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March 4, 2010 3:39 AM   Subscribe

US Spaced. (SLYT)
posted by fearfulsymmetry (135 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Please excuse me: I have to go kill something now.
posted by Ritchie at 3:55 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why. Why? Why!
posted by slater at 4:00 AM on March 4, 2010


In the immortal words of the Shangri-Las, oh no. Oh no. Oh no, oh no, oh no...
posted by psychostorm at 4:03 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I thought the trailer was funny. I don't think that weirdness would work for a whole 30 minutes, though. Let alone a whole series.
posted by delmoi at 4:03 AM on March 4, 2010


What the hell is this? I was hoping for a documentary on the nascent American space rock scene, but I get whatever the hell this is instead.
posted by NoMich at 4:06 AM on March 4, 2010


UK Spaced
posted by Mwongozi at 4:07 AM on March 4, 2010


Hi face! Meet palm.
posted by vectr at 4:09 AM on March 4, 2010


*summons all the archness, condescension, and patrony buried under many years of thoroughly British shame and self-effacement*

No. No, I don't think so.
posted by Drexen at 4:14 AM on March 4, 2010


I am making a fart sound with my mouth.
posted by zerobyproxy at 4:15 AM on March 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


For the love of God, I hope Simon Pegg and the gang are making shitloads of money from this, because it reeks of fail.
posted by Harry at 4:18 AM on March 4, 2010


This would be a joke trailer about bad adaptations, rather than an actual trailer, right?

...right?
posted by him at 4:19 AM on March 4, 2010


Spaced USA has already been cancelled
posted by Mwongozi at 4:20 AM on March 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Oooohhhhhh, it's an American version of this.


I'm still waiting on that US space rock documentary that I was promised.
posted by NoMich at 4:23 AM on March 4, 2010


phew.
posted by vectr at 4:24 AM on March 4, 2010


The UK series was amazing. I'm very glad this got canned.
posted by Mikey-San at 4:27 AM on March 4, 2010


After heavy viewings of Spaced UK, The Office UK, and Peep Show, this made it obvious to me how exclusively I now associate wit and humor with British accents. The same exact jokes, transferred into a San Francisco apartment and delivered by American actors, sound flat, labored, and kind of sad.

Has there ever been an American show that made a single British person laugh? I guess it's OK, we're good at other things, like speed skating and making potato chips.
posted by cirripede at 4:29 AM on March 4, 2010


Has there ever been an American show that made a single British person laugh?

Trying to think of something that's not animated or a current-events satirical thing... hmmm...

uh....

Oh, Seinfeld. That was great.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:35 AM on March 4, 2010


Has there ever been an American show that made a single British person laugh?

I always felt Larry Sanders was pretty good (though I always felt a bit guilty actually laughing more at Seinfeld when BBC2 used to show then back to back in the middle of the night back in the day.

and making potato chips.

'Crisps'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:37 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was about to say Seinfeld, but then I remembered that was big when I lived in Australia. I've asked a few Brits about Seinfeld, and apparently it didn't make much of a splash here at all.
posted by vectr at 4:37 AM on March 4, 2010


I was about to say Seinfeld, but then I remembered that was big when I lived in Australia. I've asked a few Brits about Seinfeld, and apparently it didn't make much of a splash here at all.

It was shown on weekdays on BBC2 at about 11:30pm, so the lack of a splash is probably as much due to the scheduling as anything else.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:40 AM on March 4, 2010


Has anyone been able to track down the pilot for the failed American version of The IT Crowd?

It is weird when our cousins across the pond have their own versions stuff you're used to.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:42 AM on March 4, 2010


What the christ. I really wish they would just air the UK shows here. I mean, it's not like they created a Friends UK, or London Scrubs or whatever, right? They just stick them on the air. Just stick them on the air here, too, man.
posted by Jinkeez at 4:42 AM on March 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Simon Pegg is inimitable. Literally.
posted by Xoebe at 4:48 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Loads of American shows are v. funny and have made me laugh like a loon. Translated to British accents, they would sound just as weird. These things just have trouble transitioning sometimes.
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 4:48 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


What the christ. I really wish they would just air the UK shows here. I mean, it's not like they created a Friends UK

Well, there was this. And this.
posted by dng at 4:49 AM on March 4, 2010


Red Dwarf US
posted by permafrost at 4:55 AM on March 4, 2010


When the fuck will they stop fucking doing this?

Spaced... er, I guess I could see it working. I haven't actually seen the Life On Mars that they brought over, although I've heard it was awful. But US versions of UK comedies almost always end in tears. Just because they pulled it off with The Office, the Beeb now seems adamant about milking the US-version cow until the milk runs red.

I wasn't really actually angry about this until I found out that they were talking about remaking my beloved Shameless – fucking Shameless, people! – for the US. Now how the hell can this show ever be remade for the US? And with that weasel-faced William H Macy in the starring role, no less. Goddamnit.
posted by koeselitz at 4:58 AM on March 4, 2010


MAKE IT STOP!
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 5:01 AM on March 4, 2010


cirripede: “Has there ever been an American show that made a single British person laugh? I guess it's OK, we're good at other things, like speed skating and making potato chips.”

Well, I know Friends was huge in the UK. So we know those Brits aren't all comedic geniuses.
posted by koeselitz at 5:01 AM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I haven't actually seen the Life On Mars that they brought over, although I've heard it was awful.

