Fawlty Towers (1975 - 1979)
Commentary by Michael Calwell, February 2002

Fawlty Towers was a highly popular U.K. television comedy which starred John Cleese as Basil Fawlty (Tall) and Andrew Sachs as Manuel (Short). The situation was a failing Hotel, called Fawlty Towers, where Basil Fawlty was the manager and Manuel the waiter.

Whilst both characters were faintly ridiculous, the dynamic that existed was clearly that of the superior and the subordinate. Basically, whenever Fawlty said 'jump', Manuel would automatically reply 'how high'. The portrayal of the character Manuel was emasculating, patronising and condescending. Of course, whilst Basil Fawlty is married, the audience is left with no doubt that Manuel is single. He portrays very effectively the short man unworthy of respect, relationships and authority. Additionally there is a level of physical abuse which Manuel accepts as par for the course in his station in life.