Wednesday, January 18, 2006

British TV

I blame Fawlty Towers. (Full disclosure: again, I haven't watched more than about 10 minutes of it) As soon as John Cleese, the most recognizable of the Pythons, at least in hindsight, shifted gears from existential sketch madness of The Flying Circus into what would be considered a good American sitcom, he made the telecrati in the US think that British television was somehow superior. Prior to that point, the pasty nation was as famous for hour-long specials on cheese making as they were for bad teeth and forward thinking racial policies.

Don't get me wrong, the 10 minutes of Fawlty Towers that I have seen were as enjoyable a 10-minute televiewing interval in my life as many others. But I question whether 10 minutes of FT is more bang per comedy minute than 10 minutes of Sienfeld. Likewise, can Father Ted hold a candle to Arrested Development? The Office to Curb Your Enthusiasm. Jesus, reading that list has made me realize that Father Ted and Sienfeld are the only two of them that I have any amount of experience. That having been said, let's turn away from comedy until such time as I've seen enough of it to pronounce anything.

Drama - now there's something the Brits REALLY suck at. The American heavyweight champions in this category hardly need any introduction - Law & Order, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under - to mention only the ones I've actually seen! Have you SEEN an episode of The Bill? Whimpole? The Avengers? No, neither have I. But then, it's not for no reason at all. Unlike the CSIs, which I hate because they are overwrought and idiotic (and because David Caruso's waist up profile makes my back hurt), I hate the Bill et al because they simply look stupid. I don't need to watch a complete episode to know I don't like them. I've never read Mien Kampfe either, but I suspect ain't exactly Dan Brown - you know what I'm sayin? By the way, I only watched CSIs because once upon a time I lived with someone who would scarcely watch anything else. I did so under duress. Had I had my drothers, we would have been watching Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm and BOTH versions of The Office.

2 Comments:

Anonymous djpegleg said...

I feel ya...a little bit. Sure, Faulty Towers and Father Ted and even the vastly overrated Young Ones are wack. And I'm with you railing against America's misguided Anglophilia, but you are wrong to suggest that the Brits don't know anything about drama, and dropping the Avengers as an example is like a Brit throwing out the Waltons. There's also some current-ish comedy shows that blow Curb or most other American comedy shows out of the water. Here's a little list to have you netflixing for a while:

MI-5
Prime Suspect
Cracker
Peepshow
Royle Family
Extras

Try those and see how they work for you. The best thing about British tv is the fact that most "seasons" are only six episodes long, so if you don't like it, it won't take long to get through. And, yes, you are completely correct that CSI sucks ass.

5:08 PM  
Anonymous djpegleg said...

My bad, I didn't realize you were Canadian. I guess we should be discussing Due South or Trailer Park Boys or something. But, go ahead and rail against your fellow Canadians for their Anglophilia and I'll rail against my countrymen for their's.

5:12 PM  

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