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Anyone know Alanis's email address?
February 10, 2007 1:10 PM   Subscribe


 
I have to say that Pegg is a comedy hero of mine, so I was pleased to see this today. Admittedly, this is also a chance for him to plug the new movie, but also is a quite insightful piece.
posted by dash_slot- at 1:13 PM on February 10, 2007


I have a painful crush on Simon Pegg. Watching his brilliant series of a few years ago ("Spaced") on BBCAmerica is not making it any better. It might be the funniest sitcom I've yet to see.
posted by pinky at 1:16 PM on February 10, 2007


I don't get it.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 1:18 PM on February 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


I totally agree - and his Shaun of the Dead is the only serious rival to The Life of Brian as funniest British comedy movie of all time.
posted by dash_slot- at 1:19 PM on February 10, 2007


Interesting.

But, not being british (nor american), can someone explain this part?: "The only joke in Shaun Of The Dead that never got a laugh in the States was Ed's request for a Cornetto ice cream at 8am on a Sunday morning"
posted by rpn at 1:21 PM on February 10, 2007


Great essay. Though it is useful to compare the British and American versions of The Office, which shows that Americans really can't do irony. Or at least not without help. It's punctuated by how many times the American version's actors look into the camera with that "Get it?" look, to help forcefeed the punchline.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:21 PM on February 10, 2007


In the first line of about the seventh 'graf he uses the word "conurbates"---mystified, I checked on Dictionary.com and came up empty.
Is this a Britishism?
posted by Dizzy at 1:22 PM on February 10, 2007


Oh-- nice post, d_s!
posted by Dizzy at 1:23 PM on February 10, 2007


You didn't get the Cornetto joke? Barbarians!
posted by Abiezer at 1:24 PM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


'Americans don't do irony'

dosen't he say the exact opposite? Or am I am not getting the irony?
posted by Snyder at 1:27 PM on February 10, 2007


Though it is useful to compare the British and American versions of The Office, which shows that Americans really can't do irony.

Or maybe that suggests that the producers of the American version of The Office just can't do irony.
posted by cortex at 1:29 PM on February 10, 2007


Barbarian or not, what I really meant was: can someone please tell me what the Cornetto joke was? As clueless now as I was when I watched the film.
posted by rpn at 1:29 PM on February 10, 2007


A conurbation is like a metropolis, I think. I don't remember if there's a real difference in meaning, or if they're just competing jargon coined by different people.
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:29 PM on February 10, 2007


1. I've always taken 'conurbates' to mean live side by side...although seeing it here he seems to be meaning grow closer together.
2. How is that Cornetto line a joke? That a zombie wants ice cream so early in the morning?
3. I happen to think that the US version of the Office is actually funnier than the original. This may be that: I'm sort of fed up with Ricky Gervais; or that there are more episodes of the US one, hence more laughs to displace the odd episode which has been less than brilliant (ie last week's, 3.15); or that I'm now working in a UK office, which is so close to the parody of the Wernham Hogg that it's just painful.
posted by Flashman at 1:31 PM on February 10, 2007


Oh yes nebulawindphone, I stand corrected re conurbation...I guess he's using it as a synonym for 'global village'
posted by Flashman at 1:33 PM on February 10, 2007


I thought that he said the only reason Americans didn't get the Cornetto joke is because they don't have Cornettos (Cornetti?) there.
posted by randomination at 1:35 PM on February 10, 2007


Yes-- upon reflection, in context, and with your help I take it he meant "mingling" or "coming together".
Not only do we laugh differently, it seems we have different "Increase Your Word Power" editions.
posted by Dizzy at 1:36 PM on February 10, 2007


Didn't see your first comment prior to my last rpn. It wasn't a personal dig, You was "Americans,: and I was just joshing.
Now, to compound the insult, I'm going to say I can't remember that bit of the film, so even though I am pretty sure what the substance of the joke would be, I'll let someone else explain.
Annoying or what?
posted by Abiezer at 1:36 PM on February 10, 2007


Or maybe that suggests that the producers of the American version of The Office just can't do irony.

