Story: Richie (Rik Mayall) and Eddie (Adrian Edmondson) are the best of friends and roommates, which is very good for them, since no one else would likely have them. The two scrape out a meager existence, never flush with cash, but always with some bright idea for a scam or a hustle. But these aren’t hardened or skilled conmen and instead of a big score, the two usually wind up beaten up, robbed. or scammed themselves. That doesn’t stop them from trying, as they don’t have much to lose with an empty pantry and little else at home. In addition to their doomed plans to find some pocket cash or a hot meal, the two also fail in another avenue, when it comes to romance. Eddie is a loud brute that manages to luck into a rendezvous from time to time, but Richie remains virginal, despite his best efforts. While they’re close friends and flat mates, the two also fight constantly, meaning there’s never a dull or quiet moment. Can Eddie and Richie finally pull off enough scams to get ahead or are they doomed to exist barely alive and only with each other for company?
Entertainment Value: An outrageous, over the top, and insanely creative television series, Bottom would only last for three seasons, but it remains popular decades after it left the airwaves. A simple concept, a pair of friends just going about their lives, but with these two, that means an endless parade of bad taste, random moments, and big laughs. I wouldn’t recommend this if you’re after in depth character examinations or complex narratives, as the focus is more on outbursts of surreal humor, though we do learn a little about Eddie and Richie. This usually happens when one or both are experiencing mania or trauma or alcohol abuse, which leads to confessions or revelations. These little development bits aren’t given much credence narrative wise, but it is still kind of cool to piece together some kind of backstories here. I love the sense of humor in Bottom, it is so chaotic and random, even violent at times and always surreal, but rooted in these characters, so no matter how out of control the situations become, it is believable that Eddie and Richie could cause that kind of nonsense to happen. If you don’t appreciate surreal or off the deep end type of humor, you will probably be left cold here, as Bottom rarely lets off the gas and spirals into chaos into every episode, usually to a high degree. I always have a blast revisiting Bottom and I imagine I will return to this series again and again, so of course it earns a high recommendation.
I don’t think I could ever tire of watching Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmonson creating comedic chaos, which they’ve done in multiple television shows and countless stand up performances and other live exhibitions. While The Young Ones likely stands as their most popular or best known work, I think Bottom deserves the same kind of attention, as it captures that same chaotic feel, just in an even stranger environment. The two are such skilled performers, able to take a manic energy and their own chemistry to weave these outlandish, hilarious situations. I will say neither are even close to subtle, this is about as over the top as it gets, with both usually in varied levels of hysterics throughout each episode. But that is part of the charm here, as you think things can’t get escalate from a certain point, only for Edmondson and Mayall to amp up their antics even more, until it reaches ridiculous levels of chaos. There is a lot of physical humor, with Edmondson taking pratfalls and Mayall using exaggerated movements and facial expressions like he is made of rubber, he’s that animated. As a duo, there is little that could overpower these two, they play off each other so well and seem to ignite off each other, which is what escalates the manic comedic elements. Both bring their all to these roles and for me, both are simply a joy to watch in Bottom.