mily loves britcoms
Give British telly a chance
by Emily Elias
Much to my dismay, many Canadians do not appreciate British comedy as much as they should. Unfortunately, they are ignorant to the brilliance from across the pond. British comedy is more than Benny Hill chasing some woman with strategically placed melons. Rather, it is comedic genius that North American culture could only wish to duplicate.
While my friends were watching Babar, I grew up on the antics of John Cleese and the fine masterpiece that is Fawlty Towers. My sister and I would camp out in front of the television during the PBS pledge drives, cursing the unnecessary interruption of the volunteers attempting to sell the coveted tote bag or mug. Yet when I try to talk about this with anyone else, they are smacked with confusion as if I am speaking like the teacher in a Charlie Brown Christmas, Easter, Halloween or Ramadan.
I know I am not alone. There are a select few of us out there, living on DVDís of Monty Python and fine programs brought to us by the BBC. I think it is time however, we realize that some of the greatest ideas come from Great Britain.
Comedy aside, reality television would have been developmentally delayed without the British. After all, if not for Pop Idol, there would have been no American Idol, and without American Idol there would have been no Canadian Idol. For that matter, nor would there be the series of Simon Cowell clones attempting to spin their own brand of diabolical wit. Also without British television, we would miss out on the kooky antics of Big Brother (however large a mistake that was is beside the point.)
Yet Americans have this way of desecrating all things sacred, or British. Coupling, a racier British version of Friends essentially all about sex, was a huge hit for British comedic audiences. When it was brought to America though, with shiny new Abercrombie and Fitch cast, it mysteriously disappeared during November sweeps and was never heard from again.
Although Canadians traditionally have strong ties with the British when it comes to television, we are regrettably not on the same page. Canadian airwaves are indisputably dominated by American programming while British comedy is not even on the map besides the broadcast of a Merry Christmas Mr. Bean or the midnight showing of Are You Being Served?
Maybe it has something to do with the cockney accents and bad teeth, but most people I talk to seem reluctant to believe that the British are actually entertaining. If Canadian audiences saw more than a messed up episode of Coronation Street, they would be more accepting to the necessary infiltration of British television into their world.