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July 5, 2012 8:25 AM   Subscribe

The unaired pilot for the US version of The IT Crowd (SLYT)
posted by fearfulsymmetry (164 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ohhhh I hope this stays up until I get home tonight
posted by notmydesk at 8:32 AM on July 5, 2012


Produced by the same team who are running Season 4 of Community.
posted by jeffkramer at 8:32 AM on July 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh sweet jesus. The German version just suffered from miscasting and shoddy camera direction- this is going to be worse than gonorrhea.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:32 AM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I mean why, WHY would Americans need a special American version in American English just so they can enjoy the show? Do they not understand British English? What sort of cretinous morlock would one need to be to require a special American version?
posted by dunkadunc at 8:35 AM on July 5, 2012 [29 favorites]


I'd been wondering if this is any good. It at the very least had a good cast going for it with Richard Ayoade playing Moss again. And Jessica St. Clair and Joel McHale, it really comes down to how well it was executed with writing and direction.
posted by inturnaround at 8:35 AM on July 5, 2012


I mean why, WHY would Americans need a special American version in American English just so they can enjoy the show? Do they not understand British English? What sort of cretinous morlock would one need to be to require a special American version?

TV network executives. Fucking duh.
posted by Talez at 8:35 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's fucking Alan Johnson!
posted by Think_Long at 8:36 AM on July 5, 2012


Or should I say, duh-doy!
posted by Talez at 8:36 AM on July 5, 2012


What sort of cretinous morlock would one need to be to require a special American version?

Well, with the American Office you get more than 6 episodes at a time so you can explore more of the world. It becomes less of a pure idea, though, and more of a universe where these interesting people inhabit and what they do.

Plus with more episodes, you can make more money. Show business is a busines, you know.
posted by inturnaround at 8:37 AM on July 5, 2012


When will they ever learn that slightly-camp British comedies never translate? Better to just air the original version.
posted by smirkette at 8:37 AM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


This would be better if, instead of just keeping Richard Ayoade, they had kept all of the original actors. And the original writers. And producers. And then if they showed it in Britain and called it Season Five (Series Five?).
posted by specialagentwebb at 8:37 AM on July 5, 2012 [28 favorites]


I did like Joel McHale deodorizing his tongue. Other than that, it's very strange. Poor Jessica St. Clair—she's just no match for Katherine Parkinson. Or was it that the same lines didn't work with a different accent and different corporate culture?
posted by infinitewindow at 8:38 AM on July 5, 2012


dunkadunc: Look how well the US Office did. Why not try to repeat that and get some talented people a decade worth of work if you can?
posted by ODiV at 8:38 AM on July 5, 2012


Ah, am I the only person in the room that enjoyed the American version of The Office as well as the original IT Crowd and think this could be awesome if done right?

That said, for some reason I hated the original The Office... go figure. And don't even get me started on how much I like the old-school Are You Being Served.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:39 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lacking Chris O'Dowd's Personal Catnip Accent so, FAIL.
posted by The Whelk at 8:39 AM on July 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Do they not understand British English?

American's understand British English. What they understand about it is that villians speak it. (Or lovable cockney do-gooders.)
posted by DU at 8:39 AM on July 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


inturnaround: "Well, with the American Office you get more than 6 episodes at a time so you can explore more of the world. It becomes less of a pure idea, though, and more of a universe where these interesting people inhabit and what they do. "

Conversely, I think the British 6-episodes-a-season, four-seasons-max method means that the canon doesn't get overcrowded and shows don't jump the shark. I think American shows run on forever because they don't want to take the risk to develop new shows.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:39 AM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


The U.S. version of The Office, love it or hate it, was at least a very different show almost from the beginning. They didn't change anything for this IT Crowd pilot, and it's way less funny without the original UK cast (Ayode excluded). It was correct not to air this pilot. It was incorrect to have filmed it in the first place. I really like Joel McHale, but this is gutter tripe.
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:40 AM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I mean why, WHY would Americans need a special American version in American English just so they can enjoy the show? Do they not understand British English? What sort of cretinous morlock would one need to be to require a special American version?

One, it's hard to understand people who don't speak in the exact same dialect that I do. America is the best, people should speak American for my convenience. Two, foreigners are largely communists, so if someone is obviously foreign I'm never sure if it's okay to laugh-- what if my spouse thought I was endorsing Communism? Three, those British sitcoms are mostly just poop jokes with fruity accents, but they occasionally slip in something a bit more clever and I'm not watching TV to think!
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:41 AM on July 5, 2012 [9 favorites]


I watched this a while ago. Despite being exactly the same as the English pilot, it was painful to watch. Thank god it didn't get picked up so Joel McHale went on to play Jeff Winger.
posted by dortmunder at 8:41 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Poor Jessica St. Clair indeed. She's so funny, but it seems her shows never last. Best Friends Forever had promise, dammit!

Oh well. Here's hoping Womp Up The Jamz Dot Com takes off.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:41 AM on July 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


I notice the set dressing isn't political like Graham Linehan's was, it's just generic "this is what geeks like, right?". Fail again.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:41 AM on July 5, 2012


I don't think that's Alan Johnson.
posted by steinsaltz at 8:42 AM on July 5, 2012


Oh god, this is going to be bad isn't it?
posted by Artw at 8:43 AM on July 5, 2012


Also, you can't depend on the British TV industry, because they'll often just make 12 or 15 episodes of something successful and stop. How can you drain every drop of commercial nectar and leave the dessicated husk of a good idea that way? So I guess it's like I said before-- they're communists.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:43 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm totally thumbs-downing this US Pilot on Friendface
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:44 AM on July 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


NEEDS MORE LAUGHTRACK
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 8:44 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


The U.S. version of The Office, love it or hate it, was at least a very different show almost from the beginning.

Really? Because Season 1 was just a shot-for-shot remake with a US locale and cast dropped in and that almost killed it for me forever.

The US version of The Office really starts from Season 2 when they ran out of episodes to plagarize.
posted by Talez at 8:45 AM on July 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Side-by-side comparison, in case you need extra brain breakage.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 8:46 AM on July 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


I thought it was only the pilot of the US Office that was super derivative. Almost a shot-for-shot remake. I remember it branched off pretty quickly after that. But then again I haven't watched early eps of either version in a very long time.
posted by kmz at 8:46 AM on July 5, 2012


Moss is fantastic and everything, but he doesn't really read well as an American version of an awkward computer chud.
posted by SharkParty at 8:47 AM on July 5, 2012




A side-by-side comparison.