Can you think of any American TV shows that have as strong or stronger British influence, to help make an "apples to apples" comparison?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:37 PM on February 10, 2007


oh, and the one that works for me is
infatuation_junkie@yahoo.ca
posted by Flashman at 1:42 PM on February 10, 2007


Strangely moving. Thank you.
posted by basicchannel at 1:43 PM on February 10, 2007


I doubt he's spent much time in Boston.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:47 PM on February 10, 2007


Oh man, I love the American Office with the fire of a thousand suns. However, I can't watch the British version without squirming out of my chair. Partly it's because of David Brendt's similarities to my stepfather and partly because it's just... uncomfortable.

My husband, who is not American (nor is he British), feels the opposite. He loves the British Office, but when I put on the latest download of Michael Scott's antics, he has to leave the room.

One difference in style that I've noticed is that the American Office is often a build-up to a punchline, such as the "Alliance" episode where at the end, you get that one perfect moment of Dwight talking about how he never really trusted Jim and the camera pans to him, and he's dyed his hair platinum blonde to go "undercover" at the Stamford branch. It's brilliance. The British don't do dumb punchlines. The episode moves forward and at the end of the episode, it's the same general discomfort at the beginning. Different style.

Anyhow, this is reminding me that I haven't yet watched Phyllis's wedding...
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:49 PM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Can you think of any American TV shows that have as strong or stronger British influence, to help make an "apples to apples" comparison?

Not offhand; the first thing that came to mind was Whose Line Is It, which supports your thesis more than it disproves it. But my thinking is that shows that are specifically Americanized takes on existing British material are perhaps the worst testing ground for this sort of thing—these shows are being intentionally reimagined, differentiated from their source material.

Look at original American writing instead; look at what Larry David comes up with, perhaps, as an example of some equally dead ironic reckoning, if not exactly the same tone.
posted by cortex at 1:53 PM on February 10, 2007


Oh I thought the joke was that Americans are fat and don't see anything wrong with ice cream for Sunday breakfast.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 1:54 PM on February 10, 2007


How much do I love Simon Pegg? THIS MUCH.

Pinky, I agree, Spaced was amazing. I still just watch random episodes to keep the winter gray at bay.
posted by RockCorpse at 1:57 PM on February 10, 2007


The British don't do dumb punchlines.

I think I agree with most of your comment, grapefruitmoon, but, uh, what? Are You Being Served? Nearly 90% of every episode of Black Adder? I admit I don't watch enough British TV to know if those are wild outliers, but quick-turn set pieces and (wonderful) dumb punchlines seem very much present across the pond.
posted by cortex at 1:57 PM on February 10, 2007


"Americans" get irony just fine... it's the people that American TV is aimed at who don't get irony.
posted by tehloki at 1:58 PM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Larry Sanders Show
posted by strawberryviagra at 1:59 PM on February 10, 2007


How is that Cornetto line a joke? That a zombie wants ice cream so early in the morning?

Well, they hadn't reached the z-word stage of the film yet...

...but I didn't think it was really a joke either, more a humourous observation. It is exactly the sort of things my housemates say when I ask them if they want anything from the shop.

Also: I have watched the Hot Fuzz trailer about half a dozen times this weekend and I piss myself at the moustache line everytime.
posted by ninebelow at 2:03 PM on February 10, 2007


Conurbate isn't in the Oxford English Dictionary, while conurbation is an aggregation of urban areas.
posted by welephant at 2:06 PM on February 10, 2007


Dear everyone who uses the American version of The Office to explain why Americans are stupid and horrible and maybe ugly:

Currently, The Office is one of the best shows on television, arguably even the best. It's a massive, smash success critically, commercially, by any possible measurement. It is as close to universally loved as a television show can be.

I'm not saying that you are not arguing from experience. You saw the first episode. Maybe even the first season. The first season was not very good. You had no reason to believe your initial impression was anything but accurate.

