The series of comedy shorts, first televised in 1993, that make up the phenomenon that is Bargearse derive their success from two basic comedy favourites - overdubbing and the fart gag.
Overdubbing is a very simple route to a giggle which involves taking images from a film or a TV series - and replacing the original words and plotlines with something far more humorous. Generally the principle works best when the original source material was meant to be serious - especially when even the serious version was hard to take seriously. Notable examples of overdubbing to humorous effect are Woody Allen's What's Up, Tiger Lily?, Doug Miles's Don't Ask Don't Tell and just about every Oriental Martial Arts exported to the West, (unintentional humour, but funny nonetheless).
The fart gag engages the baser instincts of humanity by playing on the slightly uncomfortable and embarrassed laughter that results from unintentional rasps of stomach gas. The 19th Century Frenchman Joseph Pujol, under the pseudonym Le Petomane1, made himself a very successful career out of releasing gas from his anus to order, a career that peaked with highly paid performances at the famous Moulin Rouge.
Bargearse aims to provide puerile and base entertainment, without any recourse to reasonable restraint or being politically correct. In a nutshell it's a fat policeman who loves eating and has no qualms about farting in company. Period.
Simplicity aside, it is a stony temperament indeed that will not at least crack a smile at the antics of this overweight upholder of the law.
The Many Moods of Bargearse
Bargearse started life as the 1976 Crawfords produced police series Bluey. The Australian police drama starred some-time stand-up comedian and all-round funny man, Lucky Grills, and ran for 39 episodes. Some 17 years later, it was re-discovered by Australian comedy writing team The D-Generation, who used it as the basis for a series of shorts on The Late Show.
They reworked the storylines and overdubbed the original with stupefying scant regard to anything except for the fart jokes, and what came out was comedy gold.
The D-Generation team behind Bargearse are made up of Santo Cilauro, Tony Martin and Mick Molloy, with the assistance of Tom Gleisner, Jane Kennedy, Judith Lucy, Rob Sitch and Jason Stephens - primarily in providing the various overdubbed voices.
The Main Cast
The casting situation is somewhat complicated to record. Bluey obviously had its own cast list, while the D-Generation added their own spoof cast list at the start of the sketches, and themselves were part of the true cast in re-voicing the characters.
Senior Sergeant Bargearse - Lucky Grills (Actor), Tony Martin (Voice), Tubbs Farquhar (Spoof Actor)
Detective Glen Twenty - John Diedrich (Actor), Rob Sitch (Voice), Stuart Tenquist (Spoof Actor)
Sergeant Ann Bourke - Gerda Nicolson (Actor), Judith Lucy (Voice), Anne Burke (Spoof Actor)
Natalie Thigh-Blaster - Jane Kennedy (Voice), Fifi Chanel (Spoof Actor)
Chromedome - Mick Molloy (Voice)
Poloneck, Tiny and Barry White - Santo Cilauro (Voice)
The titles of the episodes below are based upon the storyline, rather than a true designation, as the titles of the episodes aren't absolutely clear.
'Pizza Hijack' - Bargearse's pizza delivery is hijacked by Christopher Skase2.
'Bargearse's Donuts' - Detective Twenty is accused of stealing Bargearse's donuts.
'A Sh*tload of Dim-Sims' - ('...with a bucket of soy sauce.') Bargearse considers trying Chinese food but is forced to eat a race horse instead.
'McChockas' - An early morning visit to a fast food drive-through leads to an amorous encounter.
'Bargearse Sings' - Bargearse spends some quality time with his piano and a figure-hugging blue bathrobe.
'Bargearse in a Coma' - A spot of jogging and wearing inappropriate attire leaves Bargearse in a coma.
'Brown Velour3' - Bargearse cracks a brown velour smuggling ring.
'Casual Squad' - Bargearse and Detective Twenty face a crackdown on their sloppy adherence to dress code.
'The Big Finish' - Bargearse literally goes out with a bang when ABC end the show due to complaints about the number of fart gags.
Along with charming and idyllic scenes of roaring open fires and the rolling countryside, we are offered the gravely oral harmonies of the 'Many Moods of Bargearse' - including 'Something in the Air', 'Wind Beneath My Wings', 'I Hear Motion', 'Baked Beans', 'Backdoor Man', 'Love is in the Air', 'Summer Breeze', 'Take the Pressure Down', 'Smells Like Teen Spirit', and many more.
While staking out a warehouse, filled with enough brown velour to see us into the late 1970s, Twenty comments on sinister music that starts suddenly. Bargearse replies, 'Unless I'm very much mistaken that sounds like the "Crim-abseiling-down-from-a-skylight" theme...'
Recovering from a coma, but not short on cheeky innuendo or wind, Bargearse flings open his bed covers following a fart and invites Sergeant Bourke or the attending nurse to join him in a 'Dutch Oven'.
Bargearse recounts his recurring night time fantasy, in a dream sequence, of being pelted with giant, chocolate-coated doughnuts while driving along the road, before colliding headlong with an enormous Pollywaffle4.
Following up on a lead, Twenty visits the Cabana Motel and is booked into Room 7 - otherwise known as the Headache Suite. He muses over the possible reasons for the rooms name, finally opening the door - and then is struck over the back of the head with a chair.
After a lengthy chase scene, that looks as if it might potentially induce a heart attack in the lead, Bargearse captures pizza-stealing Skase with the old 'out-of-focus fence trick' - namely, the camera is initially focussed through the fence at the two characters running toward it, so you can't see the mesh, but then switches focus leaving Skase with no place to run.