Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Am I missing something?

I wanted to like "Little Britain USA" (10:30 p.m. ET, Sunday, HBO). Not just like it, I wanted to love it. From "Fawlty Towers" to "Extras," I've always had a thing for comedy imported from across the pond. I love the way British series can be layered and nuanced and smart and silly and laugh-out-loud funny, all at the same time. But have I been giving the English too much credit? I've already forgiven them the awfulness that was "Coupling." "Little Britain USA," with it's gross unfunniness, is another shot to my Anglophilia.

The show stars Matt Lucas and David Walliams, and focuses on several characters made famous in the BBC's "Little Britain" series, including Marjorie Dawes, who heads a weight-loss group called "Fat Fighters;" Vicki Pollard, a working-class teen; and Daffyd Thomas, a young Welsh man who constantly claims to be "the only gay in the village." New characters include Mark and Tom, bodybuilding buddies, and a drug-obsessed grandmother named Mildred.

As far as I can guess by three episodes, "Little Britain USA" consists of endless fat jokes, gay jokes, broad comedy and shocking simply for the sake of shocking. In the world of edgy comedy I suppose the un-PCness could be forgiven if the show didn't commit the bigger comedic sin of unfunnyness.

I keep wanting there to be more to this comedy to redeem it--some social critique hidden in the folds of the latex-laden fat women, some sly meaning in the ill-mannered working class teens, some slap at homophobia in the constant hints at anal sex. But no, "Little Britain USA" seems to be just what it is.

So, I take you readers as savvy consumers of pop culture. Is there something about this much-talked-about show that I am missing?


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