If by "awful" you mean TOTALLY MINDBENDINGLY AWESOME.

(This is where I would post a link to The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, but You Tube took it down. [Shaking fist] YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUuuuu TUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUBE!!!!!)
posted by Lucinda at 5:03 AM on March 4, 2010


dng, there was a U.S. remake of Coupling.

I have never seen Spaced but based on the couple of minutes of the linked video that I watched, which were pretty bad, it looked better than a lot of shows that I have seen. Big Bang Theory comes to mind as something that is worse.
posted by ekroh at 5:06 AM on March 4, 2010


me: “I haven't actually seen the Life On Mars that they brought over, although I've heard it was awful.”

Lucinda: “If by "awful" you mean TOTALLY MINDBENDINGLY AWESOME.”

Wait - what? You seriously thought the US version of Life On Mars was "TOTALLY MINDBENDINGLY AWESOME" ? I mean, I loved the UK Life On Mars, or at least really enjoyed it, and when I saw that they were making a US version, I cringed hard. And if you really mean you loved the US version, then you are literally the first person out of many that I've spoken to that liked it. It just wasn't something you could duplicate, I don't think. Or are we talking about the same thing?

“(This is where I would post a link to The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, but You Tube took it down. [Shaking fist] YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUuuuu TUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUBE!!!!!)”

Yes, that sketch was indeed brilliant. Funny stuff. Those Comedy Lab people have done some hilarious things.
posted by koeselitz at 5:09 AM on March 4, 2010


You know, my wife and I watched Spaced and I don't know if it was that it was oversold to us or the fact that a lot of the refs were either dated or unfamiliar to us or simply that we have a hard time following rapidfire accents but...meh. It was OK, but it didn't blow us away.
posted by DU at 5:10 AM on March 4, 2010


In fact, I have to say that I remember watching the first twenty minutes of the US version of Life On Mars and then turning the fucker off because it was so goddamned slow and boring. I just couldn't take not having John Simm as Sam Tyler. And every actor just seemed so... wooden.
posted by koeselitz at 5:11 AM on March 4, 2010


I have to say that as someone without a dog in the fight (I watch comedy from both sides of the pond but am from neither), there are plenty of funny shows in the US and the UK.

They're just fundamentally different, which is where the fail comes in when a remake happens in either direction.

P.S. Space is awesome. The first season is quite a lot better (but less shiny) than the second.
posted by psolo at 5:19 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


doh. Spaced.

But also, SSSpppaaacccceee....
posted by psolo at 5:20 AM on March 4, 2010


Another miserable failure of a crossover: Little Britain USA. Why did anyone think this would be a good idea? It doesn't even make any goddamned sense.
posted by koeselitz at 5:23 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


cirripede: “After heavy viewings of Spaced UK, The Office UK, and Peep Show, this made it obvious to me how exclusively I now associate wit and humor with British accents. The same exact jokes, transferred into a San Francisco apartment and delivered by American actors, sound flat, labored, and kind of sad.”

I hate to say it, but I think I've started to do the same thing. There are UK shows I'm aware of that are not actually funny, but which I tend to laugh at before I realize how sort of dumb they are. The quintessential of these, I think, is Two Pints Of Lager, which is pretty much the UK equivalent of the stupidest of US sitcoms, really - but it has accents, so for five minutes at the beginning of an episode I often laugh my ass off before I notice the jokes are pretty much flat and stale and boring.

A big part of this, I think, has to do with the novelty of seeing people tell actual sex jokes on television. Which, of course, as an American viewer, I am not accustomed to at all.
posted by koeselitz at 5:31 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Everyone is way too pretty for it to be Spaced.
posted by The Whelk at 5:34 AM on March 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


Another miserable failure of a crossover: Little Britain USA. Why did anyone think this would be a good idea? It doesn't even make any goddamned sense.

To be fair, Little Britain itself is a terrible programme.
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 5:35 AM on March 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yeah you know how John Cleese famously said he never wanted to do a character with a catchphrase? Little Britian took that thought and ran in the opposite direction screaming and flailing about wildly.
posted by The Whelk at 5:47 AM on March 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have to say that I haven't actually enjoyed too many British comedy sitcoms. The fact that I don't get 1/2 of the references and/or understand the accents and just the general mean spirited nature of the humor keeps me from getting too much out of them.
posted by octothorpe at 5:48 AM on March 4, 2010


Something about Spaced which is oft over-looked. The direction is *tight*. There isn't a wasted millisecond. Every frame drives the plot, with lots of neat time compression devices. They managed to tell a fairly complex stories in a very short time. The only one I remember being floppy was the one where they all go to a rave, but part of that is just in comparison to the drum-tight stories that came before.
posted by The Whelk at 5:49 AM on March 4, 2010 [8 favorites]


Has there ever been an American show that made a single British person laugh?



....laaaaaa...the Simpsons
posted by The Whelk at 5:52 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm actually interested how this will turn out. The americanized version of The Office didn't appear to be headed towards success either at first (mostly due to the fact they were using the script of the UK series early in the first season). But once the direction changed a bit, its actually a pretty good show.
posted by samsara at 5:53 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah you know how John Cleese famously said he never wanted to do a character with a catchphrase? Little Britian took that thought and ran in the opposite direction screaming and flailing about wildly.