What I am saying is that you are making people think you are That Guy. The guy who says that Americans are morons for watching drooling tripe like Arrested Development and that they'll never appreciate the sublime, intellectual satire of Last of the Summer Wine. Everyone hates that guy. You think you are being perfectly reasonable, and everyone listening thinks you are basically the Europhilic version of a Dragonball Z fan. I do not believe you are that guy. I am giving you the benefit of the doubt. Stop it.
posted by Simon! at 2:07 PM on February 10, 2007 [10 favorites]


cortex: I've watched plenty of Blackadder and I've seen many a punchline to a joke, but never have I noticed in a British comedy a punchline to an entire episode. That's what I was trying to say.

(Also, I just noticed the title to this post, and um, d00d - Alanis is Canadian. Or was it ironic?)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:08 PM on February 10, 2007


...the initially enjoyable Happy Days became blighted by saccharine lessons in family values, as Henry Winkler's originally subversive Fonzie was mercilessly appropriated by the middle-class American family, castrated by Marion Ross's Mrs Cunningham and forced to sit on it...
Blandness sells on American television in a way that I've never understood. I suppose with "edgy" reality shows (read: inexpensive) this has changed in recent years much to the chagrin of some people. I've been tv-free for about four years now but I recall the vast majority of 80s and 90s sitcoms as being bland, harmless, and banal.
posted by wfrgms at 2:09 PM on February 10, 2007


Americans do irony just fine, but it is not irony of dialogue or detail. Rather, there is an underlying ironic tone in much US popular entertainment, including and perhaps particularly its television "dramas". And what is "American Idol" if not ironic? It is coarsely ironic perhaps, but certainly not earnest in any way.

What Americans can't seem to do particularly well is farce.
posted by Urban Hermit at 2:12 PM on February 10, 2007


I've watched plenty of Blackadder and I've seen many a punchline to a joke, but never have I noticed in a British comedy a punchline to an entire episode.

Ah. Gotcha.
posted by cortex at 2:13 PM on February 10, 2007


Alanis is Canadian.

So is Shatner, and Bryan Adams, and and and. Makes no difference, if they're working and getting famous in the US without a discernable Quebecoise accent, basically.
posted by cortex at 2:15 PM on February 10, 2007


Maybe the rest of the country has some, but Seattle is completely devoid of irony.
posted by jeffamaphone at 2:16 PM on February 10, 2007


but never have I noticed in a British comedy a punchline to an entire episode.

"Duck's off. Sorry."
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:24 PM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


The guy who says that Americans are morons for watching drooling tripe like Arrested Development

Huh? Who ever called AD "drooling tripe"?
posted by papakwanz at 2:36 PM on February 10, 2007


George: Good call. Just about every Faulty Towers episode ends with a punchline for the whole show.

"How ever did zey vin?"

"We've been to a wedding!"

"What can I do for you three gentlemen. AAAAAAAAAH!"
posted by papakwanz at 2:39 PM on February 10, 2007


This reminds me of a quote I saw years ago, which I'll now misquote with a tin ear and lost attribution: 'Ireland is too small for irony, and America is too large. But Britain is just the right size.'
posted by ardgedee at 2:41 PM on February 10, 2007


In Borat, the humour coach made a good observation - Americans don't laugh or poke fun at things which aren't a choice. The Brits, however, most certainly do. I think this is the main distinction. Americans don't 'take the piss' a lot (the aforementioned Boston aside). For this form of sarcasm to work, there needs to be a given, underlying assumption of mutual understanding and respect (or at least tolerance). This then allows the tone to be accepted as sarcasm rather than simple mockery, which (in my experience) Americans don't understand as well as the British.
posted by jimmythefish at 2:49 PM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


I am such a fan of Simon Pegg. When I first saw Shawn of the Dead, I immediately called up my buddy, who, like me, is a something of a connoisseur of zombie films, and I happily declared that it was 'the most accurate depiction of a zombie apocalypse I'd yet seen'. Specifically, that the protagonist had no idea it was happening for a good bit of the movie.

Brilliant.

