"Bernard [Black, the owner] wakes up from a night on the booze to discover he's accidentally given Manny a job at the bookshop, and spends the day trying to get rid of him. Manny assists in this by proving to be a charming, sociable and extremely competent employee, apparently unaware that it's 'not that kind of operation'."
On big boxes
"Manny is working next door at the extremely glossy Goliath Books, where he is decidedly out of place amongst creepy manager Evan and his army of hyper-efficient pastel-shirted followers..."
"Bernard and Manny, inspired by their latest children's books event, decide to write and illustrate a book for children. Bernard's first effort comes to over 1,000 pages, covers Stalin, a lens grinder, a broken marriage and a journalist in search of the truth and is possibly a little complex for kids. The subsequent [collaborative] masterpiece The Elephant and the Balloon could however lead them to international fame — and all the problems that come with it."
On literary celebrities and small business woes
"Manny organises a book launch party at the shop with charismatic-but-smug travel writer Jason, and everyone starts falling for him and his stories of far-away adventure. Bernard, however, has other problems — following the death of his landlord, his building is now owned by a small cat to whom he must pay rent ... he attempts to persuade an animal-loving pest exterminator to turn kitty hitman. His attempts fail and cause the exterminator to commit suicide."
The series has inspired a lot of people, like this blogger:
I just finished up the entire Black Books series and would like to dedicate this post to Bernard Ludwig Black. He is my everything. I would love nothing more than to spend the rest of my life guzzling bottles of cheap red wine, smoking multiple packs of cigarettes per day and being misanthropic with this beautiful man. I refuse to settle for anything less.Misanthropy and bookselling: perfect together!
As the title suggests, the humor is as black as farce will permit. Worth watching if only for the amount of smoking, drinking and books packed into each episode.
Synopses courtesy of Wiki.
p.s. I often forget there is such a thing as YouTube. Here's a scene where Bernard Black, as author, plays out a scenario so often described by Ted Savas.