Yeah I know.
posted by The Mouthchew at 5:55 AM on March 4, 2010 [9 favorites]


Good then ! It is fun to know things. I enjoy it.
posted by The Whelk at 5:58 AM on March 4, 2010


Andy Pipkin reference. Sorry...
posted by The Mouthchew at 6:03 AM on March 4, 2010


I just got that and now I feel like an idiot
posted by The Whelk at 6:04 AM on March 4, 2010


I also thought Larry Sanders was great and laughed like a drain; recall the endless re-runs of Soap regularly raised a chuckle too, but then they were on very late and I was probably drunk while I was watching. Friends had the tight writing and some well-worked jokes/one-liners but didn't really do anything for me as a situation comedy. Nothing else is springing to mind though if asked I'd say there's plenty of good US comedy, so must have seen other stuff I liked.
posted by Abiezer at 6:09 AM on March 4, 2010


Little Britian took that thought and ran in the opposite direction screaming and flailing about wildly.

That's doubly weird as The Fast Show was essentially the last word on catchphrase sketch comedy years before. I suppose it's because they are easier to write- a dozen ideas you can do half a dozen variations on and you've got a series - than a standard sketch show or even a sitcom (not that it's impossible to be formulaic there) And Horne and Cordon can fuck off and die.

It's a inditement of the woeful state of UK comedy at the moment that the only stuff I've watched, and laughed at, recently are repeats of Dads' Army and 'Allo 'Allo
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:11 AM on March 4, 2010


And if you really mean you loved the US version, then you are literally the first person out of many that I've spoken to that liked it. It just wasn't something you could duplicate, I don't think. Or are we talking about the same thing?

Yes, I am talking about the US version, with Harvey Keitel and the guy from Sopranos and all that. I liked it. The ending was so completely out of frickin' NOWHERE, it was great.
posted by Lucinda at 6:20 AM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Suddenly I'm very relieved that The Mighty Boosh cannot be remade with different actors.
posted by GameDesignerBen at 6:20 AM on March 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


How many of you have seen this with fresh eyes?

I'm not American, but I also haven't seen the original Spaced. And this was very good -- I didn't entirely understand what was going on, but I wanted to watch the show. It had a fresh sort of weirdness that reminded me of Reaper.
posted by jb at 6:21 AM on March 4, 2010


I....
posted by minifigs at 6:26 AM on March 4, 2010


Reaper


uuuuuggggghhhh ...can we have a most wasted potential award or something? I've never seen a show set up such a good, usable premise (with Sam Wise!) and then proceed to do absolutely nothing with it or advance anything in any way and just kinda take a nap halfway through every episode. Never have I seen every aspect of a show, direction, lighting, script, acting, be that lazy and unfocused.
posted by The Whelk at 6:26 AM on March 4, 2010


Has 30 Rock made it over to the UK yet?
posted by Artw at 6:29 AM on March 4, 2010


Ye gods. That was frighteningly bad. Though perhaps jb has a point about fresh eyes; I know the original back to front.

On American shows – yeah, Larry Sanders was absolutely brilliant, especially Rip Torn. And I think that only me and my flatmates at the time watched its UK run, but about ten years ago some cable channel or other showed News Radio every night, and good god, it was about the funniest thing on TV at the time. I'll have to check it out again.

Oh, and more recently, there's been Arrested Development, easily the equal of Spaced in tightness and weirdness and – sporadically, though I've not seen later seasons, as they've been shunted off to some satellite channel – 30 Rock, the odd episode of which is some of the sharpest comedy writing I've seen in a while.

Thinking about it, though, none of the above have ever really had a big impact on the UK; they were shunted about the schedules (Larry Sanders in particular; BBC2 had this awful tendency to shift it from 1am on a Tuesday to 11:30pm on a Thursday, and then to midnight on Mondays, or whatever – and if I recall, they did the same with Seinfeld*), or were on niche channels, or barely shown at all.
posted by Len at 6:32 AM on March 4, 2010


Has there ever been an American show that made a single British person laugh?

Frasier.
posted by unSane at 6:32 AM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can I ask a question for all you British folks about Mitchell and Webb?

What is the general opinion of those guys in the UK? I think Peep Show is incredible, but, of course, it's not written by them. Of their sketch stuff that I've seen, I haven't really found it very funny. I think that them shilling for Mac kind of diminishes their Peep show glory. Where do they rate in the world of celebrity in the UK?
posted by orville sash at 6:35 AM on March 4, 2010


*Oops, forgot to add: Seinfeld is maybe the quintessential example of American comedy not crossing over, at least for me. From what I gather it was as huge in the US as Friends, but – bar a friend of mine who is particularly obsessive about it – it completely tanked over here. I could never get through a whole episode without groaning, and not just because of the slap bass interludes. Mind you, perhaps it was stymied from the start by the scheduling thing.
posted by Len at 6:36 AM on March 4, 2010


I dunno, US Spaced sort of reminded me of Twitch City, only interesting. And with Sara *Sigh* Rue!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:40 AM on March 4, 2010


I got into Seinfeld in the aftermath of 9/11. All the press conferences and such would be late at nought and we'd stay up to watch them, and once we were done with the twin horrors of terrorism and the Bush administration Seinfeld would be on.
posted by Artw at 6:40 AM on March 4, 2010


Ugh, that was lame. Why can't US tv networks just show the originals? The pop-culture references are dated now, but they wouldn't have been if they'd picked up Spaced at the time it was being made instead of waiting a decade to re-make it in a lazy translation.
posted by harriet vane at 6:41 AM on March 4, 2010


What is the general opinion of those guys in the UK?

