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Recap / Fawlty Towers S1E4 "The Hotel Inspectors"

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When Basil hears of hotel inspectors roaming Torquay incognito, he realizes with horror that guests he has been abusing easily could be among them. Basil becomes increasingly obsessed with trying to determine which guests are the inspectors, but to his frustration his suspects turn out not to be.

Tropes that appear in this episode:

  • The Comically Serious: Mr. Hutchinson. Even more so is Mr.Walt, who is baffled when Basil tearfully pleads for him to give the hotel a good review.
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  • Double Take: Basil does one when he places two previously ordered drinks on a table, only to find that (thanks to Manuel) a completely different guest is sitting there.
  • Funny Background Event: One man continually gets the wrong meal, including the same Spanish omlette twice. When Basil takes it away, he crumples it up and slips it onto the Major's table, who then proceeds to eat it in the background while an argument goes on in the foreground.
  • Hypocritical Humour: After violently attacking Mr. Fawlty, Mr. Hutchinson says "I am not a violent man Mr. Fawlty."
    Basil: (on the floor) Yes, you are!
  • Mistaken for Special Guest: Played With, as several characters in turn are possible candidates for the hotel inspector, and are disproven at various times, until the real ones arrive right at the very end, at the worst possible time, leading to possibly one of the best closing moments of any sitcom episode.
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  • Revenge Before Reason: You would think that Basil would have learned his lesson about getting back at Hutchinson for (inadvertently) making Basil think he was an inspector when he tries it in front of Walt, and then gets the idea that Walt is an inspector. But no, when he learns that Walt isn't an inspector either, he gives Hutchinson a custard pie in the face, another on his suit and a jug of cream in his briefcase. He does this in full view of the real inspectors.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Mr. Hutchinson:
    Mr. Hutchinson: There is a documentary on BBC2 this evening about Squawking Bird, the leader of the Blackfoot Indians in the 1860s, now this starts at 8:45 and goes on for approximately three-quarters of an hour-
    Basil Fawlty: I'm sorry, are you talking to me?
    Mr. Hutchinson: Indeed I am, yes, now, is it possible for me to reserve the BBC2 channel for the duration of this televisual feast?
    Basil Fawlty: Why don't you talk properly?
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