Then someone turned me onto Spaced, which the Wife and I sat and watched in it's entirety in two days. It was at that moment, that we decided to pay very close attention to Pegg, because everything he has worked on, that we have seen, has been astonishingly good.

I can't even begin to describe how much the wait for Hot Fuzz is killing me.
posted by quin at 2:55 PM on February 10, 2007


Boston is not striking me of a haven of bright, funny people who can take a joke right now.
posted by Artw at 2:56 PM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


but never have I noticed in a British comedy a punchline to an entire episode.
"Duck's off. Sorry."As soon as I read that first sentence, I also thought instantly of John Cleese beating his car with a tree branch.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 3:00 PM on February 10, 2007


In Borat, the humour coach made a good observation

NOT!
posted by dodgygeezer at 3:03 PM on February 10, 2007


And on the topic of American vs British TV, I view the Office as something of an anomaly. I never understood why they would go through the effort to recreate the series with different actors when the original was so well liked. For some reason, the Office worked. Others like the American version of Coupling haven't faired so well. (Apparently it got four episodes before it was canceled. Which is 3 more than I remember.) And the reason for it was obvious, they had the cast try to duplicate the script exactly from the British version. It was awful. I never understood why they didn't just air the original British version, which was very good.
posted by quin at 3:05 PM on February 10, 2007


Hm, sorry for the strange formatting of that last comment of mine. Blockquote still holds many mysteries from me.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 3:11 PM on February 10, 2007


I think pratfalls are the height of comedy, especially when the prats are all ironical when they fall.
posted by breezeway at 3:13 PM on February 10, 2007


jimmythefish writes "Americans don't laugh or poke fun at things which aren't a choice"

What? White Collar Comedy Tour? Carlos Mencia?

Their whole acts are based around making fun of race and background. Although, technically, I don't laugh at them, so you may be right.
posted by graventy at 3:19 PM on February 10, 2007


(Also, I just noticed the title to this post, and um, d00d - Alanis is Canadian. Or was it ironic?)

Regardless of nationality; The fact that Alanis wrote a hit song called "Ironic" that has nothing to do with irony is, in fact, the best literal example of irony this generation will ever see.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 3:22 PM on February 10, 2007


Ever since learning the meaning of "taking the piss" I've wanted to use the phrase to describe mine or other's behavior, usually in chat rooms, but then I remember that none of my American friends would have a clue what I was talking about.
posted by artifarce at 3:27 PM on February 10, 2007


Cornetto is known as a Drumstick in North America, as far as I remember.
posted by bwg at 3:30 PM on February 10, 2007


Americans don't 'take the piss' a lot

Sez you buddy. My basic form of interaction with everyone I know is one long piss take, it's ceaseless. In fact, I find that I generally get along with English people for this very reason, they understand that I'm talking shit all the time and do it right back.
posted by Divine_Wino at 3:35 PM on February 10, 2007


Is he havin' a laugh?
posted by papakwanz at 3:35 PM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


He is far too kind, Americans are too stupid to understand irony or sarcasm, and on top of that, women are not funny.
posted by CameraObscura at 3:35 PM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


The author, like millions of Americans, suffers from irony-poor blood. It's amusing (although not ironic) that he is demonstrating no grasp of irony while claiming that Americans are perfectly good at it.

Irony involves retribution by the gods in some sense. It involves a sense of inescapable fate. Your actions to avoid that fate somehow cause either it or something even worse to happen, and it often involves death in some way. Examples:

You try all your life to eat healthy foods, but then die prematurely of a tofu allergy.
You hold your wedding indoors because you don't want to be rained on, but the sprinkler system goes off, drenching the entire party, on the perfectly sunny day.
You are the city planner, and on your way to an award for improving city traffic, you're caught in a jam and forced to miss the ceremony.

It's critically important that the steps you take to avoid an outcome cause that outcome or something similar to happen. If that part isn't present, whether it's funny or not, it's just coincidence or an unfortunate happenstance.