The consensus – at least among everyone I know – is that Peep Show is something close to a work of squirming, uncomfortable yet hilarious genius, and that Mitchell and Webb's sketch shows are one-third excellent and two-thirds undercooked, lukewarm leftovers. (The radio version, on the other hand, is very good.)

David Mitchell pops up everywhere: name a panel show (Have I Got News For You; QI; etc.) and he'll either be on it or hosting it. This goes for radio as well as TV. Webb less so, though he has a lucrative line in ad voice-overs and droll documentary narration.

Panel shows, by the way (presenter, two teams of two or three; ostensibly quizzes, but more about jokes): they're a staple here and have been for decades. Why doesn't the US do them, seemingly at all (particularly because they're pretty cheap TV and the format is so adaptable)?
posted by Len at 6:43 AM on March 4, 2010


WTF Whelk, Reaper was awesome! It just had the misfortune of being stuck on the girl channel where no-one would watch it.
posted by Artw at 6:44 AM on March 4, 2010


Has 30 Rock made it over to the UK yet?

I'd be willing to give an American Peep Show a shot if 30 Rock people got behind it. Liz and Jenna's characters are pretty much female versions of Mark and Jeremy.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:46 AM on March 4, 2010


"People like you make me sick!"
posted by trillian at 6:47 AM on March 4, 2010


Suddenly I'm very relieved that The Mighty Boosh cannot be remade with different actors.

I think the american remake of The Mighty Boosh was called Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
posted by dng at 6:48 AM on March 4, 2010


Just cause your show is about a bunch of slackers doesn't mean your show should look and sound like it was made in an afternoon before class.
posted by The Whelk at 6:48 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can I ask a question for all you British folks about Mitchell and Webb?

I think Magicians and their terrible sketchshow did burn a lot of their comedic capital. They remain well loved, particularly Mitchell (although Webb's flashdance also went down well).

Seinfeld? Bloody awful.
posted by ninebelow at 6:48 AM on March 4, 2010


Why doesn't the US do them, seemingly at all (particularly because they're pretty cheap TV and the format is so adaptable)?

Well, The Marriage Ref is in the process of crashing and burning, so the format will probably not take off anytime soon.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:49 AM on March 4, 2010


Can we talk about that ..thing. The Marriage Ref? Seeing an ad for it is like having a bad dream, people keep admiring a plate of shit and talking about how wonderful and tasty it is and how it glistens so coyly and you're sitting there going "But it's ...a plate of shit."

Apparently the show exists cause Seinfield's wife had the idea after a fight they had where in they dragged a friend into it to "ref".
posted by The Whelk at 6:51 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Marriage Ref just makes me think that NBC is actually owned by Shinehart Wigs.
posted by The Whelk at 6:52 AM on March 4, 2010 [8 favorites]


I think The Marriage Ref is part of some soul-selling contract gone horribly wrong. It's been clear for decades that NBC requires certain actors to sign their souls over to them - fame in exchange for eternal servitude. This happened with the cast of Wings, Law and Order, and ER.

But somehow, something went wrong with the signing Jerry Seinfeld did. So rather than Seinfeld being stuck in with the people at NBC forever, the people at NBC are forever stuck in with him.

Cue Seinfeld beating the crap out of Matt Lauer at the NBC cafeteria lunch line.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:57 AM on March 4, 2010


Why the Marriage Ref Exists, apparently.
posted by The Whelk at 7:02 AM on March 4, 2010


Wait... people in the UK don't love the Mitchell & Webb skit show with the power of a thousand exploding suns? It's gotten as much play in my house as Black Books, Father Ted, IT Crowd, or the Peter Serafinowicz Show (we've been on a bit of a kick).

you stupid alions
posted by jtron at 7:03 AM on March 4, 2010


Okay, I haven't seen enough Spaced, but this was another one of those word-for-word remakes right? Why do they do this? WHY?

The Office only succeeded because NBC was patient enough to make it past the first few episodes that were too close to the original, and did not translate well. Coupling is a pretty enjoyable sex comedy, but the US casting was awful. If they think ____ has potential with an American audience why don't they just air the original?
posted by graventy at 7:03 AM on March 4, 2010


Oh, and talking of Has there ever been an American show that made a single British person laugh?

How could I forget M*A*S*H?
posted by Len at 7:07 AM on March 4, 2010


Legally, no one is allowed to forget M*A*S*H, like with Law & order, it is possible to find an episode of M*A*S*H on at any time of the day or night.
posted by The Whelk at 7:08 AM on March 4, 2010


Red Dwarf US

Jeebus, reading that made my neck cramp from the sudden spastic cringing. I can't even bring myself to look at the actual links...
posted by FatherDagon at 7:16 AM on March 4, 2010


A US Spaced was a terrible idea, and I am deeply happy that it did not progress beyond the pilot.

"People like you make me sick!"
posted by trillian at 2:47 PM on March 4 [+] [!]


Why the hell do I get this coming up on youtube when I try to open that video?!

"This video contains content from Channel 4, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds. "

I'm in Northern Ireland, a constituent (albeit contested) part of the United Kingdom. Stupid bloody copyright law.

