Skip to main content

From Across the Pond: "Little Britain"

There are very few guarantees in this life. Death and taxes, certainly. Mortgages, very likely. But the one thing that you can depend upon in this life is British Comedy. Whenever things are gloomy or grey, the only thing that can cheer me up is the sight of some loony Brits putting on drag and creating some hilarious television comedy characters in the tradition of the Monty Python boys and Benny Hill. (What exactly is it about British comedians and their tendencies towards putting on women's clothing?)

Little Britain is no exception to this rule. Adapted from their hit radio series, David Walliams and Matt Lucas have created an alternate universe which on the surface seems similar to our own, but just beneath that is a world of psychotics, eccentrics, and psychotic eccentrics. Oh, and unreliable narrators who sound suspiciously like Dr. Who's Tom Baker.

My fear at first was that the show would be too similar to that other British cult sketch comedy series, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but other than the occasional small village setting, the similarities end there. Walliams and Lucas are comic geniuses, able to modulate and change their voices to create an infinite array of characters, aided admirably by amazing costumes and even more brilliant hair and makeup.

Little Britain's denizens are a remarkably bizarre bunch. The real character breakouts are Lou and Andy. Andy is a balding, bespectacled, wheelchair-bound man, who seems to have some sort of mental disability... but in actually is just lazy and capricious ("I want that one!"). Lou is his long-suffering caregiver who seems oblivious to Andy's deceit. I haven't done them justice and seeing them together is a sight to be seen.

Then there's motormouth Vicki Pollard (above), a teenage dropout and young offender who trades her baby for a Boyzone CD; Marjorie Dawes, the vindictive leader of a Fat Fighters group; unconvincing transvestite Emily Howard; flamboyant Daffyd, "the only gay" in a small Welsh village; Prime Minister's aide Sebastian, who nurses a deep longing for the Prime Minister, played by Buffy's Anthony Stewart Head. The less said about creepy women's spa resident and seductress Bubbles de Vere ("Call me Bubbles, dahling, they all do.") the better; her disrobing at the start of Season Two provided the most disgusting sight gag ever employed on the show. (The only near-miss of the bunch is Des Kaye, a former children's television show host who now works in a DYI warehouse center. I just find him more pathetic than amusing.)

Like I said, it's a weird and wild ride through the heart of Little Britain. You wouldn't want to run into any of these characters on a dark and deserted street (or really for that matter on a bright-lit and well-traveled one either), but there's something hysterical and comically rewardng in peeking into their lives for a half an hour. While The Simpsons' Springfield may be a little more colorfully self-aware, and Arrested Development's Newport Beach a touch more zany, if you're seeking off-kilter comedy with a dangerous edge, there's no place better to visit than Little Britain.

"Little Britain" airs in repeats on BBC America and the first season is available on DVD.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: Still Standing/Still Standing (CBS); Deal or No Deal (NBC); One Tree Hill (WB); George Lopez/Freddie (ABC); American Idol (FOX); America's Next Top Model (UPN)

9 pm: Criminal Minds (CBS); Law & Order (NBC); Beauty & the Geek (WB); Lost (ABC); Free Ride (FOX; 9:30); Veronica Mars (UPN)

10 pm: CSI: NY (CBS); Law & Order (NBC); Barbara Walters Special (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching


As if there were any doubt of that. As Veronica is a repeat (again!) tonight, the only thing I'll be watching is my favorite creepy-island-adventure-mystery-drama show. Will Claire remember what happened to her and what Tom Cruise's cousin did to her during her two weeks of captivity? Will Locke and presumptive Other, Henry Gale, sit down for a tea party? Well, I'll be finding out tonight.


Popular posts from this blog

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

Have a Burning Question for Team Darlton, Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, or Michael Emerson?

Lost fans: you don't have to make your way to the island via Ajira Airways in order to ask a question of the creative team or the series' stars. Televisionary is taking questions from fans to put to Lost 's executive producers/showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and stars Matthew Fox ("Jack Shephard"), Evangeline Lilly ("Kate Austen"), and Michael Emerson ("Benjamin Linus") for a series of on-camera interviews taking place this weekend. If you have a specific question for any of the above producers or actors from Lost , please leave it in the comments section below . I'll be accepting questions until midnight PT tonight and, while I can't promise I'll be able to ask any specific inquiry due to the brevity of these on-camera interviews, I am looking for some insightful and thought-provoking questions to add to the mix. So who knows: your burning question might get asked after all.

What's Done is Done: The Eternal Struggle Between Good and Evil on the Season Finale of "Lost"

Every story begins with thread. It's up to the storyteller to determine just how much they need to parcel out, what pattern they're making, and when to cut it short and tie it off. With last night's penultimate season finale of Lost ("The Incident, Parts One and Two"), written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, we began to see the pattern that Lindelof and Cuse have been designing towards the last five seasons of this serpentine series. And it was only fitting that the two-hour finale, which pushes us on the road to the final season of Lost , should begin with thread, a loom, and a tapestry. Would Jack follow through on his plan to detonate the island and therefore reset their lives aboard Oceanic Flight 815 ? Why did Locke want to kill Jacob? What caused The Incident? What was in the box and just what lies in the shadow of the statue? We got the answers to these in a two-hour season finale that didn't quite pack the same emotional wallop of previous seas