Two pop culture addicts' snarky musings…

Posts tagged ‘Ricky Gervais’

British People Talk Funny and Other Reasons Why We Think We Need to Redo Their TV Shows

As you may or may not have noticed from our blog and our twitter rampages, your faithful blog hostess’ are more than slightly addicted to British television shows. In light of the recent influx of American remakes of British hits, we felt a little compare and contrast might be in order as well as a few musings on why we can’t just watch the original.

“Britain and America are two nations divided by the same language.” ~ attributed to Oscar Wilde

In the past decade, there have been more than a handful of American remakes of British hits that have taken off in America – the most successful of which is American Idol. We took the solid smash Pop Idol and beefed it up America style to be a television black hole that has kept people glued to their television sets for months every spring for nearly a decade. We had our fair share of reality competitions pre-Idol, but the unprecedented popularity of Simon Fuller’s creation set forth a snowballing chain of reality competition shows that might otherwise never have been born. Not sure whether to so say ‘thanks’ or get pitchforks and torches for that contribution…

The next recent smash, rumored to be headed for a possible series finale at the end of its current season, is The Office. Ricky Gervais created and starred in the version aired in Britain in 2001. The show ran for just two 6 episode seasons, though it made an impression big enough to spawn not only the American version, but half of a dozen other international versions as well. Currently in its eighth season (possibly final) season, the American version of The Office did what Americans do best: take a good thing and beat every ounce of profitability by making it even more obnoxious than the original. I say this from a place of love because I am a HUGE fan of this show, but really, no Steve Carrell = no show. Let’s send it off into that great green room in the sky with the exit of Michael Scott and move on to something else.

Cast of Showtime's Shameless

One of my favorite British guilty pleasure shows, and arguably the one that really hooked me on Brit TV in the first place, is the quirky, ironic, crazy comedy Shameless. Ok, truth: I started watching the British version right after I discovered James McAvoy and promptly stopped watching once he left the show halfway through season two. It doesn’t impugn the quality or character of the show; I’m just keepin’ it real. The American version of Shameless just started a few weeks ago on Showtime (Sunday, 10pm) starring William H. Macy (I’ll save my epic love for ever did that casting job at another time because KUDOS) as the drunk, lazy father to a blended bunch of maladjusted children headed by the lovely and talented (and surprisingly edgy) Emmy Rossseum. Comparing these two versions of the show actually illustrates a fundamental cultural difference between our two worlds: irony is completely lost on Americans. If the producers of the Showtime version had tried to directly translate this show for an American audience, it would barely have lasted one night because the sheer absurdity of the British version would turn even the most cultured viewer off. So they added a little Chicago grit, sprinkled in a considerable helping of gratuitous sex (which is saying something because people get laid A LOT in the original), and slowed the story down to a speed even the most hung over late night TV watcher can handle. Detrimental to the essence of the show? Nah, but if I had to pick between them, I’d go with the Showtime version if only to watch the idiotic son-in-law from Reba smoke pot and hit people.

The two most recent additions to this influx of remakes (other than Shameless), MTV’s Skins and SyFy’s Being Human, translated into this world with a bite and bang (pun intended). I can’t speak to the quality or lack there of or anything in between of either version of Skins. What I will say is this: our remarkable innately American ability to demand sex in our programming while maintaining a prudish moral stance has gotten to an exhausting and useless point. This is just a step up from my generation’s naughty late night MTV show Undressed. Here’s a little food for thought: if you don’t want your kids watching teenagers having sex start by not letting them watch MTV in the first place. Moving along…

Top: US Being Human Cast, Bottom: UK Being Human Cast

Part of me wishes I would have let sleeping wolves lie and not watched the British version of Being Human – because I like it better than the American version and I was not prepared for that. I mean, we have Buffy, Angel, Vampire Diaries, True Blood and a whole other slew of fangtastic television shows; how could theirs possibly be better? Oh, but it is. Not so much better that I don’t still follow the American version, but enough so that I can say if I had to choose it would be no contest. One thing American supernatural shows tend to do across the board is drown in their own mythology. The point of Being Human is that these characters have moved beyond lore and are trying to be, well, human. I have to give the new show props for trying to not be so much a copy of the original show, but another parallel situation involving different characters and a different culture. My only worry in the few episodes that have aired thus far is that it may be headed down the JJ Abrams rabbit hole of overly complicated and soul-sucking mythological detail. Pray to the Buffy gods that they get wise up before we end up with a Halloween version of Lost.

Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better…

So what else are we in the process of importing? I’ll hit the highlights.

Being Erica: Ok, so technically this isn’t a British show – this is a Canadian show. Yet we still feel the need to have our own version. Being Erica is the endearing, unique tale of Erica Strange and her exploits in a method of mystical therapy where she gets to relive pivotal moments of her life. Currently set in Toronto, the show airs on SoapNET in the US. However, with SoapNET’s imminent demise, ABC (sister channel to SoapNET) announced they are working on a US version of the show, written by Once & Again scribe Maggie Friedman. While I appreciate the sensibility she will bring to the project, should we start down this slippery slope with Canadians too? After all, they’re just like us, but with health care and better breeding. I’ll watch under protest, but I just don’t see anyone being as perfect at being Erica as Erin Karpluk.