My IP resolves to the UK as well. Argh!
posted by knapah at 7:17 AM on March 4, 2010


If they think ____ has potential with an American audience why don't they just air the original?

A few reasons, probably. The main one, I suspect, is because it's extremely rare indeed for a given season of any British sitcom to have more than six episodes (Spaced was seven, which makes it an oddity in this respect), and that doesn't really fit with US networks' scheduling concerns. I mean, most American sitcom seasons run to 20+ episodes, yes?

There's also the fact that – in comparison to American sitcoms – British ones are filthy. Lots of swearing and off-colour jokes, the cutting out of which would often either ruin the show or make it incomprehensible. Plus, I can't imagine a US network sitcom tolerating off-hand and totally normal drug consumption at all – can you imagine the cast of Friends necking a few pills and havin' it large?

On preview: Legally, no one is allowed to forget M*A*S*H, like with Law & order, it is possible to find an episode of M*A*S*H on at any time of the day or night.

Would that that were true over here. (Not so much with Law & Order, mind.) All we get in this category is CSI, Friends and Top Gear.
posted by Len at 7:17 AM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Everyone is way too pretty for it to be Spaced.

It’s the same on The Office, the American actors are better looking then people on the British version. Apparently it's pretty common for BBC shows to cast 'normal looking' people whereas in the U.S. Actors are generally pretty good looking compared to the baseline.

Anyway, I kind of people who love British sitcoms am a bunch of indy-rock-petes who just like them because they're exotic, foreign, and different or something.

The whole elitism thing is just a bit over the top, the idea that Americans can't possibly make anything funny, that a British person wouldn't ever laugh at an American sitcom, etc. It's ridiculous. The Office shows that it is possible to carry over an idea, and apparently the people making this remake weren't as good as the people making the originals, but that doesn't mean it would have been an impossible task.
posted by delmoi at 7:18 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Plus, I can't imagine a US network sitcom tolerating off-hand and totally normal drug consumption at all – can you imagine the cast of Friends necking a few pills and havin' it large?


Yeeeah, I was just thinking of that great one-second scene where Daisy And Tim attempt to order a beer while completely stoned and thinking "Yah that'll never get on broadcast (ha! that word is now useless!) TV".
posted by The Whelk at 7:21 AM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Incidentally, I've always thought it would be fundamentally impossible for the US version to replicate Mike. A view borne out by watching the video.

I don't think the Territorial Army weekend warrior (or "Rough Rambler") type translates well across the atlantic.
posted by knapah at 7:21 AM on March 4, 2010


The Office shows that it is possible to carry over an idea, and apparently the people making this remake weren't as good as the people making the originals, but that doesn't mean it would have been an impossible task.

Also, All in the Family, Sanford & Son, Three's Company...
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:21 AM on March 4, 2010


dng, there was a U.S. remake of Coupling.

To our everlasting shame.
posted by scalefree at 7:22 AM on March 4, 2010


An american version of the movie Death At A Funeral is being released soon. Goes from white british folk to black american folk, 90% the exact... same... movie. The point where I ROFL'd is that it's the same midget in each version.
posted by lizbunny at 8:07 AM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


The worst part of these dreadful remakes, is that they always seem to use actors that I otherwise enjoy. I feel sort of obligated to give it a chance based on the source material and cast, but I just fucking know I am going to regret it.

It was pretty clear that McSpaced in particular was going to fail, because Wright, Pegg, and Hynes weren't involved or even approached about the remake. And how something like that can even happen just blows my mind.
posted by quin at 8:07 AM on March 4, 2010


Lizbunny, OMG it is literally A Blaffair To Rememblack!
posted by The Whelk at 8:09 AM on March 4, 2010


Still...it's Sara Rue...and I loves me some Sara Rue. (Well, actually, I love all of Sara Rue)
posted by inturnaround at 8:14 AM on March 4, 2010


Previously, on Metafilter

It was pretty clear that McSpaced in particular was going to fail, because Wright, Pegg, and Hynes weren't involved or even approached about the remake. And how something like that can even happen just blows my mind.

They didn't own the rights - it was owned by a production company that was trying to trade off the popularity of Simon Pegg after Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.

The thing about Spaced that made it special is that it was written by and drew heavily on the personal experiences of Simon Pegg, Jessica Hynes (née Stevenson), and rest of the cast and crew of the show. It was nuanced as all get out. The clip in the FPP was good, and shows how good the scripts were, but also how much more went into the UK version.

Frankly, I always thought that a US version should have taken just the premise, and not the literal characters and script. It should have created their own characters, like a fictionalized Diablo Cody and Seth Green, and explored their journey to success and adulthood.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:27 AM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


My god, it's full of suck.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:34 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


You think that was bad? YOU THINK THAT WAS BAD?

(For those who don't quite understand, here is a short (19-second) but representative clip from the original British version of 'The Thick Of It'. Probably not safe for work.)
posted by Hogshead at 8:51 AM on March 4, 2010


"Has there ever been an American show that made a single British person laugh?"

well i laughed at Taxi, WKRP, No Soap Radio, Shandling show, seinfeld (which i consider a partial rip of shandling - same premise etc), frasier, cheers. also south park but thats canadian...
posted by marienbad at 9:02 AM on March 4, 2010


I watched part of the clip. I got so mad and afraid. Then I read it had already been cancelled. I wooped with joy.
posted by cavalier at 9:04 AM on March 4, 2010


Has there ever been an American show that made a single British person laugh?

