clive (note to BBC story, not Clyde). But Clive isn’t a dog. he’s a wild-haired, pyjama-clad Geordie who looks like a permanently bewildered care in the community patient. A couple of weeks back the family went to have Clive put down because he was ‘too old and ill’, only to find there’d been a mistake and they could take him home, to their disappointment. So you see the point, the sketches are what families do with pet dogs say, but with the pets as people. This isn’t high comedy is it? Not too hard to follow?
Incidentally, being northern myself, I can’t say I’m hugely offended by the sketch’s portrayal of northern men. This is for many reasons, but mostly I think because it is just a joke.
Anyway, the sketch that offended the Filipinos so much centered on the father of the family trying to get Clive to breed. He’s clearly tried a fair bit already and so turns to the family down the road, who let him use their Filipino maid to try. So she dances for Clive and ‘presents’ to him, but to no avail. It’s a funny, throwaway sketch, not as funny as the Raving Chocolatier perhaps, or the Radio 3-loving builders, or better yet the vintage film style segments (the Bourne Identity was a work of genius), but still funny.
So now, not only does the Filipino government have its knickers knotted, but the Philippine Foundation in the UK have supposedly called in a petition for the ‘re-education’ of the BBC. Presumably using some of the methods left over from Ferdinand Marcos’ time as president. I have to laugh, because they have even thoughtfully provided a clip of the sketch on their petition’s website. And a link to the show on the BBC iplayer. Am I missing something here?
Why are people so bloody thin-skinned these days?