Laughter is the best medicine. And nobody does humor better than the Brits. It’s the nation that has given us Monty Python, Blackadder and Little Britain. So here at COED we have decided to come up with a tentative list of 8 British shows that should be americanized. Tentative list since translating British shows for American screens wasn’t always successful. See what we mean? But we love British shows. And when there is will, there is a way, right?
The Royle Family is a mix of Seinfeld (show about nothing) and the Office (the awkward pause). Arguments, meals, breastfeeding, grooming and plenty of farts – it all happens in one family’s living room. And always (ALWAYS) with the television on. Written by Caroline Aherne (who plays the character of Denise) and Craig Cash (who plays the character of her husband Dave) the series centers on Royles, a working class family living in Manchester area of United Kingdom. J. K. Rowling is a big fan.
Possible spin-off – the concept would stay the same but it would be down-on-luck family in Pittsburg or Detroit.
Reality show produced by Channel 4 sees four amateur cook (or amateur celebrity cook around Easter and/or Christmas) take turns to throw a lavish dinner party one night of the week and compete for the prize of 1000 pounds to spend (or donate to charity in case of celebrities). Things burn, people bicker, cheat and snoop in other people’s closets. Food gets eaten (eventually) and then bitched about (profusely).
Possible spin-off – keep everything the same including the narrator Dave Lamb because even though there are plenty of characters on the show it’s the voice-over that will leave you snickering.
The customer is king, right? Not for Basil Fawlty. If there ever was a fictional bed & breakfast owner that hated his guests with a fiery passion of thousand suns then it was Basil Fawlty. What is even better he didn’t even try to hide his contempt. Written by John Cleese and Connie Booth Fawlty Towers followed the escapades of Basil Fawlty, an owner of a small B & B located in Torquay (aka the English Riviera). His wife Sybil terrifies him while Polly, the maid and Manuel, the bumbling waiter from Spain try to help Basil when things go wrong. And things wrong. ALL. The. Time.
Possible spin-off – after Sybil leaves Basil for her golf instructor Basil decides to move shop to Santa Barbara and take Manuel with him. Much to Basil’s chagrin his American customers do think the customer is king.
Skins has already been snapped up by MTV and Inbetweeners has been snapped by ABC. Written by Damon Beesley and Iain Morris (both have also written for Flight of the Conchords) it follows the story of a group of suburban teenagers who are not cool enough to hang out with the cool crowd and not geeky enough to bond with the geeks. Main character is Will McKenzie (played by Simon Bird) who moves to public school from a posh private school after his parents divorce and his mum cannot longer afford the tuition. While Skins is a bit wanton and not really realistic Inbetweeners hits more closer to home (and is hilariously funny).
Possible spin-off – already in the works.
Are You Being Served? is a British institution. Written by Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft the series was set in the ladies and gentlemen clothing section in posh department store Grace Brothers. Are You Being Served? was known for taking the mickey out of British class system (hierarchy was strictly observed at Grace Brothers), plenty of innuendo, ridiculous costumes and tons of one liners. And regarding the clip below – get your mind out of the gutter, Ms Slocombe is talking about her cat.
Possible spin-off – sit-com about ladies and gentlemen department at Macy’s. They have no qualms about stealing each other customers but they always have lunch together. And never sit with the perfume ladies (they are so common).
A panel show hosted by Stephen Fry where guests (usually comedians) show off their knowledge or (more often) ignorance on a wide variety of topics. Since questions are always obscure panelists are given points if a) their answers are correct (which doesn’t happen often) and b) if their answers are interesting (happens all the time). Also points can be deducted if the answer is both incorrect and horribly obvious. But good luck in trying to figure out their points system, it makes no sense at all.
Possible spin-off – fashion panel show hosted by Tim Gunn. He does have a) encyclopedic knowledge of fashion and b) sufficient vocabulary to puzzle the panelists
Written by Graham Linehan the IT Crowd is set in the IT department of a large corporation called Reynholm Industries. The sum of the department is two geeky (and a bit lazy) IT technicians and one «relationship manager» and the head of IT department Jen (who knows nothing about computers). The IT department is located in a dingy, horrible looking basement and the IT dudes are scorned and often ignored by the rest of the employees. Unless of course their computer is not working. But there is no love lost – Roy and Moss made reel tapes (one contains phrase have you tried turning it off and on again?) to avoid dealing with real humans.
Possible spin-off – pilot already filmed for NBC. And luckily Linehan worked on the script.
Meet Steve and Becky. They are in their 20s, have no ambition or career prospects, they live off benefits and all they are interested in is eating, sleeping, drinking and having sex. And not necessarily in that order. Latest sit-com by BBC Him & Her is funny, painfully honest and candid look at one relationship and two people who do not have much interest in anyone (or anything) else but each other.
Possible spin-off – given the current economic climate this series could be set anywhere in the United States.