Wednesday, 6 June 2007

S(h)itcoms part II

I've been stuck "working from home" a lot recently, waiting for deliveries and the like, and obviously it's not easy to motivate yourself when there's a lot of unwatched telly sitting on the Tivo and the Media Center (sic) PC. But watching tv is technically research so I can feel good about myself for doing it. Especially as BBC Three's website has streaming comedy I can put in a window in the corner of my PC and pretend to be doing the boring paperwork as I watch it.

So some random thoughts on new British comedy, to compare and contrast with the American comedy stuff I wrote earlier. It only seems to be on BBC Three but there you go.

I like The Karen Taylor Show. It's funny in an olde worlde way - she even sings a song at the end. And her spoof on those phone-in gameshow channels was spot on. And the laughing undertaker.

Lots of other pilots were on there. I really can't remember most of them so they can't be that good. There was one with two sixteen year-olds shagging. That wasn't funny. Although they must need a replacement for their yoof series Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps as (a) they've broadcast it so often the tapes must've worn out; (b) the actors are all 30 now; (c) they've made hundreds of episodes, and (d) it's not funny.

Gavin and Stacey is oddly gentle but none the worse for that. Yes ta.

I didn't like Biffovision, a show sadly unavailable on their website. I assume that's not because of legal or copyright issues but more for smelling-of-shite issues. Firstly, just in case anyone who worked on that show is reading this, I know how hard it is to make a comedy pilot show that's instantly funny. Comedies, especially sitcoms, take time to build, both for scriptwriters, performers and the audience.

But this is a spoof of children's tv. And spoofs (or is it spooves?) give you a great jump start on other genres, as the scenario, characters and format should be readily identifiable. They were here, to start with, but then it went from being sadly unfunny to a bit weird to tediously juvenile to plain crap.

It was written by the guy who used to do Digitiser on Teletext, and I loved that, but this simply didn't work. On any level. The cast weren't the best, the gags were obvious and poor, and it ended up having sketches about consultants pitching ideas to a telecoms company - er, forgive me if I'm confused, but as of when did that fit with a kids' tv show?

I kinda assume the BBC thought this too, as there were no trailers, PR or clips - and no interweb stream - and it seemed to turn up at midnight on a Monday and disappear.

I do have another axe to grind here as I sent a Saturday morning kids' tv spoof format into the Beeb a while back and they said no, they'd got enough media spoof shows (even though they liked it). It makes me slightly annoyed they meant this one. Ours had a man dressed up like an elephant who was drunk and vomited on children. Now that's class.

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

I loved Biffovision, but must concede some of your criticisms - I can see how some of the more juvenile stuff would leave many completely cold. I wouldn't really call it a "spoof" as such though..?

Anyways, a couple more thoughts on the show over at my blog...