This comedy series, which follows the exploits of employees at London's Grace Brothers department store, is full of sexual innuendo, slapstick, visual gags and double entendres. Much of the show's humor parodies Britain's class system, with the characters rarely calling their co-workers by their given names. Many of the show's characters are based on stereotypes, including the effeminate Mr. Humphries and the rich-but-stingy store owner.
A milestone birthday convinces Tom Good to make a change. He talks his wife, Barbara, into giving up the so-called rat race and joining him in a life of simplicity and self-sufficiency. They convert their suburban home into a farm, planting crops in the back garden and bringing in pigs and chickens (including a rooster they name Lenin). The new use of their property comes as something of a shock to their very proper neighbors, Margo and Jerry Leadbetter. A social climber of the first order, Margo can't bear having chickens roaming the back garden. She'll have to put up with it, though, since Tom, despite his desire for self-sufficiency, can't bring himself to kill the chickens.
Laid-back Sam Malone, a former relief pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, owns and runs Cheers, a cozy bar in Boston. He hires smart, uptight -- and jilted -- Diane Chambers as a server, out of sympathy, but their attraction causes constant bickering. Wacky characters fill the bar: sarcastic waitress Carla, beer-loving accountant Norm, know-it-all postman Cliff. When Diane leaves Boston much later, Sam sells the bar, buys a boat and sails the world, but his boat sinks, so he returns. New, ambitious manager Rebecca Howe hires him back, but they love to hate each other too.
Shopkeeper Albert Arkwright has one main focus -- to make as much money as he can while spending as little as possible. He packs his small corner grocery with as much merchandise as he can. His nephew, Granville, serves as Arkwright's glorified errand boy, rising early to open the shop and staying late to close it. When not focused on his shop, Arkwright woos the nurse across the street. Each episode ends with Arkwright closing his shop and reflecting upon his day.
Curmudgeonly Victor Meldrew, forced to take early retirement from his job as a security guard, rails at the trials and tribulations of modern life as he tries to keep himself busy. His long-suffering wife, Margaret, is frequently exasperated by his misfortunes. Neighbors Patrick and Pippa Trench and family friend Jean Warboys are common witnesses to Victor's antics.
Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet, if you please) lives to impress. And she has no patience for people who pretend to be superior -- because that makes it "so much harder for those of us who really are." Assured of her own eminence, she spends her days trying to make sure everyone else is, too. Her down-market sisters, Rose and Daisy, are a challenge, but she's always willing to talk about her rich sister Violet. Violet's eccentric, cross-dressing husband, not so much.
Unencumbered by wives, jobs or any other responsibilities, three senior citizens who've never really grown up explore their world in the Yorkshire Dales. They spend their days speculating about their fellow townsfolk and thinking up adventures not usually favored by the elderly.
A French cafe owner tries to ride out World War II. Caught between the Gestapo and the Resistance and forced into working with both, René also struggles to hide evidence of his affairs with the waitresses from his wife, who, though she can't carry a tune, frequently performs as a singer in the cafe.
Dick Loudon and wife Joanna relocate from New York City to a small town in Vermont, where they run the historic Stafford Inn. They're surrounded by a town full of oddballs and colorful characters, whom Loudon deals with in various states of bemusement.