Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Vicar of Dibley - 10th Anniversary Specials|
Actors: Dawn French, Gary Waldhorn, James Fleet, Emma Chambers, Trevor Peacock
Genres: Comedy, Television
The holidays are usually an eventful time for the eccentric residents of Dibley and their chocoholic female vicar, Geraldine. This year proves to be no exception. Alice gets "the wrong end of a very, very long stick" when ... more »
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Peggy C. from SAINT LOUIS, MO
Reviewed on 12/21/2014...
I love this series. Always make me laugh. Will purchase more ASAP.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
The Vicar Loses Faith
Kevin L. Nenstiel | Kearney, Nebraska | 02/11/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"After a several-year hiatus, the creative team and, remarkably enough, the whole original cast, return to Dibley, the little town that never says die. Except it's approaching dead.
The popularity of this show was originally based on its essentially upbeat, positive attitude and genial self-deprecation at a time when many sitcoms were descending into thirty-minute volleys of insults. So why is so much of the humor in these two episodes based on David slapping down Alice? Is it really funny that he fantasizes about his daughter-in-law's death? Are we amused to see Geraldine drunk in the pulpit, snarking at parishoners in the pews? Is the show really improved by personality clashes that amount to little more than volleys of darts back and forth between the principals?
There are some good concepts underlying the episodes. For example, in the Christmas episode, the village gets the idea in their heads that Geraldine is homosexual. Wow, what a great and timely concept! Just imagine the wacky hilarity as a small English village comes to grips with a lesbian in the pulpit! Go on, just imagine it! Are you imagining it? Good for you, because you've put more effort into the idea than the creative team did. They throw this sharp, fertile idea out, then sweep it aside almost as soon as it finds play.
These episodes aren't a total wash. The New Year's episode is particularly touching, comprising as it does an appeal to the G8 leaders to stop fiddling while Rome burns and do something about global poverty. Though perhaps a touch maudlin, this episode provides an appropriate extension of the characters into a real issue that Christians have failed to come to grips with. This is a very, very good use of the characters and their environment.
The special features are also worth watching. Of the content on the DVD, perhaps the best is a short sketch of the show done for Comic Relief. Though only fifteen minutes long, it's a good capsule of the characters, their conflicts, and the show's potential for social good and for touching interactions. This is why we fell in love with the series in the first place. There's also a gag reel, Dibley Defrocked. We get to see the actors riff on their lines, improvise short scenes in character, and mug for the camera. And it's all surprisingly sharp and witty. Perhaps if the creative team had trusted their actors more, they might have had a pair of episodes worthy of the lingering memory of the original series.
This DVD is for fans of the original series only. Newbies will find it slow, disjointed, and wearing; it depends too heavily on our memory of the characters and their quirks more than on actually developing new insights. Those already invested in the show will find these episodes fairly trying, but there's enough to like, and it has its high points. Just don't confuse this with the original show, or you'll only be disappointed."
Christmas rap, Unhappy New Year
K. R. Vrieze | Silver Spring, MD USA | 01/24/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"If this is your first venture into Dibley, stop now and go to the regular series. If you have seen the series and are thinking to see this one my best advice is read all these reviews first. Nice to say, but let me do the more important thing and give some reasons.
First a little context. Having watched the regular series several times over on TV, I bought the DVD versions and have enjoyed them immensely. With this in mind I eagerly bought the "Specials" disk. On first viewing one can easily wonder what the writers and cast could have been thinking when they put these shows together? Overall one is left with a feeling of sadness with what has been done to an otherwise superb series. A less friendly reviewer would simply call it bad art.
The characterization is disappointing to say the least. Geraldine seems angry and bitter and appears to be playing the part of the vicar as opposed to being the vicar. Perhaps the most shocking scene is the supposed comic scene where she plunges into the chocolate fountain. This, for someone who has followed the series, is a disturbing departure from 'reality' and what one understands as the basics of her character. With the appearance of the Archbishop what comic sense there might have been evaporates into disappointment and perhaps even mild disgust. Her language in both specials has gone right over the top. Even allowing for some pretended 'British' sophistication there is little to offer here beyond shock value and that wears thin VERY quickly. The physical abuse delivered to Owen is gratuitous at best.
Alice fails. One might reasonably ask how a person, even in comedy, can raise 10 children and still try to carry off the inanity presented. Sure one expects it, but again the sense is a person playing the character rather than acting. At one point Alice gives away David's favorite picture worth a small fortune after we, and she, learn both its value and worth to David. This goes beyond folly into the cruel. Chambers is a great actress. One senses the writers have let her down terribly.
The David, Hugo, and Jim, still have a sense of who they are, and Owen is as weird as ever. That's the good news.
Jim's 'carol' is simply in bad taste and not a song he would ever have entertained in the series. For her part Geraldine would never have allowed it. This sort of departure becomes an embarassment. It isn't funny, it is just gross. To think either this or the chocolate scene funny suggests a serious inability to grasp what made this series great.
Decorating David's house pink was meretricious foolishness and not a thing either David or Hugo would have accepted even from Alice.
Overall the dialog was out of sync with what the characters were like before the specials. If they were actually like that now, Geraldine would be out of a job, David's economic interests would have failed, and the rest would be fringe elements in Dibley. While this stuff may work for rap music, it does not fit with the characters in the show. Equally, Geraldine's about how she wants to rip out Alice's throat verges on producing disgust rather than a laugh.
The 'defrocked' extra is interesting from the behind the cameras viewpoint. As has been observed it is a pity the funny bits there didn't make it into the show. The 'Comic relief' part had, perhaps, the most humor on the disk. The David character here is, however, the most shallow and least 'david-like'. Geraldine's sacrifice of her ring and TV for Alice was very O'Henry-ish, but rather lost in the mess.
The 'Drunk' sequence was, again, out of character and mean rather than funny or appropos of the story. Equally, Alice would hardly have been the character to carry off the level of explanation presented. All in all it just didn't work.
The serious ending of the New Years episode was intended to be meaningful, but at the end of a show that was fairly wretched the social point was rather lost.
There were some funny bits, but not enough (and not nearly the story) to justify the making of this disk.
At the end we sat there trying to think of reasons why we shouldn't simply trash this one in spite of having bought it new. I am still having difficulty convincing myself with the phrase: "Well, it was worth seeing once." It will sit on the shelf with the promise of a long time before another possible viewing.
Sadly, if this is the best they could come up with one sincerely hopes they do no more. That said, I sincerely hope they can come up with something, somehow, somewhere, that can redeem the damage done here.
Let us pray."
Ehhh...not so good...
J. M. Ethridge | Eastpointe, Michigan | 03/22/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"After loving all the "Dibley" series and specials and even traveling to Turville, where they filmed the exteriors for the series, I eagerly awaited the new specials. I thought it would be wonderful to see the whole gang reunited, but all I felt was a massive wave of disappointment.
The characters are more chariactures and do not act as they should: I'm sorry, but Geraldine sticking her whole HEAD into a chocolate fountain? Not something she would do. The cup of chocolate, yes. The "baptism by Cadbury"? Not her at all. Alice and Hugo offering a threesome to Geraldine? Nuh-uh. Nope. No way.
Buy these ONLY if you're a die-hard fan, like me. As it is, however, I doubt I'll be watching these again unless the rest of my "Dibley"s get destroyed. I'm sad that Richard Curtis sank so low."