It looks like Americans just make terrible TV. "Sorry, that sigh was too low-key. We need MORE OVERACTING!"
posted by DU at 8:51 AM on July 5, 2012


What sort of cretinous morlock would one need to be to require a special American version?

British TV has almost never run on commercial network prime time TV in the US. You have to watch public TV or cable to get any non-US shows.
posted by octothorpe at 8:52 AM on July 5, 2012


American remakes feel a bit like fan-fiction, honestly.

"Oooh, and then they could finally get together!"
posted by ODiV at 8:53 AM on July 5, 2012 [9 favorites]


Wow, I've never disliked Joel McHale before.
posted by oinopaponton at 8:54 AM on July 5, 2012


I'm 4 minutes in and it's not as hateful as I thought but it isn't actually American in any way. I haven't memorized the first episode but it seems like they used the first script verbatim.

They could have eased up on the laugh track though. Yeesh.
posted by chairface at 8:55 AM on July 5, 2012


Wow, this is on par with the US version of Red Dwarf.
posted by krunk at 8:55 AM on July 5, 2012


Wow, the first scene is like the acting in a porn film before the naked starts.
posted by jaduncan at 8:55 AM on July 5, 2012 [10 favorites]


This was not bad but it was overall less edgy ( no Chris Morris) / surreal and Joel McHale was miscast
posted by Bwithh at 8:56 AM on July 5, 2012


the US version of Red Dwarf

Wait that happened? *shiver*
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:58 AM on July 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Was not expecting Richard Ayoade, so when they cut to Moss I wondered for a second if they just spliced existing Moss footage in and called it a day.

Also, you would never have something as good as this scene if you tried to find an American version of Matt Berry. It just wouldn't happen.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:00 AM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


The should've got Paul Mooney for the boss.
posted by PJLandis at 9:01 AM on July 5, 2012


Graham Linehan was recently on Richard Herring's excellent Leicester Square Podcast and this pilot came up in discussion. In his opinion the problem with the US version was that they made it identical whereas they should have Americanised it.

Having said that, I think trying to remake comedy for transatlantic audiences is largely a waste of time. Discerning people on both sides will 'get' the comedy anyway, and appreciate the different cultural setting. We in Europe could never make a Seinfeld or a Simpsons, and the US could never make Father Ted, Black Books or whatever else. AND THAT'S FINE.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 9:01 AM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]




ug. They got the sexism right, but forgot the charm.
posted by rebent at 9:03 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I'm sorry for your loss. Move on."
posted by ODiV at 9:03 AM on July 5, 2012


Oh, holy crap, I'm only 5 minutes in and wondering if I can handle the pain...

The man who invented the laugh track needs to be killed.

Everyone who's not Moss needs to be introduced to comedy timing...
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 9:05 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know what it is exactly, but Jen's hair is really American, too.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:07 AM on July 5, 2012


The other thing Linehan mentioned was that they were essentially copying his mistakes as well as the things that he'd got right. If they were going to make a rip-off pilot, how much harder would it have been to watch the whole series and snaffle all the really good ideas? Too much harder, apparently, much too much harder.
posted by howfar at 9:07 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


("Looking american" is not a compliment, btw.)
posted by dunkadunc at 9:08 AM on July 5, 2012


The man who invented the laugh track needs to be killed.

Don't say that to Graham Linehan. Actually do, as his rage at people complaining about laugh tracks is always a thing of wonder.
posted by howfar at 9:09 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


WHY would Americans need a special American version in American English just so they can enjoy the show?

Well since we're talking about The Office, for one thing US network TV can't have an entire episode of a sitcom involving a giant inflatable cock.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:09 AM on July 5, 2012


Truly eponysterical
posted by bbuda at 9:11 AM on July 5, 2012


I love the British IT Crowd, but this one feels strongest when it diverges from the original script. When they're doing the same lines, it kind of falls into the uncanny valley.
posted by Katrel at 9:12 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Then there was the day the laugh stylist suffered a fatal heart attack in the sound booth just at the beginning of the edit his body convulsed once and then flopped forward onto the control board and the weight of his lifeless head held down the "med indoor laughter 07 mixed gender" button continuously through the episode and closing titles

It was the biggest hit the network had had in years
posted by ook at 9:13 AM on July 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


FWIW, amazingly the UK IT Crowd does not have a laugh track, it's filmed before a live audience. Granted, that live audience laughs with all of the soul of a canned laugh track, but it is a live audience.
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:13 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Three million year!?





My baseball cards must be worth a FORTUNE!
 
posted by Herodios at 9:13 AM on July 5, 2012


Man, it's weird seeing this before ever watching Community and then watching it after devouring all of Community. Joel McHale just struck me as pure cardboard the first time I ever saw this, but now all I can see is Winger in the wrong job.
posted by Shepherd at 9:14 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Having said that, I think trying to remake comedy for transatlantic audiences is largely a waste of time.

Then you better say goodbye to All in the Family, Three's Company, and Sanford and Son.
posted by kmz at 9:15 AM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


No.
posted by maryr at 9:16 AM on July 5, 2012


When they say "filmed in front of a live audience", does that really mean that each scene is actually shot with a real audience watching it (which might be seeing things out of order, etc), or do they edit it together without a laughtrack, then show the completed episode to an audience whose laughter is then recorded?
posted by dunkadunc at 9:17 AM on July 5, 2012


Does anyone else notice Ayode fading in and out of a terrible American accent in this?
posted by schmod at 9:17 AM on July 5, 2012


I mean why, WHY would Americans need a special American version in American English just so they can enjoy the show?

Because hit shows make money.

Do they not understand British English? What sort of cretinous morlock would one need to be to require a special American version?

Because fries are chips and chips are crisps and I ordered a lemonade, not a Mellow Yellow, dammit. Also, UK dialogue seems to be delivered a lot faster. Add in an accent, and it can be hard to follow.
I watch and enjoy a lot of UK programs, but there's more than one reason why I gave Geordie Shore a pass.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:19 AM on July 5, 2012


well, how would you translate it? The closest thing US comedy has to British Camp is Screwball (possibly cause they come from the same music hall tradition). So maybe shooting it and staging it more 30 Rock-y would go a while into USizing it.
posted by The Whelk at 9:19 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


This was horrible. I made it to about the 11 minute mark.

