TV Review | Little Britain USA 1.1

Little Britain USA (Comedy Network: premiered January 20, 2010, 10:00 PM ET/PT) is the HBO portover of Little Britain, a BBC sketch comedy series.  For those not familiar with Little Britain, the show is a sketch comedy travelogue, focusing on many recurring characters each episode.  Matt Lucas and David Walliams play almost all of the main characters, while some guy in a scarf narrates.

Among the figures of fun are Welsh homosexualist Daffyd Thomas, “paraplegic” Andy and caretaker Lou, morbidly obese Bubbles DeVere and chav Vicky Pollard.  Each character has a catchphrase and/or marketable personality trait.

I’m not going to describe Little Britain beyond this point.  It is to British comedy what The Red Green Show is to Canadian comedy.  Although characters change often, most Little Britain sketches end with a catchphrase uttered and a British stereotype lampooned.  It’s essentially the same show every episode, a tradition which is carried over to Little Britain USA.

I have viewed Little Britain‘s first three series.  The first series focuses on eccentricities, keeping the shock humour to acceptable levels.

By the third series, the show falls into dreary-as-shit repetition.  Daffyd Thomas says “I am a gay” and acts like a poseur.  Marjorie Dawes makes fun of fatties and picks on the token Indian.  Carol Beer acts rude, coughs, and says “computer says no.”  Every.  Single.  Episode.  Hell, I haven’t even touched Maggie Blackamoor and her vomitous reactions to progress.

I want to like Little Britain USA, but again, same jokes with the same punchlines.  Lucas and Walliams go through the motions way too often, despite the inclusion of new characters like Phyllis (Walliams) and Mr. Doggy.  Want to see a sheriff (Walliams) get sexually aroused over guns?  It’s here, whether you like it or not.

There are a few clever bits in Little Britain USA, like Mildred (Lucas) talking to Connor (Walliams) about all the drugs she’s put into her body over the years.  On the flip side, there’s a sketch about muscleheads Mark and Tom being muscleheaded.  Oh, their genitals are tiny.  Full-frontal nudity and pantomimed anal sex ensue, not that those things translate into hilarity.

The thing I most hate about Little Britain USA is its overloud laugh track.  Lucas and Walliams’ material can stand on its own.  Why have the canned laughter?  Do people need to be prodded into laughing every time Andy gets off his wheelchair and pisses in the pool?

Fans of Little Britain will no doubt like Little Britain USA.  It’s a well-known formula in a different flavour, like Coca-Cola with Lemon.  I can’t get into Little Britain USA for this reason.  Lucas and Walliams are capable of better material.

Instead of adapting Little Britain for American audiences, Lucas and Walliams should have blown the show up and began anew.  They’ve gone as far as they can with the Little Britain format.  At least Tom Baker doesn’t suck on this show, but we all know that going in.

   

Cameron Archer

Owner/Writer at Gloryosky
Cameron Archer runs this site, and is a freelance arts writer. He has contributed to Canadian Screenwriter since 2011. He is a CMG Freelance member.
Cameron Archer