If you can't imagine a malicious God chuckling at the outcome, it's not irony.
posted by Malor at 3:38 PM on February 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm saving this essay for later (big fan of Shawn of the Dead, so I'm curious), but does anyone know if Spaced will ever be available in the US? I know they've run into some copyright issues with the soundtrack.
posted by brundlefly at 3:49 PM on February 10, 2007


Metafilter: one long piss take.

Malor, I agree with your definition of irony in a cosmic sense, but it need not always involve a situation which provokes the laughter of the gods. In its most basic and original sense, it refers to speech with an intentional double meaning. For instance, prefacing a comment by saying "with all due respect" -- which seems deferential, but actually allows for the possibility that the listener is due little or no respect at all. In speech, irony is sarcasm's slightly subtler and more playful cousin. See the difference between meanings 2 and 3 here (not meant as an authoritative source, just an example.
posted by Urban Hermit at 3:52 PM on February 10, 2007


I guess no one else got that joke either rpn. I was waiting for an answer too. (not british)
posted by vronsky at 3:58 PM on February 10, 2007


I have watched the Hot Fuzz trailer about half a dozen times this weekend and I piss myself at the moustache line everytime.

Does that mean you get yourself drunk, or that you are rendered incontinent with laughter? I'm an American—I get confused.
posted by felix grundy at 4:06 PM on February 10, 2007


Let's nurbate together.
posted by rlk at 4:08 PM on February 10, 2007


"The only joke in Shaun Of The Dead that never got a laugh in the States was Ed's request for a Cornetto ice cream at 8am on a Sunday morning"

vronsky, my best guess is that it's odd that someone would want ice cream for breakfast. Or perhaps Cornetto is associated with the late night drinking scene and thus would it would be comical to crave one first thing in the morning. But then, I'm not British either, so perhaps there is some cultural thing that we are missing.

Either way, it's such a throw away scene, particularly in that it immediately precedes that wonderful long uncut tracking shot of Shawn walking down the street, that it's easy for me to not worry about it.
posted by quin at 4:15 PM on February 10, 2007


I pretty much have nothing to add other than to say Simon Pegg really is pure comic genius, and if you haven't seen Spaced then stop wasting your time on MeFi and get yourself some DVDs. In fact, I might just have to squeeze in a quick episode before bed.
posted by Orange Goblin at 4:43 PM on February 10, 2007


The author, like millions of Americans, suffers from irony-poor blood. It's amusing (although not ironic) that he is demonstrating no grasp of irony while claiming that Americans are perfectly good at it.

Yeah.. except no. What you've detailed is one specific form of irony. It's not the only form of irony.

Hell, you can look at a dictionary definition of irony to see the others (the ones that are being talked about in this article):

1. the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning: the irony of her reply, “How nice!” when I said I had to work all weekend.

2. Literature.

a. a technique of indicating, as through character or plot development, an intention or attitude opposite to that which is actually or ostensibly stated.
b. (esp. in contemporary writing) a manner of organizing a work so as to give full expression to contradictory or complementary impulses, attitudes, etc., esp. as a means of indicating detachment from a subject, theme, or emotion.

3. Socratic irony.

4. dramatic irony.

5. an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.

6. the incongruity of this.

7. an objectively sardonic style of speech or writing.

8. an objectively or humorously sardonic utterance, disposition, quality, etc.

I would submit that what we're talking about in terms of both British and American comedy is usually a healthy does of #1 and #7/#8 (#1 is usually a byproduct of the other two) with a bit of #4 and #5, which are also closely related.

Of course the other forms also show up, but your suggestion that irony is strictly #5 and nothing else is, in fact, incorrect.

