Little Britian

Showcase Canada just premiered this British (duh) sketch comedy show last night, showing two half-hour episodes. I gather this is huge in England, but I can’t quite figure out whether or not I like it.

The show is sort of like Kids In The Hall or The League Of Gentlemen (except both of those shows are much more consistent) in that the two leads, Matt Lucas and David Wallaims, play a staggering amount of reoccuring characters. Some of these are very funny - I’m fond of the two teenage motormouth girls, and Wallaims’ “highly unconvincing” transvestite.

Some of the visual jokes are fast little throwaways, in the style of the old Dave Allen show. (A typical one: Naked man leaves his house, walks a couple of steps and then snaps his fingers as if he’s forgotten something. Goes back into the house and leaves again, still naked, but now carrying a briefcase.) The absolute best part of the show is Tom Baker’s narration, which is supposed to be an informative commentary on modern British life but is actually just a bunch of made up “facts” about Britain (“We’ve had running water for over ten years and we invented the cat!” “When people in Britain want to buy a pet, they go to a pet shop. If they want to buy a pet shop, they go to a pet shop shop. If they want to buy a pet shop shop, well, they’re just being silly.”) There’s also a funny bit where he introduces a sketch about the Prime Minister, but then quickly explains he’s not really the Prime Minister but just some guy who was on “Buffy”. (The Prime Minister does indeed turns out to be Anthony Stewart Head.)

Unfortunately, based on the two episodes I saw, it looks like they essentially come up with one joke for a character, and then simply retell that joke with slight variations. The wheelchair-bound Andy is a good example - within two episodes, they did the character about four times and it was literally the same joke every time. Definitely has a whiff of the sort of catchphrase-mania that SNL likes to indulge in. Still, there were one or two things that made me laugh out loud, so I’ll give it another try next week.

Can any of you Brits here tell me whether or not it gets better after the first couple of episodes, or have I seen pretty much everything the show has to offer?

Nope, you’ve more or less seen the whole show.

Damn. Well, when the hell are you guys going to get off your asses and give me another Python, huh?

Call us when you’ve gotten tired enough of Are You Being Served to clear up some space in the schedules.

I don’t try to watch every episode but when I do, I’m glad I saw it. I agree that the basis of the show is to create some truly awful people who then basically do their shtick over and over again. I still think it has some awesome moments though.

See one and you have pretty much seen them all. ok its a bit unfair as I did really enjoy the first and second series, but there just isn’t enough variety in the sketches or characters to keep me interested in it.

They just managed to turn up at the right time with some of the characters (Vicky Pollard is essentially every teenage Bristolian Girl rolled into one).

They do manage to pull off (fnaar) “sick” humour pretty well, the bitty sketches and the kid who keeps trying to shag his friend’s Grandmother are squirmingly excellent at their best.

I really hope they can either radically shape it up or do a Gervais and recognise that it’s better to kill it off while it’s at top form.

Tom Baker’s commentary makes it for me though.

I believe they have said the third series will be the last (as was the case with the Fast Show, which is the obvious spiritual ancestor of LB).

this series ought to have been named “little humour”.

I think this is one of the funniest shows around. I love this show, and I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t. The scenes with the teenager hitting on the 80 year old woman are hilarious. It’s a character driven show, and a lot of the humor comes from seeing these same scenes, played out slightly differently. My wife and I use lines from the show all the time (Andy’s “I know”, The Scottish Hotel guy’s “Eeyesss”, etc.).