Torchwood: If you want to hear all about this one, check out Sarah’s previous blog here. I don’t watch and couldn’t even begin to do this debate justice.

You Talk Funny, but I Love You Anyway…

Two shows in my British repertoire have endured without crossing the Atlantic: Primeval and Merlin. I write this section both as a love letter and as a warning to any American producers who might be thinking about taking over either of these shows. There are a thousand versions of the Arthur legend on TV, in movies, in novels, etc, which is probably why there isn’t a need for this to have a US version. For one thing, it takes place in Britain, so what’s the point of remaking a show for an American audience with British actors (or American actors with bad accents)? Plus, BBC and Showtime are already working on another version of the myth to be broadcast on Showtime later this year. The other accented love of my life is Primeval, which is basically Land of the Lost meets Fringe. Partially because it has a HUGE budget due to the large amounts of CGI in each episode and partly because of the massive suspension of disbelief required to follow along (no one else outside of the UK knows about the anomalies and they only ever appear in and around London…right), I think it’s pretty safe to assume it will stay a British morsel for good. Not to mention there does not exist an American version of Andrew-Lee Potts. Yum.

Anything anyone wants to add to my tirade? What are your favorite shows from the land of crumpets? Any you’d love to see brought over?

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Liveblogging the Golden Globes

First, I have to apologize for the lack of posts on here, I give the usual excuses of real life and holidays. Second, I apologize in advance for my lack of liveblogging abilities. I’m going to attempt to liveblog the Golden Globes while Mel handles the tweets but I think the last liveblogging I did was the Emmys, so we’ll see how this goes. Three minutes until the Globes start so wish me (and the nominees) luck and enjoy the show!

8:01 – I would really love to have an entertainment-industry event without the mention of Charlie Sheen. Apparently, so would the Golden Globe attendees. Ricky Gervais is falling flat. Ouch.

8:04 – Dear Ricky Gervais, if you see torches and pitchforks after the show, I’m pretty sure it was well-deserved. Also, run.

8:06 – I was not expecting Christian Bale to win, but that’s exciting. To quote Mel: “Holy hair!” I also wish I could understand a word of what he is saying. I think that epic mustache is getting in the way and alcohol might be involved.

8:09 – First award of the evening and we’re already sending them out with music and completely cutting sound. This is going to go well.

8:10 – Katey Sagal looks great and I know Mel is very excited for her win!

8:16 – I remember the Miss Golden Globes from an episode of “Criminal Minds“! She was amazing and she looks gorgeous. I am curious if all the sound-cutting is because of language or if they’re having sound problems. It doesn’t bode well for the rest of the evening.

8:22 – Somehow I missed that “Red” was nominated tonight. I’m sad I didn’t get to see it in theaters but it still looks awesome.

8:23 – Yay Chris Colfer! He looks so stunned and adorable. I predict crying in his acceptance speech. Aw, Lea Michele is crying for him! I love this cast.

8:31 – Apparently the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press doesn’t appreciate Ricky Gervais’ brand of humor.

8:33 – Kevin Bacon is going to be in the new X-Men movie? How did I miss that news?

8:34 – What I love about these awards shows is they give me new things to put on my Netflix. So far: “The Pillars of the Earth” and “Boardwalk Empire.” Congrats Steve Buscemi!

8:37 – Apparently my decision to put “Boardwalk Empire” on Netflix was a good one.

8:43 – I’m pretty sure I’m the only person on Facebook who actually hasn’t seen “The Social Network.” Poor Andrew Garfield. Inspiringly isn’t not an easy word to type or say. And according to spell check, isn’t actually a word at all.

8:43 – “Bound to You” is a gorgeous song. I really hope it wins, though it is up against Alan Menken. “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” is a pretty song too and Cher did an amazing job with it, so well done “Burlesque”!

Side note: I am really looking forward to “Harry’s Law.” I’m really sad it’s on at the same time as “Hawaii Five-0.”

8:55 – That haircut makes Justin Beiber look about nine…so, his actual age then.

8:57 – Though I did not see “Toy Story 3”, the first “Toy Story” will always be a part of my childhood.

9:01 – This is why Robert Downey Jr. is awesome.

9:02 – More important than Annette Bening winning, I actually picked a winner! This makes me very happy, even though I would have loved Emma Stone to win for “Easy A.” I’m not a fan of Emma’s blonde hair, though. I love that Annette is thanking actors as though they were actually the characters.

9:12 – Tilda Swinton, that is a very ill-advised ensemble. For some reason when I was predicting my winners, I chose Dennis Quaid over Al Pacino. That was clearly very stupid.

