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What can we learn from the famous sitcom sofas from 'The Simpsons', 'Father Ted' and 'Only Fools and Horses'?

We got a furniture maker to analyse comedy couches

What can we learn from the famous sitcom sofas from 'The Simpsons', 'Father Ted' and 'Only Fools and Horses'?
04 September 2018

1. Seinfeld

“I thought this was quite classically American. Very comfortable-looking; definitely for a couch potato to sit on and watch Friday night football, drink cans of beer and not move an awful lot. A very bachelor-pad sort of sofa. It’s actually a cheap dilution of a Le Corbusier sofa; he was a Swiss-French modernist architect who also designed furniture. I would say it’s definitely a conscious take-off. The sofa itself is called the LC2. In the UK you’d probably be looking at something like £1,189.”

2. The Vicar of Dibley

“It is Chesterfield style. That doesn’t really date, although the yellow misted fabric might be a little bit yesteryear. It fits in with the rest of the room. The house probably never gets updated. It’s grown old and still looks quite comfortable and inviting. It’s definitely a very middle-class sofa. The reason I say that is because people can buy one like this and keep it for 50 years, so they’re not changing their furniture all the time. It’s very good value for money. It’s the intelligent choice.”

3. The Royle Family

“It’s very difficult to be polite about this sofa. I think there’s a real lack of interest in style and design. They’ve definitely gone back to 1955 to get this sofa sourced. It was probably quite fashionable throughout the Sixties and early Seventies. It’s that whole period of fawn shades. The fabric’s what we could call Dralon. What does it say about its owners? Slobbish and uninterested. I think they don’t want visitors to come. They just want somewhere to sit.”

4. Father Ted

“It’s what they inherit as a sofa as opposed to what they choose as a sofa. It’s not important to them. It’s very upright; probably quite good for your posture. You’re not going to get too comfortable. It’s never been adventurous – it’s just a beige, strait-laced sofa. Then obviously they’ve got the big throw with Jesus’s face on it, which livens things up a little bit. It’s like something from an old people’s home in its style. It was probably donated to them from a charity.”

5. The Simpsons

“I like this sofa. I think it’s quite a stylish one but they happened upon it by accident. It’s got a very Thirties Art Deco influence. It even looks as though it could be leather. If you have a look at the Poltrona Frau Vanity Fair sofa, you’ll see the style is really similar. It’s an iconic style. I think somebody was getting rid of it and Homer saw an opportunity. It may even have been left out for the garbage men. I definitely think it’s an accidental acquisition.”

6. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

“It’s a slightly extravagant show of comfort. They live in their Bel-Air mansion; Phil’s a judge; they’re very successful; they want to sit down and feel as though they’re sinking into a cloud of cushions. It’s large and rounded; lots of scatter cushions. The cushions that come with sofa are all exactly the same colour. There’s no real personality: no colour, no pattern, no print. It would look out of place in all but the most specific of houses.”

7. Only Fools and Horses

“It is a classic Chinese design. The way the arm curves a little bit like the top of a banana is a common style in Chinese factories. I think at the time it was probably quite a modern show of ostentation. I would say that they are fairly down-at-heel financially but don’t want the outside world to think that. And they’ll be very proud of their sofa. I think we’re definitely talking something like a £299 warehouse-type piece of furniture.”

Head to Chesterfields of London if you like lovely sofas.

(Illustrations: Guy Shield)