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Recap / Fawlty Towers S2E5 "The Anniversary"

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Basil invites some friends over for a surprise party to mark his and Sybil's wedding anniversary. Sybil has been assuming he has forgotten, and Basil does nothing to dissuade her. She storms off, leaving Basil and Polly, in disguise as Sybil, desperately telling the others she is "ill." Meanwhile, Manuel and Terry bitterly quarrel over who will make the seafood paella Basil had permitted Manuel to cook for the occasion.

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Tropes appearing in this episode:

  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Sybil is shown crying when she thinks Basil has forgotten their wedding anniversary again (and actually he hasn't). Moreover, Basil was actually planning something nice for her, arranging for all their friends to come round for a surprise party. If only she'd waited just another few minutes...
    • Also in the same episode, when Sybil left Basil thinking he forget their anniversary he was quite upset.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Basil threatens Polly with "I'll ruin you! You'll never waitress in Torquay again!"
  • Forgotten Anniversary: Basil plans a surprise anniversary party for Sybil (possibly the only nice thing he does for her over the whole show), but pretends that he's forgotten it to torture her a bit. She angrily storms off, leaving him to try and maintain a facade of normality in front of the party guests.
  • The Gadfly: Roger, who figures out Basil and Sybil have had a row early on and spends his time trolling Basil to see how he tries to dig himself out.
  • Series Continuity Error: Basil announces he's off to find a broom. He then runs right past a door "The Psychiatrist" revealed leads to the broom closet, instead preferring to head for the stairs to the first floor.
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  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Basil struggling to get his story straight.
    Basil: "She only began to puff up about an hour ago."
    Virginia: "But you said the doctor came first thing this morning."
    Basil: "Yes, that's right. That was for the throat. The puffing up started after he'd gone, okay?"
    Virginia: "After?"
    Basil: "Yes, after. Are you taking notes? (Virginia makes to leave) Where are you going?"
    Virginia: "I'm going to see her. There is something very peculiar about all this. I won't stand here while an old friend like Sybil..."
    Basil: "Look, it's perfectly Sybil - simple's not well. She lost her throat and her voice hurt. The doctor came and said it was a bit serious. Not a lot - a bit. He went away, she started to puff up, he's coming back later this afternoon, and it's best for her to be on her own. Now what is so peculiar about that?"
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