-----

Great article, by the way.
posted by The God Complex at 4:59 PM on February 10, 2007


Cities are just full of mass nurbation.
posted by Sparx at 5:02 PM on February 10, 2007


I thought he was doing fine until the bit about Friends. I too hated that show when it first aired. On seeing it again last week for the first time in years, it looks as dull as ever, though somewhat less repulsive than I remember it being: My senses must have dulled a little with age. But I still remember when Friends replaced Seinfeld as the definitive American TV sitcom. Between that and The Simpsons turning all stupid for a while, American television irony did seem to be fading away for a few years there. I'd guess that some credit should go to the ever-increasing cultural exchange with British TV comedy for reversing that trend. Too much American irony is still stuck at Stephen Colbert levels of subtlety, but I think it's getting better now. I hope Friends didn't do too much damage over there in England.
posted by sfenders at 5:13 PM on February 10, 2007


When you come up to the toll gate
The driver, he shout down to the man
I got pigs, I got horses, I got cows
I got sheep, I got all livestock, I got all livestock
I got all livestock

The man say, you alright boy just
Get on through, you don't have to pay me nothin
And then the train go through
And when he go through the tollgate
The train gotta have a little bit of steam
And a little bit of speed
And when the driver think he safely on the other side
He shouts back down the line to the man
I fooled you, I fooled you
I got pig iron, I got pig iron
I got all pig iron!


And that there's what you call pig irony.
posted by breezeway at 5:17 PM on February 10, 2007


Americans are the undisputed global masters of irony.

It's just that they are not usually aware they are doing it.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:39 PM on February 10, 2007


(just kidding)
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:44 PM on February 10, 2007


Interesting article, but I think the problem, and it's one that's hard to avoid unless you live in both countries, is that you end up basing your idea of humour off of tv shows and movies. Look around on the internet: the humour on the net by Americans is very different from the humour on the tv screen. And the humour in person different yet again. American tv is bad at irony, yeah, but from my personal experience in real life, not so much.
posted by Bugbread at 8:56 PM on February 10, 2007


Holidaying in Memphis I told the manager of a small hostel that I had to leave at 3am to catch a flight:

Manager: It would be easier if you checked out now.
Me [ironically]: Oh no, I expect to see you at 3am. Maybe breakfast too.
Manager [angrily]: I'm not getting up for you!

My anecdote categorically proves that America doesn't get irony.
posted by meech at 9:08 PM on February 10, 2007


This topic is so broad and deep that I fear wading in without a life preserver, GPS, and Coast Guard helicopter on standby.

meech: The reason he probably didn't "get it" is because americans make outrageous and ridiculous requests daily.

The ironic part is, quite likely, that the 10 people before you who had to leave at 3am did indeed expect him to be up to process them, possibly with breakfast.

(And yes, I did read your last sentence)

Of course, being America, this might be true, because they do all own guns and use them on a regular basis (just kidding). Americans can fully appreciate irony. They just don't feel entirely comfortable using it on each other, in case it causes damage. A bit like how we feel about guns.

That is some excellent work.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:02 PM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


I want those Happy Days clips.
Mrs C and Henry getting it on !!
posted by johnny7 at 10:53 PM on February 10, 2007


The Cornetto joke is based on a real life hangover cure (that the cast talk about in the commentary), but the humour comes from a half-asleep man wanting ice cream for breakfast. And Nick Frost's delivery sells the line. He should get more recognition. The man has natural comic timing and a great on-screen presence. He probably will get quite a bit of respect after Hot Fuzz, as he manages to overshadow Simon Pegg and is pretty much the comical/emotional heart of the film.

And yeah, Hot Fuzz is wicked fun. Pissed myself.
posted by slimepuppy at 2:41 AM on February 11, 2007


Ah, so that's it --- the Cornetto joke just isn't that funny, regardless of your pond view.
posted by DenOfSizer at 4:16 AM on February 11, 2007


Not enough respect being shown here to Simon Pegg's genius work in Big Train. I'm thinking especially of the smug man sketches, the best-assistant-in-the-world sketch and the Second World War dad sketch ('It's Billie isn't it?').
posted by Mocata at 5:21 AM on February 11, 2007


I'm saving this essay for later (big fan of Shawn of the Dead, so I'm curious), but does anyone know if Spaced will ever be available in the US? I know they've run into some copyright issues with the soundtrack.

The DVDs are available from Amazon, but only as Region 2.

