Friday, March 5, 2010

A Little More Anglophilia

Funny. (And frustratingly un-embeddable).

Not funny. (And I refuse to dignify it with embedding. I refuse!)

Honestly, watching those two clips back to back is like a seminar in good comedy in about twelve minutes. And it really does make the American viewing public look like a bunch of dumb, unintuitive neanderthals. Which clearly they aren't, since Spaced is almost entirely based on American film styles, tropes and references. They just do it better.

For those who don't know the series, Spaced takes just about the oldest premise in the world and makes it fresh and original: Tim (Simon Pegg) and Daisy (Jessica Stevenson) pretend to be a couple to score a sweet flat that's only available to a couple. They're both coming off of rocky break-ups and console each other with pop culture references, recreational drug use and attempts at making careers as artists. That's pretty much it. It's a thin premise and after 14 episodes, it was all done. And it's nearly flawless. I'm not even kidding. The episodes are loopy, scattershot and, often, patently bizarre. They avoid sentiment or obvious developments (though, in the second series, Tim and Daisy do kind of become a couple...but not in a cheesy Ross-and-Rachel way). It's clever, well-done television. And you can see very clearly why from these clips.

Look at the scene where the fake-couples entertain their new neighbor. In the British version, they're active, engaged in continuing the deception, getting tripped up and needing to come up with more outrageous stories to cover their outrageous stories. There's tension and surprise and some just plain funny gags. In the American "translation," yeah, none of that. Lame, standard "sitcom" jokes, and the "wacky artist" is entirely the butt of the jokes for the attractive fake-couple. The actual words are basically the same, but it's all wrong.

Comedy is a strange, delicate flower, isn't it?

1 comment:

joshcon80 said...

los the star of the brilliant play, "Abigail's Party") is amazingly beautiful.

"Hello, Brian."

The American remakes of Kath & Kim and Ab Fab were horrendous. This will be no different.