I am a big fan of both the guys in this show, just not IN THIS show.
posted by pistolswing at 9:20 AM on July 5, 2012


When they say "filmed in front of a live audience", does that really mean that each scene is actually shot with a real audience watching it (which might be seeing things out of order, etc), or do they edit it together without a laughtrack, then show the completed episode to an audience whose laughter is then recorded?

Filmed in front of a live audience means just that, the scenes are shot with a live audience who's reactions are recorded - a lot of people who work with this set up say having the audience there helps them tweak jokes to get bigger reactions so yes they're seeing things multiple times, possibly out of order, etc.
posted by The Whelk at 9:21 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whoops, forgot link to UK to US adaptations. God bless you, Man About The House.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:21 AM on July 5, 2012


I'm sorry, that was just my immediate, visceral response to read the headline.

Having now watching about three minutes of this... NO.
posted by maryr at 9:22 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


When they say "filmed in front of a live audience", does that really mean that each scene is actually shot with a real audience watching it (which might be seeing things out of order, etc), or do they edit it together without a laughtrack, then show the completed episode to an audience whose laughter is then recorded?

I believe for most show it's the former, but some shows (like How I Met Your Mother) use the latter, if only because of the huge number of cut-aways, flash-forwards, flashbacks, etc.
posted by kmz at 9:22 AM on July 5, 2012


Know what though? If we were judging the potential of the show solely by the pilot translation, The US Office would have failed as it is a shadow of the original. It's only when they veered off into their own thing that they excelled.
posted by inturnaround at 9:23 AM on July 5, 2012


Ugh. Ayaode was the reason I couldn't stomach the British version. Why do we need over-the top stereotypes every time we cast for a 'nerd' character? (Urkel, Screech, entire cast of Big Bang Theory, etc) Britcoms are usually better than that.
posted by rocket88 at 9:26 AM on July 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


As with the US Office pilot, going for a note-for-note remake of the British version was a poor choice. But having seen the US version of The Office develop into one of the better and most beloved sitcoms of recent memory (even if, admittedly, the past couple of seasons have been pretty awful), I can't help but wonder, assuming that had this been picked up the writers would have taken a similar path of branching off from the British original and given the show a unique POV of its own, how this would have developed over time.

They had good acting talent and the producers, for all of the hate they are receiving for taking over beloved Dan Harman's job, are the same folks who produced Happy Endings, another sitcom that started off pretty rocky but quickly evolved into one of the funniest shows on TV. Whether or not this was it, there is definitely a place on TV for a topical sitcom about life in the IT world.
posted by The Gooch at 9:28 AM on July 5, 2012


Last week, I watched the Showtime pilot for Shameless, being completely unaware that it was a British adaptation, and couldn't help but shake the feeling that the whole thing seemed absurdly British.

Later on, I watched the same episode from the original UK series, which was a bit uncanny given that it was line-for-line, shot-for-shot identical to the US adaptation (minus the Manchester accents, which admittedly would be very difficult for most American audiences to understand).

That said, we did get Better off Ted, which was an excellent US series that does a lot of the same (good) things that The IT Crowd did, but in a format that made more sense for the US. (Oh, how I wish that Better off Ted survived instead of The Office; The Office's style of humor always just felt way too mean-spirited for me.)
posted by schmod at 9:31 AM on July 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


Exact. Same. Script.
Exact. Same. Script.
*twitch*
Exact. Same. Script.
posted by pianoblack at 9:32 AM on July 5, 2012


I didn't realize they just re-used Moss for the American version. and although Joel McHale has some perfect delivery on The Soup, he felt weird here. Chris O'Dowd is doing American movies now, so that's cool with me.

where's the pilot for the americanized Mighty Boosh?
posted by ninjew at 9:32 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rocket I'm with you. I can think of lots of ways to improve on the tepid first season of IT Crowd, but it would probably end up looking like BBT or Community or both (either show is better than the IT Crowd in my estimation anyway) *ducks*


where's the pilot for the americanized Mighty Boosh?


Its called Tim And Eric and it totally came first. (though frankly I enjoy MB 100x more).
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:36 AM on July 5, 2012


Yesterday we were watching episodes from the original series. As much as I appreciate the purist revulsion of such copycat version, I still think it's a shame this couldn't be made to work. The original series is great, but not exactly perfect, e.g. the casting for the dumpy boss, Matt Berry, never really worked for me; too stilted and forced.

I could imagine an American version working, but the casting here (aside from Richard Ayoade and the boss) is terrible, and duplicating the set along with a (mostly) shot by shot recreation seems like a poor choice (as above, it has an uncanny valley feel to it, and everything except for Moss just seems really wrong).

Anyway, I'm wondering how often these copycat versions work? I'm having trouble thinking of successful examples outside of The Office and American Idol type shows.
posted by Davenhill at 9:39 AM on July 5, 2012


Man, that was weird. I got five minutes in and had to bail. My reaction is not so much that it was objectively terrible as that it was (a) not particularly good and (b) super weird. Like, I can't be any more objective about the first point there because how am I supposed to fairly appraise the quality of a pilot that is a shot-for-shot remake of a pilot I've already seen?

It's too strange. The part of my brain that is confused and dismayed by the intentional deja vu effect is yelling too loud for me to even hear the part of my brain that's in charge of making critical assessments of TV comedy pilots. And Moss turning out to be actually just Moss again is an extra whammy on the whole thing.

In a way its sort of awesome; I really like covers of songs and albums, so there's something inherently interesting about the idea of someone "covering" a TV show. But there's too much money and conservativism at play here for it to be very interesting as a creative exercise. This isn't a scrappy band playing a song they love, this is sessions musicians producing a soundalike record for a karaoke company. All the regurgitation but none of the charm.
posted by cortex at 9:40 AM on July 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


no no no. Tim and Eric is not a valid comparison. they aren't worthy of Old Gregg's boot.
posted by ninjew at 9:40 AM on July 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ayaode was the reason I couldn't stomach the British version. Why do we need over-the top stereotypes every time we cast for a 'nerd' character?
posted by rocket88 at 5:26 PM on July 5


Dude. An Afro with a side parting. Come ON.
posted by Decani at 9:40 AM on July 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


They had good acting talent and the producers, for all of the hate they are receiving for taking over beloved Dan Harman's job, are the same folks who produced Happy Endings, another sitcom that started off pretty rocky but quickly evolved into one of the funniest shows on TV.