From BBC America's schedule, it looks like they're re-airing it:
Monday, Feb. 12 - Ep 1 (5:00 AM ET), Ep 2 (5:30 AM ET)
Friday, Feb. 16 - Ep 6 (11:30 PM ET)
Friday, Feb. 23 - Ep 7 (11:30 PM ET)

That's all they've got listed for now.
posted by candyland at 7:16 AM on February 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


What Americans can't seem to do particularly well is farce.

Sure we do Urban Hermit, we just prefer to call it Foreign Policy.

Ducks off indeed.
posted by hotmud at 7:44 AM on February 11, 2007


Thanks for the heads up candyland. Setting dvr now.
posted by vronsky at 8:06 AM on February 11, 2007


Whenever I travel outside of America and then return I'm met with an immediate complaint: the rest of the world doesn't understand Gluttony.
posted by Peter H at 10:20 AM on February 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Monday, Feb. 12 - Ep 1 (5:00 AM ET), Ep 2 (5:30 AM ET)
Friday, Feb. 16 - Ep 6 (11:30 PM ET)
Friday, Feb. 23 - Ep 7 (11:30 PM ET)


I don't know, sometimes I wish there was a little bit more of America in BBC America . . . .y'know, like having a consistent weekly schedule for their five am broadcasts. It's really aggravating when they show the prisoner once, then wait two weeks to show it again, then only wait two days to show the next one, erasing the second episode before I even knew it was there . . .

I guess I'll just forget about irony and go back to watching 24 for its allusions to Greek tragedy. Jack Bauer's tragic flaw is that he loves torture.
posted by thecaddy at 10:25 AM on February 11, 2007


The Spaced DVD is available on Amazon's UK site for about $30 plus shipping. It's PAL and Region 2, but it's not that hard to find a way to jump either of those hurdles (VLC will do both if you don't mind watching them on your PC). The extras are definitely worth it.
posted by concrete at 2:18 PM on February 11, 2007


For all you Simon Pegg fans out there, Big Train is one of the best sketch comedy shows out there. It's not for everyone but if you're into their kind of humor it's amazing. It also stars Mark Heap who played Brian on Spaced.
posted by crashlanding at 3:49 PM on February 11, 2007


"Though it is useful to compare the British and American versions of The Office, which shows that Americans really can't do irony. Or at least not without help. It's punctuated by how many times the American version's actors look into the camera with that "Get it?" look, to help forcefeed the punchline."

You're wrong. For every mugging, there's an excellent reaction shot that's totally background. That show is a pretty damn fine mix of subtle and oafish, and that's the difference— the Brit one only really based its humor in bathos. (It was still really good, just different).

What I'd love to see is more Black Books, which is low on irony and big on bile (and sight gags).
posted by klangklangston at 4:20 PM on February 11, 2007


Blackadder .... funiest show ever!
posted by Pendragon at 4:01 AM on February 12, 2007


The episodes of Spaced on BBCA are edited for length: I think the original episodes are at least a few minutes longer than what BBCA shows. Still, very very funny.
Spaced consists of 14 episodes: two 7-episode "series" total.
The Brits somehow distill all the humor you'd find in a 23-episode season of any American sitcom into 7 episodes. It's that funny.
posted by Lord Kinbote at 7:53 AM on February 12, 2007


There are many types of irony, verbal, socratic, dramatic, etc. but I think this captures the essence of all of them:

Irony is something spoken to two audiences--one ignorant and one informed. The ignorant audience sees a single meaning, while the informed audience sees three--the ignorant (overt, usually) one, the informed one, and the knowledge of the ignorant audience's ignorance.
-- Elizabeth Higgins

(Of course the "ignorant" audience may be hypothetical. What's important is perceiving the contrast between how a real or imaginary ignorant audience would perceive the words or events and how they are actually meant.)
posted by straight at 10:12 AM on February 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Mandatory reading.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:16 PM on February 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


This weird: Simon Pegg is the guest driver on Top Gear tonight.
posted by dash_slot- at 12:28 PM on February 18, 2007


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