9:15 – I love how much Temple Grandin and Claire Danes love each other. It’s very sweet. I am also digging Claire’s dress, though it’s a bit bright.

9:23 – It’s a little random to have Zac Efron introduce “The Kids Are All Right.” I’m just saying.

9:26 – Aaron Sorkin wins for Best Screenplay for “The Social Network” and I am awaiting the Oscars so I can do better with my winning predictions. I kill with the costume and makeup categories.

9:30 – Jane Lynch wins for “Glee”! Kind of obvious, but well-deserved. Now we will again be subjected to Ed O’Neill’s complaints on how Sofia Vergara should have won.  Awesome.

9:36 – Ricky Gervais may be a crap host, but he speaks the truth. Sadly no one in America really pays attention to the foreign films.

9:41 – I wanted Laura Linney to win but I never expected she would!  That’s very exciting.

9:46 – Jane Fonda what are you wearing? And that was a very random clip to show for “Burlesque.”

9:49 – Jim Parsons looked like he was stuck in a corner somewhere, so I was pretty sure he was going to win.

9:51 – Melissa Leo wins for “The Fighter” and is adorable. Who wouldn’t freak out if they were kissed by Jeremy Irons?

10:00 – Oh Matt Damon, you’re so cute. I didn’t know he worked on a movie with Robert Di Nero, so I was confused as to why he was presenting it.

10:14 – We’re coming to the point where all the big awards are given out! It probably shouldn’t take another 45 minutes, but it will. And usually the Best Director (in this case, David Fincher for “The Social Network”) wins, said movie will also win. As I have yet to see this movie, I’m not sure how I feel about that.

10:18 – Yay “Glee”! Again, not unexpected but very well-deserved. This show has done more for society than I think even it realizes. I love that even the newer cast (Darren Criss, Max Adler, Dot Jones, etc) are there too.

10:25 – What does it say about Johnny Depp that he was up against himself and he still didn’t win?

10:32 – I find it interesting that we have seen very little of our host all evening. I think the bigwigs are not happy with him.

10:34 – From everything I’ve heard, Natalie Portman’s win is well-deserved. I love her so I’m very happy she won!

10:39 – I expected “The Kids Are All Right” to win.

10:46 – Sandra, I am so not a fan of that dress. Or your Cher hair. And surprisingly Colin Firth wins! I thought given all the wins with “Social Network” that Jesse Eisenberg was a shoe-in. But awards shows do love their period dramas.

10:54 – I love moments like this, the entire room giving Michale Douglas a standing ovation. It gives you the feeling that this is actually a community.

10:55- And the final winner of the night? “The Social Network.”

And there you have it, the 2011 Golden Globes! It was an awkward night, to say the least, and I am looking forward to seeing what all the tabloids say about it tomorrow! So? What did you think?

Week in Review – 9/4/2010

Okay, so I’m cutting it a little close, but I did post two things in one day so that has to count for something, right? I actually don’t have a whole lot to say this week because not a whole lot has happened, but let me see what I can muster…

*Dancing with the Stars should rename itself Dancing with the Reality Stars since that seems to be half the new cast anyway. And to quote the great Joan Rivers “Bristol Palin’s going to be on DWTS with the guy from Jersey Shore? Perfect! The Situation will be competing against The Embarrassment.” I’ll watch a little bit just to see Jennifer Grey and Margaret Cho. Nobody puts Baby in the corner!

*So excited for White Collar next week. I loved how they cut this week’s eppie right before they opened the music box. Suspense is great and all but WHAT’S IN THE DAMN BOX?

Preview for the White Collar summer finale airing September 7th

*Weird freckle faced little boy is still playing Young Shawn on Psych. Where is my Liam?

*Emmy’s = LAME, what a let down. The only highlights of the night were Ricky Gervais‘ waiter trying to hand Matthew Perry, an alcoholic, a beer and Eric Stonestreet winning Supporting Actor. Everything else was just predictable…HBO wins, Mad Men wins, Bryan Cranston wins, Jewell is still lame…shall I continue?

*ATWT has official lost my respect and my viewership with the impending death of Doctor Reid Oliver. The Young and the Restless and I are now exclusive – especially now that half the cast of As the World Turns and Guiding Light are now on Y&R anyway. Holla for the upcoming entrance of Paul Leydon. Soap operas can never have too many Australians.

*Maroon 5’s new album Hands All Over is up for Pre-order on iTunes. The Lady Antebellum collaboration alone is worth the money. Also, my beloved Gin Blossoms also have a new album on the horizon. I need to stop iTunes stalking before I go broke.

Ok, so apparently there were interesting things that happened this week. Not to steal Sarah’s thunder, but since she’s gone this weekend anyway, I don’t think she’ll mind, but I need to Sons of Anarchy, which premieres next week on FX. Despite Charlie Hunnam’s unfounded whining about Kurt Sutter’s tight lipped story methods, Katy Sagel will be brilliant as always and Charlie Hunnam is still a damn good actor despite his unfortunate need to bite the hand that feeds him.

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