People keep linking Guarascio and Port to Happy Endings but they were consulting producers for a while and that's it. No writing credits. David Caspe, Jonathan Groff, and the Russo Brothers are the main creatives behind the show, from what I can tell.
posted by kmz at 9:41 AM on July 5, 2012


Better Off Ted

In the fantasy US version can we get Potica Di Rossi to play Renyholm? k thx.
posted by The Whelk at 9:50 AM on July 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


The American version of Life on Mars was the one I wanted to see work better than it did. The casting was phenomenal (Harvey Keitel!!!) and the show's premise is right up my alley. Didn't seem to work out so well, though.
posted by rocket88 at 9:51 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


rocket88 : Ayaode was the reason I couldn't stomach the British version. Why do we need over-the top stereotypes every time we cast for a 'nerd' character?
That was my initial reaction to his character, too. Frankly, I really didn't like the couple of episodes of the IT Crowd, but it quickly grew on me and Moss became my favorite character.

Part of the problem is that these slightly surreal, cartoonish and campy British shows (Father Ted is another) can be really jarring to my American sensibilities. There just aren't as many corollaries here. Once you get past that and embrace it, Moss (for my taste, anyway) becomes essential as the cartoonish, exaggerated stereotype of a computer nerd. Chris O'Dowd (Roy) is funny, but doesn't quite fit that bill.

If you haven't watched more than a couple of episodes, I'd recommend giving it another chance while trying to think of the Moss character as essential.
posted by Davenhill at 9:56 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


When they say "filmed in front of a live audience", does that really mean that each scene is actually shot with a real audience watching it (which might be seeing things out of order, etc), or do they edit it together without a laughtrack, then show the completed episode to an audience whose laughter is then recorded?

I attended the filming of an episode out at Pinewood Studios last year. They shot the episode in order (as far as I remember) and we watched it almost as if it were theatre, although there were retakes and some pre-filmed sequences which were played on overhead monitors.

I assume they used our laughter, although maybe not from later takes as the jokes wear thin when you hear them four times in a row.

A fun night out.
posted by ambivalentic at 10:16 AM on July 5, 2012



This is painful like the american(ized) version of "coupling".

It's a shame because I really like both Ayoade and McHale.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:18 AM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Huh. Seemed about exactly equal in quality to me with the original. Just about, yeah, exactly the same. In an objective sense, I mean.

But I noticed that I'm willing to forgive a certain amount of shittiness from BBC shows that I won't forgive in American TV, for whatever reason. So in that manner, yes, this is far less watchable than the British version.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:19 AM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


That YouTube account is an absolute trove of abandoned pilots, some surprisingly tolerable when compared to much of the dreck that was picked up, some utterly unwatchable.
posted by itstheclamsname at 10:21 AM on July 5, 2012


I mean why, WHY would Americans need a special American version in American English just so they can enjoy the show?

Our knuckle-drag is almost visible at times.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:25 AM on July 5, 2012


Huh. My expectations were so low, this wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.
posted by ColdChef at 10:26 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remember when I first saw the the 'American Pilot' what I took out of it was that while Moss was simultaneously 'Moss' and 'not-Moss' that it kind of jarred me out of the show, and Joel McHale failure to inflate the Roy character with any humor at all, was that Rocky Caroll was surprisingly dry and 'british-y' funny in his short time on camera.

Wow, this is on par with the US version of Red Dwarf.

Beaten on this, but it's much more like the American version of Coupling. Shot for shot remake, coupled with a total misunderstanding of what made the original series funny.

All that being said, I sincerely wish that the real version of the IT crowd would get a better audience here in the states. It's a fantastically hilarious show, and the fact that the episodes themselves are shorter, and the seasons are short as well really lends itself to some awesome syndication deal, excepting the whole minimum of 80 some episodes "rule".
posted by Sphinx at 10:32 AM on July 5, 2012


Why couldn't they have just made more Party Down? Not that they even show that here what the fuck.

NB:The IT Crowd wasn't a BBC show, it's Channel 4 (same as the Inbetweeners and Peep Show)
posted by mippy at 10:33 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I understand why you wouldn't want to expose anyone to such a thing, but I feel as though the pilot for Red Dwarf USA mentioned above should still be made available for those who enjoy self-harm.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 10:38 AM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


they aren't worthy of Old Gregg's boot.

It's not his boot that worries me...
posted by Grangousier at 10:46 AM on July 5, 2012


I mean why, WHY would Americans need a special American version in American English just so they can enjoy the show? Do they not understand British English? What sort of cretinous morlock would one need to be to require a special American version?

First, British English can be difficult to understand, even if you've had some exposure to British speakers. It's not just a different accent. A close colleague of mine is "posh" English, went to Oxford, grew up watching American TV shows and I still occasionally have moments of incomprehension when she says certain words.

The second is that humor is a product of culture, and the UK has a culture that in many important ways diverges from ours. Take the UK Office, for instance; apparently the setting of Slough is supposed to be a joke in and of itself. Same with the Ali G Show, where Staines was a joke as well. Americans won't understand that without doing some research, and for most people TV is a way to mindlessly tune out and de-stress from the day.

The third is that, at the end of the day, audiences identify with people like them.

To the inevitable response that British people watch American TV without problems; sure. But they have a background in our culture, they've been watching American TV and movies since there were movies and TV to watch. I don't understand why nearly every thread about pop culture around here is seen as an opportunity to shit all over people for having different preferences in cultural products, but it's pretty lame, to be honest.
posted by downing street memo at 10:51 AM on July 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


Matt Berry, never really worked for me.

This is difficult for me to hear.
posted by SharkParty at 10:52 AM on July 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Here's another classic British sitcom the American networks might want to remake.

[cough]
posted by malevolent at 10:54 AM on July 5, 2012


Really? I was kind of hoping the Germans would take that one on.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:57 AM on July 5, 2012


For my money, the biggest Americanized travesty will be Elementary, the new series riding the popularity of BBC's Sherlock.
posted by CosmicRayCharles at 11:03 AM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I do not think I'm sufficiently strong-willed enough to not click the red dwarf pilot link...


help.
posted by pymsical at 11:05 AM on July 5, 2012


This should be buried in a nuclear waste dump and forgotten.
posted by Catblack at 11:08 AM on July 5, 2012


As the AV Club recently pointed out, this stuff goes the other way, too --- one of the longest running UK sitcoms was the adaption of Who's the Boss.

