The “Fawlty Towers” revival comes from Castle Rock Television, the production company founded by Rob Reiner. Matthew George (“Wind River,” “A Private War”), Reiner, Michele Reiner, and Derrick Rossi are executive producing the series as well. “John Cleese is a comedy legend,” said Rob Reiner in the official show announcement. “Just the idea of working with him makes me laugh.”
There’s no denying that Cleese is an undeniable presence in the history of comedy … but who asked for this? In the last decade, Cleese’s only claim to making headlines has been with his out-of-pocket, bigoted comments, and no actual comedy work. It really feels like we’re all being set up to watch a former trailblazer slowly turn into his own tribute band, and completely poison the legacy of his most masterful work in the process.
We already know what seeing the character of Basil Fawlty in “the modern world” would look like because social media has forced us all to share space with multiple generations. I don’t need John Cleese to show me that Basil Fawlty doesn’t understand how TikTok influencers can afford to rent a room in his hotel or what it means when someone uses they/them pronouns because his own Twitter feed already has the punchline published in 280 characters or less. Spoiler alert: It’s not funny.
I am really, really hoping that I’ll be proven wrong and that the “Fawlty Towers” revival will be a roar of a time, but the second I get even the slightest whiff of “kids these days” or “you can’t say that anymore” boomer humor, I’m throwing my TV out the window.