Frasier.


Find me that person's name, then. I've got some questions.
posted by Spatch at 9:04 AM on March 4, 2010


GOD THINGS MAKE ME ANGRY WHEN PEOPLE DO THEM
posted by grubi at 9:08 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Has there ever been an American show that made a single British person laugh?

Nope. Never. Americans know nothing about comedy. British people do. That's why no Brit will ever laugh at American comedy. Ever.

EVER.

You are quite astute at pegging that issue.
posted by grubi at 9:12 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's the consensus on Ideal? I've caught it a few times on IFC here in the States, and thought it was pretty funny - though it is the first British show I've seen where I've serious trouble understanding a few accents.
posted by schoolgirl report at 9:18 AM on March 4, 2010


also south park but thats canadian

No, it's American.
posted by spaltavian at 9:19 AM on March 4, 2010


If you want more suffering: here is a script for the US pilot (embedded flash or PDF). Or if you'd like someone to suffer for you, here's a review of the US pilot script, and a review of the pilot itself.

But if you want something happy, here's a rough script for a Spaced short, written up by Simon Pegg and planned to be shot on DV, then posted "virally" online as a reply to what he called "the McSpaced situation."
posted by filthy light thief at 9:37 AM on March 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Has there ever been an American show that made a single British person laugh?

Ricky Gervais "I can't stand Brit comedy"

Part of it is a "where you live" issue. Most Americans if they've seen British comedies, have only seen the ones that everyone flips out over (unless they specifically seek out Brit comedy). Similarly, Ricky Gervais surely hasn't watched the endless pilots for every half-assed sitcom some major network has spewed out over the years. He just watched Arrested Development, rightly noted it was AMAZINGLY THE BEST EVER, and decided American comedy was better. The percentage of quality to crap from each country is probably fairly similar, we just produce more shows (and more episodes, for more seasons), so it's easy to be so distracted by season 8 episode 20 of Two and a Half Men or whatever.
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:53 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also I loved the original UK Coupling, and then had a horrible time with the terrible U.S. version that was the same thing with Americanized jokes and less interesting actors, however, I caught one episode that was a new script for the American version, and actually laughed and sortof liked it.
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:55 AM on March 4, 2010


Has there ever been an American show that made a single British person laugh?

Parks & Recreation, 30 Rock, Arrested Development, Samantha Who?, The Middle, Family Guy, Robot Chicken, Modern Family, My Name Is Earl, The Simpsons, Cheers, South Park, Gary Shandling Show, Soap, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Community, Gary Unmarried, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Boondocks, Cheers, Friends, Roseanne, Scrubs, How I Met Your Mother, Reaper. That's all without digging through my video collection...
posted by i_cola at 10:01 AM on March 4, 2010


this was not very good. this is stupid. "it's exactly the same... but in america!" well thank god cos i just wouldn't get that crazy british thing otherwise. they're all, british n shit.

seriously spaced is one of my fave shows ever but it's so insulting to think they can just plop it in san francisco and regurgitate it . NO
posted by jcruelty at 10:02 AM on March 4, 2010


GOD WHY DO THEY DO THAT THING I DON'T LIKE

WHY DON'T THEY DO THE THING I DO LIKE
posted by grubi at 10:06 AM on March 4, 2010


There seems to be an inordinate amount of my countrymen who think Frasier is a documentary about Seattle, which is weird now I live here, and have to keep telling them that in fact Frasier is nothing like Seattle and is in fact more of a thinly veiled east coast city.

On the other hand, it is true that I can only think of two or three other British person that like Seinfeld. I think it's the "biddly-boo-bop" sounds and the stand up bits, both of whicha re indeed kind of nauseating.
posted by Artw at 10:08 AM on March 4, 2010


here's a rough script for a Spaced short,

Damn, I really wish they had filmed that, it would have been a great little follow up.
posted by quin at 10:11 AM on March 4, 2010


Has there ever been an American show that made a single British person laugh?

There's The Venture Bros., but that only makes married British people laugh. It's true!

Incidentally, I've always thought it would be fundamentally impossible for the US version to replicate Mike. A view borne out by watching the video.

I didn't watch that much of the video, but Michael Gross in Tremors isn't that far off. Just make him part of a larger survivalist club instead of a hermit.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:30 AM on March 4, 2010


In fact, I have to say that I remember watching the first twenty minutes of the US version of Life On Mars and then turning the fucker off because it was so goddamned slow and boring. I just couldn't take not having John Simm as Sam Tyler. And every actor just seemed so... wooden.

You know, I went in expecting it to be horrible I almost thought it was, but I kept watching. Maybe it was just wanting to see the train wreck, but it got better. Much better. Much like the US Office, it became not a version of the UK show, but its own thing. That's the point it went from meh to wow. They did an awesome job of what I would imagine mid-70's NYC was (according to friends who were there, they did a pretty good job), and the use of music was great.

That's just my opinion, but there's room for lots of things in this world. For the record, I hated the idea of a US Spaced, having imported DVDs from the UK several years before it was available here and loving it quite possibly more than either my first or second wife.
posted by pupdog at 10:45 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Giving Mike access to actual real guns would be missing the point a little.
posted by Artw at 10:50 AM on March 4, 2010


Incidentally, I've always thought it would be fundamentally impossible for the US version to replicate Mike.