Hell, I'd even argue that humor's far more culture specific than any form of drama. The particular reason why the star crossed lovers are star crossed is way less important than the actors being able to mimic the emotion involved. But a lot if humour relies on implicit understandings of class and authority being subverted, not going according to plan. It's that unspoken understanding of relative status that gives things oomph.
posted by Diablevert at 11:08 AM on July 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


It wasn't THAT bad. It was just missing the demonic glee in the original.
posted by black8 at 11:11 AM on July 5, 2012


It's almost identical, word for word with the British episode. Terrible. And the only change they made was Denholm gets an extra line that completely inverts his character from being batshit insane to conniving. Awful.
posted by barc0001 at 11:13 AM on July 5, 2012


The second is that humor is a product of culture, and the UK has a culture that in many important ways diverges from ours. Take the UK Office, for instance; apparently the setting of Slough is supposed to be a joke in and of itself. Same with the Ali G Show, where Staines was a joke as well. Americans won't understand that without doing some research, and for most people TV is a way to mindlessly tune out and de-stress from the day.

But we do this with American shows all the time! Mad Men is an obvious one as it's historical drama (I had to watch the first couple of seasons with the Guardian 'Notes from the Break Room' series to hand) but Family guy is big here and it's packed with references we don't know - Kool-Aid jugs, 'Where's the beef', etc.

The other day I caught some sitcom with Willow off of Buffy in it and they were talking about someone 'not being 212' and a whole riff on area codes which would have completely passed me by had I not known that 212 was NYC (it was assigned because it was the shortest one to dial, that's how I remember). The Fresh Prince of Bel Air was an enormous show here when I was a kid as it was shown every tea-time, and there were still things there we knew nothing about (what the difference between Philadelphia and Bel-Air was, the existence of black colleges) and teens here lap up US teen movies with references to sororities, keggers and the golden boy from the football team, despite us not having any sororities/frats, being able to drink legally before college age, and absolutely nobody giving a shit about school or university sports unless they/their boyfriend is in the team.

Maybe US networks don't credit their viewers with enough intelligence. I grew up in the North of England, far from Staines and kids doing the wigga thing that Ali G was doing, but we all thought it was hilarious and it was easy enough to work out that 'Staines' was hardly south Central.
posted by mippy at 11:13 AM on July 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Also, Brits still find Fox News funny as well. Glenn Beck was a brilliant comic character.
posted by mippy at 11:14 AM on July 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


DSM- sorry, just saw your caveat. I have a migraine I'm trying to ignore...

Doesn't explain why Aussie TV is so popular in the UK, though. Neighbours, Home and Away, Kath and Kim (we never got the US remake, but I imagine it ignored the fact that that show was a comedic take on Sylvania Waters), Summer Heights High.
posted by mippy at 11:18 AM on July 5, 2012


Poor poor Richard Ayoade. He must have felt he was in a special kind of hell. Good thing this didn't take off. Instead we got The Crappy Big Bang Theory.
posted by jmcnally at 11:19 AM on July 5, 2012


I often have problems with the mean spirited tone of a lot of British comedy shows. I never got very far through the original Office due to that.
posted by octothorpe at 11:30 AM on July 5, 2012


Lacking Chris O'Dowd's Personal Catnip Accent so, FAIL.

Speaking of Chris O'Dowd and his accent, how wrong is his attempt at an American accent? I remember listening to him talking on "Girls" and his attempt at an American accent was just really really weird. It distracted me from anything else on the show.
posted by gyc at 11:59 AM on July 5, 2012


I'm not sure that you'll find anything mean-spirited in Linehan's work, despite his enormous love of Seinfeld, which is about as viciously mean a sitcom as can be imagined.
posted by howfar at 12:00 PM on July 5, 2012


Oh wow, this is terrible, but also fascinating. It's rare to find such a direct example of the difference between an artistic success and a failure. Most of the dialog is the same, so many important small details are different, the shots, the timing... I could imagine spending a couple days in a film class simply deconstructing the differences and why the remake falls flat.
posted by Wemmick at 12:20 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


the elevator scene in particular was definitely far better in the original version. something about the way her movements corresponded to the auto-voice saying "Get out of the lift!" just worked in a way it didn't here in the pilot..
posted by ninjew at 12:30 PM on July 5, 2012


The biggest difference I've noted between British and American comedies is that britcoms will put people in much more uncomfortable situations, and keep them there for much longer, than american audiences can generally take.

It's the most obvious difference between US and UK The Office. Is there an american equivalent of Chris Morris? And while I like dark in my comedy, I still got twitchy and uncomfortable watching Peep Show.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:47 PM on July 5, 2012


Oh holy christ Chris Morris is brilliant. I've got a MP3 of "Uzi Lover" that I must have listened to 200 times.

If anyone was wondering how the rest of the world sees the American justice system, the Chapman Baxter series on The Day Today was spot-on (down to the NTSC-to-PAL video conversion artifacts!)

Elvis-styled execution
Wedding Yells
Execution with reanimated corpse as executioner
posted by dunkadunc at 1:01 PM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fantastic though Uzi Lover is, I think it pales in comparison to Morris' finest musical parody, which is so good that the Pixies really need to do a cover the next time they run out of money. "My mother gunned my weapon..."

Motherbanger
posted by howfar at 1:28 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


They should have tried turning it off and turning it back on.
posted by tommasz at 1:32 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Don't forget Nirvana for pantyliners or (my favorite) Pulp's song about Myra Hindley.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:46 PM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


All in The Family is probably the most critically and popularly successful remake of a British sitcom (Til Death Us Do Part). Many American fans even today are surprised to hear that it was a remake of a Britcom, especially as Archie Bunker has entered everyday US language as representing a particular American stereotype
posted by Bwithh at 1:56 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Speaking of Chris O'Dowd and his accent, how wrong is his attempt at an American accent? I remember listening to him talking on "Girls" and his attempt at an American accent was just really really weird. It distracted me from anything else on the show.

