mark s (after watching in silence for a time): do you find this funny?
mum s (for it is she, back home and a lot better hurrah!): not really
*long pause w.canned laughter*
mark s: did you ever?
mum s: no
*long pause w.canned laughter*
mark s: it is the longest-running comedy in british tv history
mum s: i quite like the theme tune
mark s: do you often watch it?
mum s: very occasionally
mark s: WHY?
mum s: i keep thinking if it’s been on this many years it MUST be funny
mark s: i have a theory
mum s (knows best response to this ie discouraging silence): _________
mark s: most good comedy series go into declines after about three series – this one started SO UNFUNNY that it has never been able to get worse, hence people carry on watching it feeling it has stayed true to itself
mum s: the countryside is nice [ps this will possibly be a theme to WATCH WITH MOTHER]
mark s: i don’t really even understand what it is in any of these lines that someone THINKS is funny – maybe they don’t either – maybe no one ever laughed in the studio either and the canned laughter is all stripped in from some old morecambe and wise shows
mum s: it’s all very strange

ok disclaimer: i DID ACTUALLY LAUGH at one line, when mum wz out of the room. This particular series (from 2002, was it the last?) features the now amazingly venerable actor who played Blakey in On the Buses *looks up name* Stephen Lewis, playing a minor character called “Smiler”. Anyway some old man says to some old woman (who runs a clothes shop), “Can you make him look more attractive?”, and she replies, “Well, at least it’ll be easier than trying to take him in the other direction.” This is a bizarrely clumsy way of delivering this joke, but even so it is fairly funny.