I think The Office did a really good job with translating Gareth into Dwight, actually, and I see Gareth as a sort of nastier version of Mike -- obsessed with the TA as the defining feature of his personality and manhood. With Dwight, they just kind of went with bizarre rural self-sufficiency-bordering-on-survivalism. Mike wouldn't be hard to translate similarly; just some friendly guy who likes being out in the woods, making waterwheels for an imagined "homestead", who loves talking about hunting rifles and how to properly create a shelter out of ferns. A sort of possibly-inept-Cliff-Clavin-by-way-of-Thoreau kind of guy.

Definitely not the Halo-playing frat boy shown in the hilariously inept OP link, though.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:32 AM on March 4, 2010


"Has there ever been an American show that made a single British person laugh?"

Grounded for Life
posted by NiteMayr at 12:09 PM on March 4, 2010


Can't we just skip to the end? Where we realize, through intellect and evidence, that there's good stuff and bad stuff out there and whether it's a derivative or not doesn't determine its quality?

Or not so much?
posted by grubi at 12:27 PM on March 4, 2010


i live in seattle.
we have a bar here called the hideout.
you can meet people there just like the ones in the video every night.

i don't get the hate.
i quit watching television back in the 80s when they let lynch have a show.
that was the final straw for me.

this has all the earmarks of something that would make me squirm so much i'd pay my local art bar to show it just so we could all drink whenever mister anger-fear-aggression-pain popped up and have a great night glaring at each other. it beats drinking every time frank says 'fuck!' in blue velvet; you might make it to the end of the episode.
posted by artof.mulata at 2:34 PM on March 4, 2010


The Whelk: “Yeah you know how John Cleese famously said he never wanted to do a character with a catchphrase? Little Britian took that thought and ran in the opposite direction screaming and flailing about wildly.”

Well, you can't say Little Britain was a complete failure. I admit it was sort of shit when you actually paid attention, but on the brighter side they pulled off something I hardly thought possible: they actually managed to make sexual and toilet humor boring. I swear, I felt like fucking Margaret Thatcher watching that show. Weirdest thing.

orville sash: “Can I ask a question for all you British folks about Mitchell and Webb? ¶ What is the general opinion of those guys in the UK? I think Peep Show is incredible, but, of course, it's not written by them. Of their sketch stuff that I've seen, I haven't really found it very funny. I think that them shilling for Mac kind of diminishes their Peep show glory. Where do they rate in the world of celebrity in the UK?”

I'm just an American, and therefore can't speak to UK perception of M & W, but – if you thought That Mitchell and Webb Look, their more popular and common sketch show, was sometimes interesting but relatively unfunny, you should do yourself a favor and dig up their first sketch show, The Mitchell and Webb Situation. It's several orders of magnitude better, and though it was unfortunately cancelled pretty quickly and generally ignored when it first ran (long before they had the level of fame they do now) it's a hell of a lot funnier, I think.

The Whelk: “Legally, no one is allowed to forget M*A*S*H, like with Law & order, it is possible to find an episode of M*A*S*H on at any time of the day or night.”

I'm glad you reminded me – there is actually a UK version of Law and Order, it's in its second season right now. And frankly it's fucking awful, in the sort of boring way a lot of UK dramas are awful. Of course, I'm one of the odd birds who likes the original a bit (at least early seasons) so I don't know if I'm a great judge.
posted by koeselitz at 3:37 PM on March 4, 2010


marienbad: “also south park but thats canadian...”

I know this has been said, but I just wanted to chime in and point out that South Park is indeed USian. I am required by my provenance to do this, because South Park is almost certainly the only TV comedy we Coloradoans have ever produced, and it's a damned good one.
posted by koeselitz at 3:41 PM on March 4, 2010


"And with that weasel-faced William H Macy in the starring role, no less. Goddamnit."

I'm British. Can we get a minus vote button in here, please?
posted by nthdegx at 4:18 PM on March 4, 2010


i don't get the hate.
i quit watching television back in the 80s when they let lynch have a show.
that was the final straw for me.


Sorry about the lawn, I'll pay more attention next time. ;)

this has all the earmarks of something that would make me squirm so much i'd pay my local art bar to show it just so we could all drink whenever mister anger-fear-aggression-pain popped up and have a great night glaring at each other. it beats drinking every time frank says 'fuck!' in blue velvet; you might make it to the end of the episode.

What you're not getting is that this is a remake of an utterly brilliant bit of TV done 10 years ago across the pond. A show that was well written, paced, acted, directed, pretty much whatever good things you wanted to say about it. There's links to it further up thread, and it's on Hulu right now if you want to check it all out.
posted by pupdog at 4:22 PM on March 4, 2010


"Has there ever been an American show that made a single British person laugh?"

Dunno about laugh but Phil Silvers' kids better be getting paid large for the repeats that Bilko gets in the UK.
posted by John Shaft at 4:54 PM on March 4, 2010


At least the American version of the Office is still sharp as a tack and getting better all the time. We done good!
posted by Mael Oui at 8:55 PM on March 4, 2010


pupdog! i read all that upthread stuff and still couldn't get it. even if the original is that much better how could someone not be into this remake? it is completely disturbing. fuck. it's terrifying.

okay. i'll check out the original. and if i die from inhalation then someone please sockpuppet me. i do not want it to be known that video killed the ___ star.

oh yeah: GETOFFAMYLAWN!
posted by artof.mulata at 10:37 PM on March 4, 2010


artof.mulata: “i'll check out the original.”