Yeah, it was weird. He did really seem to capture that kind of character well, what with his pride over the dismal "mash-ups" and freakout over the rug, but the accent thing was jarring. Second time round it seemed less of a problem though.
posted by Artw at 1:59 PM on July 5, 2012


Just as unfunny as the original. Don't see what the big deal is.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:52 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe the people who made he pilot are comedy disabled?
posted by vansly at 4:37 PM on July 5, 2012


Just as unfunny as the original. Don't see what the big deal is.
I do sometimes wonder how much the English accent adds to my perception of 'funny'. After watching this pilot, it dawned on me that it might be a lot closer to 100% than 0 than I realized.
posted by Davenhill at 4:44 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


But the central cast is only one third less English, so it must be less than 33.333...% in this case.
posted by howfar at 5:20 PM on July 5, 2012


First, British English can be difficult to understand

Only if you're the most benighted of benighted yanks who grew up in Benight, Benightedville.

Come on. Seriously? You find British English hard to understand? And you're prepared to admit it? Here on Metafilter, amongst educated people? And you don't feel ashamed of yourself? Man. I mean, genuinely, wow. Jesus, guy. Lord. Fuck me.
posted by Decani at 5:27 PM on July 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Heh, it's been taken down. That was quick.

I don't think casting or the lack of British accents are entirely to blame here. I went over the first minute or so, and if you look closely, the American remake ignores all the little touches that make the original work. It's like they're completely incompetent. They left out the establishing shot of the office building, Renham doesn't appear in the same frame as his picture, ruining the effect, he doesn't stare at Jenn long enough for it to be genuinely uncomfortable... and so on. In the British version, there's a moment when Jenn glances from the picture of Renham to Renham himself, and already, just in that small moment we get a sense of how strange the situation is to her. The upper floor offices are poorly lit and less spacious in the remake, giving less contrast when Jenn goes to the dingy basement. It's just the first few minutes, and already the American version has bungled innumerable details that made the original work.
posted by Wemmick at 5:29 PM on July 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's down? thank goodness I downloaded this piece of dreck for posterity!
posted by dunkadunc at 5:47 PM on July 5, 2012


Only if you're the most benighted of benighted yanks who grew up in Benight, Benightedville.
Come on. Seriously? You find British English hard to understand? And you're prepared to admit it? Here on Metafilter, amongst educated people? And you don't feel ashamed of yourself? Man. I mean, genuinely, wow. Jesus, guy. Lord. Fuck me.


Um.....

Yes?

Possibly?

I mean,

maybe?
posted by Diablevert at 6:03 PM on July 5, 2012


Come on. Seriously? You find British English hard to understand? And you're prepared to admit it?

To be fair, many British dialects feature faster speech than dialects from North America-- which is why casual attempts by Britons at an American accent sound like Goliath the Dog. Faster speech than you're used to parsing, combined with an unfamiliar vowel set, can be a challenge for some people.

Granted, I think you can get acclimated in about three minutes, but we're not known for being patient either.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:06 PM on July 5, 2012


Only if you're the most benighted of benighted yanks who grew up in Benight, Benightedville.

Come on. Seriously? You find British English hard to understand? And you're prepared to admit it? Here on Metafilter, amongst educated people? And you don't feel ashamed of yourself? Man. I mean, genuinely, wow. Jesus, guy. Lord. Fuck me.


God, this kind of sneering douchiness is exactly what I'm talking about. Glad to have given you your hit of superiority for the day.

Others have pointed out plenty of British Isles accents that are inscrutable to American ears. Not everyone over there speaks RP, you know, and even those that do tend to speak it at a faster cadence than we do. I'd also bring up vocabulary - I lived in London, have English co-workers and some English extended family, and I have no idea what the fuck "chuffed" means, for instance (well, I do now that I just looked it up, but can never keep it straight).
posted by downing street memo at 6:45 PM on July 5, 2012


Come on. Seriously? You find British English hard to understand? And you're prepared to admit it?

Absurd; for people unfamiliar with the vocabulary and cadences, British English may be as difficult to understand as someone speaking English with a strong French accent and cadences, Scottish accent and cadences, Jamaican accent and cadences, etc. Saying 'It's all English, you dummy!' is ridiculous.

Here on Metafilter, amongst educated people? And you don't feel ashamed of yourself? Man. I mean, genuinely, wow. Jesus, guy. Lord. Fuck me.

Education and smug prickishness are not the same thing, regardless of what you may have been telling yourself.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:41 PM on July 5, 2012


Yea, I'm here to say that my not so great set of ears, in general, makes other dialects hard to understand, this is not limited to British English but can even include dialects from other parts of the US.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:55 PM on July 5, 2012


Strange, I don't find exotic forms of British hard to understand, and I can even give Dutch (which I don't speak) a go.

Personally, I find it a bit provincial that someone might need a special version of a TV show in one's own dialect.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:04 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Incredibly, some people may not have a knack for the same things you do, and may even be good at things you are not.

Frankly, I find that being snobby about such things indicates a parochial need for things to be snobby about. Crazy ol' world.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:26 PM on July 5, 2012


DAMN! I missed it. And I think I asked Mefi where I could see this online when it first surfaced. Either that or I favorited someone else asking Mefi.

Either way, has this been archived or uploaded anywhere else? And who plays Richmond?
posted by Mael Oui at 8:43 PM on July 5, 2012


Ack I just watched the pilot. Love the original much better - Chris O'Dowd really sells the schlumpy messy thing well. Am amused that Amsterdam becomes FL for the US version.

