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Recap / Fawlty Towers S2E3 "Waldorf Salad"

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Basil is not altogether keen on a loud and demanding American guest who demands a higher class of service – and food – than Fawlty Towers is accustomed to providing. Basil soon learns the American guest will not tolerate any shenanigans.

Tropes appearing in this episode:

  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: As Mr. Hamilton chews out Basil Fawlty on how poorly-run his hotel is, Major Gowen seems to spring to his defense:
    Mr. Hamilton: What I'm suggesting is that this place is the crummiest, shoddiest, worst-run hotel in the whole of Western Europe!
    Major: NO! No, I won't have that! There's a place in Eastbourne...
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  • Blatant Lies: Basil tries to charm the attractive lady at the desk while pointing out the obnoxious American tourist as typical of the "rubbish" they usually get. When the lady introduces the American as her husband, Basil acts like he was talking about a random piece of paper on his desk the whole time.
  • Busman's Holiday: The episode ends with Basil booking into his own hotel.
  • Eagle Land: Although he does turn out to be the hero of the tale who puts Basil in his place, Mr. Hamilton is still one of the biggest American stereotypes you'll ever see. Then again, almost everyone on the show is some kind of national stereotype.
  • Get Out!: When the guests have tried his patience one time too many, Basil orders them all, not just the especially demanding visiting American family, to leave:
    Basil: I've had fifteen years of pandering to the likes of you, and I've had enough! I've had it! Come on, pack your bags and get out!
    Mrs. Hamilton: They're packed!
    Mr. Hamilton: Order ten taxis, will ya? I'll pay for 'em!
    Basil: Come on! Come on!
    Guests: What? What?
    Basil: Out! Everybody out! Go on upstairs, pack your bags! Adios! Out!
    Mr. Johnston: But it's raining!
    Basil: Well, you should've thought of that before, shouldn't you? Too late now! Come on, out! Rause! Rause! RAUSE!
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  • Godwin's Law: This trope is older than the Internet: "You ponce in here expecting to be hand-waited on hand and foot, well I'm trying to run a hotel here! Have you any idea of how much there is to do?! Do you ever think of that?! No, of course not: you're too busy sticking your noses into every corner, poking about for things to complain about! Well, let me tell you something: this is EXACTLY how Nazi Germany started!"
  • Heroic BSoD: When Basil actually gets angry enough to scream "ASS!" instead of 'arse', you know he's finally snapped.
    • Except that he does say arse earlier, though he doesn't scream it.
  • Honor Before Reason: Basil has just convinced Terry to stay on to cook for the Hamiltons, but when he finds out that Terry isn't missing a karate lesson, but only a date with his girlfriend, he decides to cook the meal himself and tells Terry to go. Had he just swallowed his pride (and his prudishness) and kept the chef on, the evening probably would have gone a lot better.
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  • Jerkass Has a Point: Mr. Hamilton is loud, curses a lot, and is very demanding. But because he's loud and demanding, he actually stands up to Basil's poor service and treatment, and inspires the other (British) guests to do so (they were shown at the beginning of the episode being dissatisfied, but didn't want to complain because they didn't want to be seen as rude). In the 2009 commentary on the DVD, John Cleese said that he agreed with Mr. Hamilton, and that sometimes you have to complain before things can get better.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Basil gives one to all of his guests, especially the Hamiltons, when they push him too far with their demands and he orders them to leave:
    Basil: This is typical. Absolutely typical... of the kind of... (turns sharply to the guests) ARSE I HAVE TO PUT UP WITH FROM YOU PEOPLE! You ponce in here expecting to be hand... waited on hand and foot, while I'm trying to run a hotel here! Have you any idea of how much there is to do?! Do you ever think of that?! Of course not! You're all too busy sticking your noses into every corner, poking about for things to complain about, aren't you? Well, let me tell you something — this is exactly how Nazi Germany started! A lot of layabouts with nothing better to do than to cause trouble! Well, I've had fifteen years of pandering to the likes of you, and I've had enough! I've had it! Come on, pack your bags and get out!

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