Saturday, January 27, 2007
send more cops:
The less said about Smokin' Aces, the better. As best I understand it, Jon Carmichael argues that Israel is the result of a malevolent, deceitful mistake, and only honest people within the U.S. government can destroy it, as Israel can survive even the most audacious acts of violence. Also, Swedes will help it to live. Sommer heard my theory and wisely cautioned me to resist allegory.

But. In the very near future, we're going to get Hot Fuzz, the latest feature-length offering from the three greatest cinematic geniuses alive -- Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and director Edgar Wright. If you saw Shaun Of The Dead, you know what I mean. Along with comic legends Jessica Stevenson and Mark Heap, PeggFrostWright created the best sitcom of all time, Spaced. The intricate latticework of the late-90s British comedy scene entwines Spaced, through cameos, with similar titans like Peter Serafinowicz (Duane) of Look Around You, David Walliams (Vulva) of Little Britain, Kevin Eldon (Matrix Thug #1) of Big Train and Nighty Night, Reece Shearsmith (Dexter) and Mark Gatiss (Matrix Thug # 2) of League of Gentlemen (Gatiss was also in Nighty Night). Heap went on to do Green Wing, which also features Stephen Mangan in the ladykilling role of Guy Secretan, and you know Mangan as DAN! from I'm Alan Partridgewith Steve Coogan. Green Wing co-starred Tamsin Grieg from the not-as-funny-as-it-should-have-been Black Books, which gave the world Dylan Moran and Bill Bailey... who, respectively, played the annoying boyfriend in Shaun Of The Dead and Bilbo in Spaced.

I intend to see Hot Fuzz several times on the day of its release and recommend, sight unseen, you do the same.
--Spencer Ackerman
On Jan 14, you wrote: "Did I mention that Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge and I'm Alan Partridge are the greatest sitcoms of all fucking time?"

Today you write: "....the best sitcom of all time, Spaced. "

In both instances you are correct.

I also am most eager to see Hot Fuzz.

Other fairly recent funny stuff from the UK imo: Garth Marenghi's Darkplace; Peep Show; Mitchell and Webb (Situation, Look, Sound, etc.), Time Gentlemen Please, The Thick of It...and more.

If you haven't seen some of Chris Morri's stuff (Brass Eye, a twisted news parody, and The Day Today, less twisted), you may wanna look that over too.

The Thick of It (by impresario Armando Iannucci), is a pretty savvy take on modern UK politics and government, which is scheduled to be remade in the US soon -- suckily, most likely.

Of course, there's a lot of crappy stuff there, too (Green Wing, Little Britain, Catherine Tate, e.g. are really unpleasant and unfunny) and there are many generically bad sitcoms (like My Family) which seem to come up with great frequency on BBC America.

If you're going back to decades of yore, don't forget Yes, Minister as the premier political TV comedy, as well as Black Adder and Monty Python as just damned funny.

They are all the greatest sitcom ever made!
Blogger riffle | 9:31 PM

Riffle, you've caught me in an awful inconsistency. I guess I'd have to say I go back and forth on which is better, but probably have to side with Alan Partridge.

I do love Chris Morris. Even watched all six episodes of The I.T. Crowd despite its misuse of Richard Aoyoke. Nathan Barley grew on me. I used a YouTube clip from The Day Today on here once. And when drunk enough, I perform the "Blouse" ode to Myra Hinckley from BrassEye.

Let's talk Little Britain. Don't front. When its moments are on, it's really, really on -- you didn't LOL the first time you saw Lou & Andy? Or Anne? Or Kenny the Psychic? -- but it's too often just funny wigs and catchphrases. I didn't see the third series, but when I visited a friend in London in 2004, he bitterly chastised me for liking Little Britain.

Green Wing is kind of a guilty pleasure. The zaniness of it can be dizzying, but, God, do I love Michelle Gomez, and I'd watch anything Mark Heap does. Also, after Big Train, I'd be disappointed to learn that Catherine Tate's show is bad. What do you think of Smack The Pony? Or Nighty Night? Discuss.
Blogger spencerackerman | 7:07 AM

The damned laughing (I forget if it's studio or lafftrak) on The IT Crowd (and on many UK comedies) is a high barrier to overcome. I still thought it was ok -- I didn't hate it, and I actually enjoyed Ayoade being so geeky. It's funnier in concept than in execution (which I'm pretty sure could also be applied to the use on the DVD release of subtitles in l33t / l337 -- great concept but I'd bet that you get the joke after a few minutes).

You obviously know your Morris, which is laudable. You also used "Hinckley" for "Hindley" which is a funny slip in itself.

In an effort not to front, I'm really trying to cast back to when I first ran across Little Britain (which would have been on BBC America). I presume I did laugh at some of it, but I know that I didn't get all "gotta watch or gotta record" about it. Subsequently, when running across it, it made me downright gloomy to see it and hear that twittering lafftrak in response to so little hilarity. Since then, they took what had been run into the groud and re-ran it into even lower ground.

Green Wing has performers I really like (Heap, Gomez, Olivia Colman); it just doesn't bring the funny for me that often. It's an hour long with maybe enough laughs to support 15 minutes plus padding. It's not quite as tedious as Little Britain.

Don't despair -- maybe you'll like Catherine Tate. To me it's of the Little Britain mold (disguises, catchphrases) but not quite as extreme. Just not funny to me.

I haven't seen that many episodes of Smack the Pony but it had a pretty high rate of funny stuff for a sketch comedy show -- I'd like to see more. I like Doon, too.

The first series of Nighty Night was great -- dark, hilarious, and with an utterly unsympathetic comic engine. The second series, not so much.

As a Yank, one thing I'm noting in all this (including mention of the great Big Train) is that the UK actually broadcasts sketch comedy still-- and pulls off some really good to great exemplars of it (Big Train, Mitchell and Webb, Smack the Pony, Armstrong and Miller, many more). They even have good sketch comedy on the radio! (You sound like someone who would enjoy BBC7 over the internet, btw.)

In the US, despite a few occasionally hit-or-miss attempts, new sketch comedy is currently relegated to 2 competing shows late on Saturday Night, both of which suck.

I hesitate to point this out because by doing so I am emboldening the enemy.
Blogger riffle | 11:00 AM

Hindley! Hindley! Damn it.

There's a second series -- yeah, we're saying "series" now -- of Nighty Night? Oh dude.
Blogger spencerackerman | 11:05 AM

Oh and while I have your ear, slap up an RSS / XML feed please.
Blogger riffle | 11:09 AM