Well, you should; I think you've gotten an entirely mistaken idea of what the show's like from clips here and there. I mean, the thread title here is in no way representative of the general tone of it all - it's really not tortured and strange. The whole point of the title's quote was to sort of lampoon artsy grim types, and the guy featured in that clip is actually quite fun. The tone of the show in general is really more goofy and geeky; in one episode Simon Pegg cries at the end of watching Return Of The Jedi, for god's sake. It's really silly and fun, honestly, and if you go into it expecting silly and fun I think you'll find it more rewarding. It's sort of smart, yeah, but the point isn't to be intellectually clever; it's to be genuinely funny. If you've seen Simon Pegg's movies, Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz, you'll probably have a better idea of what to expect, to be honest.
posted by koeselitz at 11:32 PM on March 4, 2010


Oh, and if you want a better intro to the feel of it, you'd probably be better starting with the first episode of the second season.
posted by koeselitz at 12:10 AM on March 5, 2010


Well, I know Friends was huge in the UK. So we know those Brits aren't all comedic geniuses.

A cursory glance at 90% of British comedic output would tell you the same thing.
posted by vbfg at 2:01 AM on March 5, 2010


FWIW though, some of the biggest American successes have been retreads of British hits. Stanford and Son for instance, and All in the Family.

And there have been British conversions of American shows that are equally as disastrous. Brigton Belles was the Golden Girls, and a nation of jaws hit the floor thirty seconds in to the first episode.
posted by vbfg at 2:07 AM on March 5, 2010


"Has there ever been an American show that made a single British person laugh?"

The Gary Shandling Show. It made me laugh anyway, when I was twelve and had a TV in my room and headphones to try and hide that I was watching Channel 4 past midnight on a schoolnight. I also seem to be the only British person to remember it.

It made me ridiculously excited to hear of Larry Sanders which, again, I loved.
posted by vbfg at 2:10 AM on March 5, 2010


As icola has pointed out, there are plenty of good US comedies which are well received over here. The over-riding feeling of the 'live action' ones is a kind of coy prissiness (just as there is in anything that is made over here with the US market in mind), with only South Park, Family Guy and American Dad seemingly willing to push the envelope a bit. The majority of stuff on adult swim is just plain stupid; ATHF and Sealab and Robot Chicken having a lot of potential, but seemingly wanting to squander it for a quick squick joke.

Why don't US comedy producers follow Hollywood's lead and make series based on board games? Laugh at the comic stylings of the Trivial Pursuits geeks, or the lexical antics of the Scrabble crew. Ha.

Or, you know, have an original idea of their own.
posted by asok at 5:53 AM on March 5, 2010


Eh, I just want to chime in here and say that there is no dearth of original ideas in Hollywood. It's full of 'em. The problem is that studios and broadcasters (often the same people -- sony/cbs, nbc/universal etc) are SCARED STIFF of original ideas because they do not know how to predict the payoff from them. Everyone knows how much business Terminator and Harry Potter did, and Alice is a safe bet because everybody's heard of it. But a genuinely fresh idea -- the marketing departments scratch their head and say it's too big a risk.

This is why indie movies generally are much fresher. However, the pool of indie finance is shrinking and shrinking. Indies used to be the farm teams but those days are largely over. And so the studios feed on themselves, and Marvel, and Hasbro.

It won't last for ever -- something has to give -- but please don't blame the writers and producers for not having original ideas. They do, every day. The responsibility lies with the corporations, who just aren't interested in them.
posted by unSane at 6:24 AM on March 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


>>Everyone knows how much business Terminator and Harry Potter did

My god. That's how I'll make my fortune. A sexy American Harry Potter Hogwarts hour long drama series. CW, here I come!!!!!
posted by spec80 at 11:59 AM on March 5, 2010


I stumbled on this thread as I was idly dupe-checking for a slo-mo finger-gunfight flash mob, which I might post, but the bit about the American Life on Mars caught my attention:

koeselitz: I haven't actually seen the Life On Mars that they brought over, although I've heard it was awful.

Lucinda: The ending was so completely out of frickin' NOWHERE, it was great.

I'll second it: that ending was stunning. I laughed at its audaciousness.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:15 PM on March 23, 2010


I'll jump back in just for this - the ending to the US Life On Mars was definitely way out there. The story, as I understand it is the producers had a much longer story planned out for Sam to actually get home, but when they figured out that one season was all they were going to get they approached the network with this idea. Apparently, for once, the suits said 'go with it'.
posted by pupdog at 9:12 AM on March 27, 2010


So, er - don't know if anybody'll catch this in their Recent Activity, but -

I've been working my way through the US version of Life on Mars, and it's sort of... okay. I think it would be awesome if I'd never seen the UK version before. But up above pupdog says that it gets better, that it becomes its own thing.

I'm seven episodes in, and the plots are still all just lifted from the UK version. Argh. There's some neat stuff in the recreation of 70s NY here, but I'm going crazy knowing exactly what's going to happen. Is there some point at which things start getting better? Or should I just jump ahead to the last episode? I'm starting to think I might.
posted by koeselitz at 9:55 PM on March 28, 2010


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