Goodness Gracious Me returned after a hiatus of 13 years for a special reunion episode as part of the 50th anniversary of BBC 2 this past month.
While many of the actors have gone on to do other creative work (most famously Sanjeev Bhaskar and Meera Sayal with The Kumars at No. 42) we haven’t had the chance to see them all back in action until now. The reunion show wasn’t spectacular, but there were some memorable moments.
Just Like Old Times: The show started off with the return of familiar sketches and characters that immediately had a nostalgic appeal. The “Everything is Indian” father mused on Sherlock Holmes and its Bengali actor Benejit Cumerband, while the “Cheque, please” guy is still going on blind dates. And my personal favourite, “The Coopers” try to join an ultra-national political party.
New skits: The movie parodies of Mary Poppins and “Madrasablanca” were great, with the latter showing off the genius of Kulvinder Ghir. But something tells me that a present-day Chunky Lafunga sketch with him still playing an action-romance-melodrama hero or recreating himself as an older patriarch a la Amitabh Bachchan would have been hilarious. Plus making an iPad out of an eggplant is something I want to try at home.
Some Things Never Change: Music parodies – they’re still not good at them. These have always been painful to watch and the entire troupe never had good singing voices (autotune parody anyone?). But seeing a “Blurred Lines” parody eight months after the song was popular points to a significant change since Goodness Gracious Me went off the air. With prolific Youtubers like Superwoman and Jus Reign who can churn out a parody almost immediately and with greater cultural relevancy, it shows that the format of the Internet has replaced the rigidity of a weekly sketch show.
But if you have some time on a lazy afternoon, there’s no better comedy troupe to get stuck with in a Youtube rabbit hole.