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YMMV / Are You Being Served?

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  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: In the 1978 special "Happy Returns." The store is celebrating Mr. Grace's birthday; the staff have rehearsed an extended musical number to perform as entertainment. At the last minute, they have to perform something else, so they break into an impromptu version of "Steppin' Out". Okay. Suddenly, Mr. Grace appears, holding a puppet body under his neck, singing a song about "bread and drippin'" which contains only a couple of intelligible words in it. This weird little ditty doesn't fit with the other music at all, and turns Mr. Grace from guest of honor to entertainment with no explanation. Then, the staff segue into "Happy Birthday to You" as if nothing had happened. The actor who played him was quite literally on his last legs, but wanted one more scene to say goodbye. This was that scene, with him wheelchair-bound and barely able to speak. He died shortly after filming. Moment of Awesome if you ask this troper.
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  • Cargo Ship: Mr. Mash's somewhat disturbing attitude towards the female mannequins.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: "Shoulder to Shoulder" has a scene where decorators who explicitly resemble contemporary BBC celebrities sexually harass any Grace Brothers employee that horns in on their territory... including one decorator who isn't above doing it to Captain Peacock, of all people. Even after the Savile and Weinstein scandals, the chagrined reactions of the victims send it back over the line again from Too Soon to Actually Pretty Funny.
  • First Installment Wins:
    • Not counting Mr. Humphries, who implicitly fills the role in the final two seasons, Mr. Grainger is unanimously considered the best of the Senior Salesmen.
    • While not held in as high regard as Mr. Grainger, Mr. Tebbs has had better reception from the show's fanbase than the other replacement Senior Salesmen.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Although the show was popular enough in Britain, it is well known as one of the most unexpectedly successful transatlantic transplants, being very popular in the US thanks to years of reruns on PBS.
    • And in the State of New South Wales in Australia (The ONLY state!) because until quite recently, the biggest department store retailer in that state was called, you guessed it, Grace Brothers.
    • The Sequel series, Grace & Favour was shortlived in the UK, but it was much better received in North America with it being retitled, Are You Being Served? Again!.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Captain Peacock has the same backstory (pompous military veteran who makes much of his war experiences, which turn out to be largely made up) as Foggy Dewhirst from Last of the Summer Wine; Captain Peacock's actor Frank Thornton would go on to play Truly, a Suspiciously Similar Substitute to Foggy.
  • Ho Yay: Mr Lucas and Mr Humphries have some, such as Mr Lucas pinching Mr Humphries on the bottom, or the two being each other's date for a formal dinner.
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  • Memetic Bystander: The lift girls and sales assistants were nearly always present. Many were also professional dancers, so they were able to take part in some of the dance sequences. Two of the Long-Runners were Belinda Lee (lift girl) and Sue Bishop (sales assistant), who both got speaking parts in the episode "Anything You Can Do."
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: According to some accounts, Trevor Bannister, for whom the show was intended as a vehicle, eventually left the show because he felt he was overshadowed by the other actors' and their pantomime/music hall performances.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Virtually every replacement for a main character. Mr. Grainger's four replacements (with Mr. Tebbs being better-received than the other three in no small part due to his role in "Do You Take This Man", widely considered one of the best parts of Series 6), Mr. Spooner replacing Mr. Lucas, and Old Mr. Grace replacing Young Mr. Grace. It could be argued the only exception was Mr. Harman replacing Mr. Mash.
  • Uncanny Valley: Every now and then, Grace Brothers will get some kind of mechanised dummy as a marketing gimmick; inevitably, the dummy is quite creepy and falls squarely into the valley.
  • Values Dissonance: In 'The Punch and Judy Affair', all the men protest when Mrs. Slocombe wants to play the policeman, finding the idea completely outrageous. Women were not integrated into the main British Metropolitan Police Service until 1973, which is just before the show started running.
    • While not considered that out of the ordinary during the '70s, the number of casual jokes regarding molestation, sexual harassment, and rape in earlier seasons would get side-eyed hard nowadays, if not considered downright offensive, particularly regarding the repeated accusations of Captain Peacock harassing Miss Brahms, throwing their power imbalance into the equation. It's probably telling of how societal views changed even during the show's run as those kinds of jokes were phased out near the end of Mr. Lucas' run and Captain Peacock changed from a Memetic Molester to simply an amorous guy who gravitated toward pretty young girls but didn't get beyond (usually failed) attempts to chat them up.

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