Double feature: The obvious link between “As Time Goes By” and “The Good Life” (aka “Good Neighbors”) is the creator/writer they have in common, a fact contributing to their similar tone and shared conversational tics and preoccupations. The deeper connection between these two British sitcoms is their protagonists’ worldview, a specific mixture of humanism in theory and latent misanthropy in practice.
At the heart of each show is an unfailingly loving couple whose members, despite differences in temperament or behavior, float in an uncompromisable baseline of harmony with each other. What gives this harmony its bite is each couple’s shared irritation at practically the entire remainder of humanity.
Within their small circle of accepted friends (accepted begrudgingly, years of unavoidable contact wearing down social defenses,) these couples see themselves as the last bastions of decency in a world otherwise conquered by venality, brashness, or mere idiocy.
Situating their persnickety, curmudgeonly gripes within such connubial accord gives these series a double coziness likely to make viewers wish to find their own staunch ally among the otherwise to-be-avoided masses. That these series’ shared philosophy exposes the potential paradox behind such a search shouldn’t be held against them.
Bonus points to “The Good Life” for the prescience of its experiments in self-sufficiency.
(Creative Commons licensed original images courtesy of “wEnDaLicious” and “smith_cl9” at Flickr)