As far as the accents - it can be hard if you're not used to it, especially if you have hearing trouble. Some friends w/ hearing issues routinely use the subtitles fr british tv.
posted by oneear at 8:45 PM on July 5, 2012


Richmond is played by Noel Fielding, who's also the crazy roommate from Nathan Barley.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:45 PM on July 5, 2012


RE: Richmond. I meant in the US version.
posted by Mael Oui at 8:47 PM on July 5, 2012


And obviously I know Richmond is not in the pilot. I was just musing to myself about who would play Richmond. It's too hot for this talking to people business.
posted by Mael Oui at 8:50 PM on July 5, 2012


They never made it that far. Richmond appears first in Episode 4, "The Red Door".
posted by dunkadunc at 8:51 PM on July 5, 2012


sorry, crossed wires!
posted by dunkadunc at 8:51 PM on July 5, 2012


Not sure if for the greater good, but the video is now removed. So the below is a generalisation of other murdered shows I have seen previews of.
So didn't get to see how terrible it is, but if going by many other American versions of hit British shows they don't remake / translate well.
I don't even think it's the accent which is the killer, that in itself would work fine if the rest of the script and acting method is left untouched (save a few local slang or terms).
The real killer is the comedy is dumbed down and seems to be reinvented for the lowest common denominator watching the show. Characters and or references to "things" seem to be explained too. (Taking a wild assumption here now) If you are watching the IT Crowd then you probably have a keener than normal interest or knowledge in IT, so if this version follows other converted shows, some jokes might get dumbed down or further explained so Joe Public can get the joke too.
The same can apply with characters, we don't need to know them like family from episode one. There is no need to explain why they are as they are, leave them to be built upon over time.
Lastly I think it's the delivery method itself, British shows (and actor) have generations building on dry & sarcastic wit, which is written into the humour too, but if you try deliver it in more of a (unsure how to discribe but) crazy, zany, in your face type medium it doesn't work.

Just to reiterate, I didn't get to see the Youtube clip so this is a generalisation based on other shows which have tried to be imported and converted for American audiences.
posted by Merlin The Happy Pig at 10:03 PM on July 5, 2012


It was actually word-for-word the same script, but the sets, timing, and camera action was different. In that, it was a good example of how execution is everything.

Check your MeMail!
posted by dunkadunc at 10:12 PM on July 5, 2012


Here, I found the first 7 minutes of the US Pilot (honestly, you really don't need to see much more).

I liked UK version of Jen because she was sort of mousy and kind of naive, while the US Jen seems just... there. Also Joel McHale seems like he is just doing a skit for Talk Soup. I don't know what they were going to do with the boss(es), since they were kind of ridiculous in the UK version.
posted by littlesq at 11:16 PM on July 5, 2012


As a Brit I've never really understood the remake culture in the US, I've always quite liked having to work to understand a different accent/language.

Watching something like the Danish Killing (or The Wire even) the sense of otherness and of being immersed in what is unequivocally a different culture is fascinating and really adds to the experience.
posted by brilliantmistake at 12:41 AM on July 6, 2012


The networks/studios think it's more worthwhile to make an American version that may run 100+ episodes and pay off long term instead of a short term payoff for airing 8 episodes of a weird show with cultural barriers that may drive viewers away.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:18 AM on July 6, 2012


Graham Lineham made some interesting comments re this on twitter last night
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:25 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a Brit I've never really understood the remake culture in the US

I tend to agree, although oddly enough, the most recent US to UK sitcom remake I can think of right now, Who's the Boss?/The Upper Hand, was a decent commercial success (interestingly adopting US influenced longer seasons). On the other hand, the disastrous Brighton Belles aired around that time too, which may have scared British TV off the idea.
posted by howfar at 2:41 AM on July 6, 2012


To be fair, Americans also routinely butcher their own old TV shows in movies. My housemate had to tell me to calm the fuck down the first time I saw the trailer for the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still on TV. WTF.

Not a great deal of Aussie TV gets remade for the US. The Kath and Kim remake was a travesty. Haven't seen the US version of Wilfred, but it seems to get a decent rating on imdb.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 5:52 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a Brit I've never really understood the remake culture in the US

There are at least two logistical reasons for not running the originals on US networks: they run too long and don't leave enough time for commercials and they don't make enough episodes to fill an entire US TV season. Compare IT Crowd with Big Bang Theory. BBT episodes run 18 - 22 minutes while ITC episodes are 25 which would make it hard to fit into a standard US 1/2 hour slot without editing. Then BBT produces 23 - 24 shows a year while there have only ever been 24 IT Crowd episodes in four years; you can't fill a year's worth of programming with only six shows.
posted by octothorpe at 6:26 AM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't understand why nearly every thread about pop culture around here is seen as an opportunity to shit all over people for having different preferences in cultural products, but it's pretty lame, to be honest.
posted by downing street memo at 6:51 PM on July 5


Suggesting that Americans who find British accents and references hard to understand might not be trying very hard is not "shitting all over people for having different preferences in cultural products"

As mippy points out, American TV shows and references are absolutely rammed with things that are alien and mysterious to Brits, especially young Brits from not-very-well-off areas. Yet we do not complain that your stuff is incomprehensible. What we do is bother to make the minor effort required to find out, so that we can better enjoy the show, film, song, book, whatever it might be.

I listened to "Tequila Sunrise" for years before I figured out that it wasn't about sunrise over Tequila. To me, a prom was a seafront walkway, so I had no idea what a high school prom might be. I couldn't figure out what a T-bird was but it seemed to me that her daddy was probably confiscating some sort of pet. Gumbo, mojo, Taco Bell, Pretzel Logic... American Culture is every bit as packed with alien words and concepts for Brits as our stuff is for you guys. Yet somehow it's usually you guys complaining about how weird and hard to understand we are. Sort it out. Stop expecting to be spoon-fed all the bloody time and make an effort.
posted by Decani at 12:14 PM on July 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


And then I threw the book across the room.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:56 PM on July 6, 2012


Stop expecting to be spoon-fed all the bloody time and make an effort.

America is huge and diverse already, nobody needs to turn to other countries for interesting entertainment when our domestic industry produces more than enough. The Metafilter types are probably already watching PBS, anyway. Others aren't making an effort beyond perfectly entertaining products like American Idol or NASCAR.

As for accents, Baltimore is an hour and half away from me. I still used subtitles when I watched The Wire because even though I can make sense of most of what people are saying focusing on that instead of the acting can be distracting and unpleasant. I'm reminded of too many conversations where I've had to say "What?" to someone 5 times in a row because I don't quite grok what I'm hearing.

The subtitles make it easier. I just watched Doc Martin on Netflix with subtitles, loved it. Somebody reccomended me Vera and I hated it because there were no subs, I felt like I was missing too much so I watched something else.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:21 PM on July 6, 2012


As mippy points out, American TV shows and references are absolutely rammed with things that are alien and mysterious to Brits, especially young Brits from not-very-well-off areas. Yet we do not complain that your stuff is incomprehensible. What we do is bother to make the minor effort required to find out, so that we can better enjoy the show, film, song, book, whatever it might be.
....Sort it out. Stop expecting to be spoon-fed all the bloody time and make an effort.


