Page 45 Review by Stephen
A suburban sitcom created over the course of three decades to poke light-hearted fun at British society and contemporary culture, this is Alan Moore's most accessible work of all time.
Well, it is if you're British, ever paid rent, despised officiousness and despaired of the tabloids.
"Right! Inchmale. Council. I'm coming in. Don't try to stop me
So, another member of the family, eh? There are rules on overcrowding, you know. Five people at least not counting a baby and a dog."
"Yes. A dog. Didn't think I knew about the dog, eh?"
"Døck? Vhere is døck? You shøw me døck."
"I rather think you'll show me, sir. I have a warrant."
"Vørrant? You are pøliz come about døck? I never ate døck. Vos nøt døck anyway. Voss pøødle."
In case you hadn't gathered, Uncle Raoul is a Slavic werewolf and the joke never tires. Over and over innocent animals are left just a little too close for the poor creatures' comfort and ravenous Raoul does what only comes naturally. The reprises grow cumulatively funnier and Parkhouse's visual ellipses are hilarious.
Moore describes this as a "paranormal soap opera" for it is riddled with Chas Addams twists. The Bojeffries clan includes barking-mad, malapropism-prone werewolf Uncle Raoul, Festus the vegetarian vampire, Ginda the mop-topped minger who can "turn a cream egg into a diamond and then eat it anyway", a basement-bound baby so toxic that you need biohazard suits to feed it
and then there is Dad. Dad is in flux. Dad may be moving on to the next stage in organic evolution. You'll find him in the greenhouse. Or on the greenhouse. Slime is subjective, you know?
Without Steve Parkhouse - and, I would contend, only Steve Parkhouse - this would flail flat on its furry-fat feet. His is a burlesque, grotesque cartooning worthy of Leo Baxendale's. His butch-ugly Ginda is a hippo-jowled, tooth-gapped joy except to those she voraciously attempts to bed. It is no small mercy that she must have played truant during sex education classes. We're talking Roger Langridge's The Gump from ART D'ECCO in an all-too-short skirt but with an even shorter temper and infinitely higher self-esteem.
Soft targets gently dealt with include seaside holidays in a caravan, goth and deaf metal (I know what I wrote), Big Brother (the televisual fiasco not the Orwellian dystopia) and the wisdom dispensed free both of charge and of any discernible intelligence:
"Quite right, guv. Hang asylum seekers, boost house prices, common fackin' sense, ennit?"
Matching page-panel later:
"Now yer talkin'! Public blindings for underage drinkers, repatriate global warming. Sorted!"
Oh yes, our still-rampant racism is given several more kicks in the comedic cods, especially during the light opera / libretto.
This definite package is given an all-new 24-page send off in the form of a "Where Are They Now?" documentary delivered to camera by Professor Mark Glasses in a thick, phonetic, broad-Brummie accent (so when I typed "accessible" I do apologise) and I so wish I could communicate what had become of our vegan vampire Festus, now cross-dressing on goth-rock stage but both the cartooning and the typography are integral to the joke. However, Alan liked to leave each episode with a fond farewell, so it is only fitting that I do the same by concluding with this from the Christmas special:
"Somewhere, a traditional reliant robin trilled plaintively from a snowdrift.
"Statistically, people killed themselves, drank heavily, and listened to Bing Crosby's 'White Christmas'
"Although not necessarily in that order
"Happy New Year, everybody!"