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Watch ‘Count Arthur Strong’ for Some Light, Wacky, British Fun
May 22, 2017  | By David Hinckley
 

If you enjoy silly walks, broad mugging, extended triple-takes – which, we might stress, are not derogatory terms in the world of British sitcoms – you may quite enjoy Count Arthur Strong.

Count Arthur, a Brit series that becomes available Monday on the mostly-streaming service Acorn (www.acorn.tv), revolves around the eccentric Count Arthur Strong (Stephen Delaney, top and below right), a retired radio comedy show host convinced his legacy looms larger than it does.

All by himself, he wouldn’t last a week, since he has little perception of people or the world around him. Welcome to Brit sitcoms.

Happily for him, he has a de facto minder, Michael Baker (Rory Kinnear, top), son of his late comedy partner.

Michael, a talented writer, is compiling a book on his father’s legacy, for which he needs Arthur’s help. This is like coaxing a linear response from a pack of basset hounds, but he’s fond of Arthur in an exasperated way, and he correctly perceives that Arthur needs a keeper.

The show does a couple of rather smart things.

This new third season, like the first two, runs five episodes. This lessens the chance of the humor becoming too thin and redundant.

It’s also set mostly in a neighborhood café – think Cheers with much of the drinking taking place off-premises – which creates your basic dysfunctional sitcom family.

The owner of the café, Bulent (Chris Ryman, below right), has a mildly hot temper and is perpetually annoyed with Arthur because Arthur brings his own food and never buys anything.

Bulent’s younger sister Sinem (Zahra Ahmadi), a waitress in the café, enjoys deflating her brother on occasion and seems to have a thing for Michael.

Café regulars include several genial and milder eccentrics, like a man who is obsessed with eggs.

While several threads run through the show, like Michael’s book and Arthur’s delusions, most episodes have a contained drama tucked inside.

When a couple of musclemen try to convince Bulent he should pay up to their protection racket, Arthur’s oblivious responses create a potentially dangerous situation for Michael.

Then those same oblivious responses create a way out. Hey, in the end, it’s a sitcom.

Delaney, who co-developed the show, does most of the mugging, and not by coincidence the end of Season 2 set up a whole new plot device that seems to ride him through Season 3.

After landing a job as a television psychic, he becomes convinced he really does have supernatural powers. Spoiler alert: exorcist jokes ahead.

There’s nothing terribly profound about Count Arthur Strong because that’s not what it’s aiming for. It’s aiming to be good silly escapist fun, which these days is not the worst objective ever.

And if you don’t know Delaney’s work, he’s really good at what he does.

 
 
 
 
 
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