Ah, well, there's your problem, as the plumber said...I honestly think it was in a thread on mefi that I first read this, but if so it's beyond my google-fu to dig up, but: Someone once pointed out that when Europeans don't understand something, they assume it's their fault for being too dumb to get it, whereas when Americans don't understand something they assume it's your fault for not explaining it properly. This ties in with a lot of things...but in this situation I think the American attitude is, it is the job of the show to make me laugh, and if it is not doing so I am changing the fucking channel. The TV show is an offering, made to elicit my delight; of it does not do so, it has failed not I. The producers know this, and so they try, however ineptly, to mild it into a better gift. In a way it ties in with the attitude toward customer service --- any service, really --- the customer is always right because the store exists to serve the customer, and if the customer ain't happy the store fucked up. That's why it's acceptable to send back food in restaurants, a hundred other things....the attitude in a lot of places across the pond shifts that balance of power, a bit I think --- there is more reverence for the pride of craft. You come into my store, you want my stuff, I'll get to you when I get to you. I have made this thing and vouch for its quality; it is for you to accept or reject it, please yourself, but I won't change my standards to suit your tastes, I create for my own satisfaction. Applies as much to a comedy show as a boulangerie.
posted by Diablevert at 2:30 PM on July 6, 2012


It never ceases to amaze me that there was an American remake of Coupling, considering Coupling was basically a British remake of Friends.
posted by dng at 3:18 PM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


And then I threw the book across the room.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:56 PM on July 6


Not sure if this is an attempted dig at my oft-expressed loathing for DFW, but if it is I assure you that said loathing has precisely nothing to do with DFW being American, or for the American references that oversized sack of obsessive verbal scab-picking contains.
posted by Decani at 10:23 AM on July 8, 2012


furiousxgeorge: "America is huge and diverse already, nobody needs to turn to other countries for interesting entertainment when our domestic industry produces more than enough."

Arrested Development was a really really good show, but it's been cancelled for years now.

Has there been a massive sea change in American TV since then? Don't say Parks and Recreation, it's not clever, you can see the punchlines coming a mile away.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:01 PM on July 8, 2012


Parks and Rec works because the characters are written and acted sufficiently likeably that telegraphed jokes do just fine. It has, at the risk of sounding like a great big softie, heart. Which is nice sometimes.

Really my biggest complaint about P&R is that they've never really shaken the habit of Ha Ha Sucks To Be Jerry jokes, even coming out of the mouths of otherwise really genuinely decent human being type characters. It's a weird fallback position for a show that's otherwise developed this really strong ethos of compassion underlying the weekly hijinks. It's hard to buy Leslie actually being okay with being a casual jerkbag to Jerry.

Compare that with a lot of network sitcoms that are just sort of lazily mean but try to compensate with schmaltz and hugs as if the canned Awwwwwws will mend things. I like a nasty comedy that knows its nasty and runs with it (whether it's the screwball sociopathy of Seinfeld or the gut-punch deadpan of the UK The Office), and I like a comedy that knows it's nice, but I've pretty much tapped out and then some on b-grade network Fat Guy Hot Wife type cheap-shots-and-stereotypes stuff.
posted by cortex at 8:20 PM on July 8, 2012


Let's be fair, Jerry does keep doing stuff like painting nudes of Leslie and stuffing all the wrong envelopes.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:53 PM on July 8, 2012


He forgot to vote, too.

The great thing about the GaryJerry jokes is that while everyone picks on him at work, he has a pretty great life. He's happily married, has a house, has a beautiful daughter, is a dedicated volunteer, and is happy enough with his life that he vacations in Muncie. He's serenely content stuffing envelopes.

And apparently he's extremely well hung.

But at the same time, he screws almost everything up, no matter how well intentioned he is. In addition, at the start of the show, Jerry was only sticking around in the Parks Dept until his retirement in a couple of years. Besides his kind of wet-blanket personality, I think that's a big part of how he became the team whipping boy. He doesn't fight back and he's at the end of his career - both things that make blaming him more consequence-free.

In the end though, Jerry has a pretty good life. He doesn't mind all of the blame - I think on some level, he knows it means he's being included in the family. If you want someone to feel sorry for, pity poor balding Kyle.
posted by maryr at 7:35 AM on July 9, 2012


(oops, it's Garry with two R's. of course it is.)
posted by maryr at 7:35 AM on July 9, 2012


Arrested Development was a really really good show, but it's been cancelled for years now.

Has there been a massive sea change in American TV since then? Don't say Parks and Recreation, it's not clever, you can see the punchlines coming a mile away.


And Arrested Development relied heavily on running gags, no show is perfect. I was not making my comment just about sitcoms though, if that is all you watch for entertainment you are missing out on a lot.

That said, I consider Community, Curb Your Enthusiasm, 30 Rock, and Louie to be classic comedy currently airing in the sitcom format. There are a lot of other shows I could list that American audiences clearly love even if they aren't my thing. Most sitcoms are more lowest common denominator, that goes for any country making them.

Nobody should ever be short of comedy content though considering the number of stand-up acts out there.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:06 PM on July 9, 2012


Watching something like the Danish Killing (or The Wire even) the sense of otherness and of being immersed in what is unequivocally a different culture is fascinating and really adds to the experience.

The Wire is cited here as a show that takes some effort to get into, because of the language/style of speech. It's not the 'American' we're used to here. For more mainstream shows (I don't know how mainstream The Wire was there, it wasn't so much here) like 30 Rock, it's not really an issue even given that SNL isn't shown over here and US TV is different enough in its production that it's hard to find a reference point. I've said it before on here, but Seinfeld, one of the biggest shows in US telly history, was shoved out on the post-11pm slot here, and nobody really knows why - it was obviously a mainstream hit, it wasn't particularly American/Jewish/whatever, it was critically successful too. Curb is on freeview (think free cable) here, a minority channel admittedly, but Seinfeld only gets reruns on fairly obscure networks. It's weird.

Parks and Rec isn't shown here and I have no idea why given that a) it's great b) there is no reason whatsoever that it wouldn't translate. On the other hand, our Comedy Central channel is always, always showing episodes of King of Queens. They've even started advertising films here with Patton Oswalt as a name actor, even though he's only really known for KoQ here (I don't even know what else he's been in).
posted by mippy at 9:07 AM on July 12, 2012


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