Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Lighter Side of London LIfe

When I moved to London 28 months ago (28?  Really? wow), my exposure to British TV was limited to seeing re-runs of Benny Hill when I was a child, and catching a few episodes of Coupling on BBC America-which is *fantastic*, by the way, and makes Friends look a bit 'simple' in comparison.

Since being here, either on TV or or via DVD, I've been exposed to a few other shows that are also outstanding in their own right, and for anyone contemplating a move to the UK, here's a lighter look at some 'cultural research' you can partake in before arrival...Woefully, I'm rubbish at figuring out how to embed video in my blog, so a linked list (where a good link was available) will have to suffice-but if you go to YouTube, Hulu, or just do a search on the interwebs, you should be able to find a few clips.  In no particular order...
  • Green Wing-one of the first shows on DVD I was exposed to when I move here, this medical comedy did things that were cringe-worthy hilarious, and the character of Sue White is honestly one of the most memorable characters I've ever seen on TV.
  • Spaced-I've been a fan of Simon Pegg since I saw Hot Fuzz in the US a few years ago.  When I found out he had written & starred in a 'Singles' type of UK TV series in the late 90s, I had to watch it.  Loves it.  Loves it even more since Simon (my Simon) used to hang out in the area of town, Crouch End, where the show is set-and can point out random things about scenes of the show!
  • Little Britain-I realize this series has crossed the pond (jumped the shark?...) and a Brit-American version was run a few years ago on cable. It's crap. Must. See. The. Original.  And then begin to say, 'computer says no' at work to the confusion of your co-workers.  This is sketch comedy at it's best.
  • The Mighty Boosh-Season 3 in particular (my personal preference; everyone has a favorite, it seems...).  Another series that seems to have crossed the pond-I recall seeing a few random episodes advertised for some cable channel-super late nite-when in Seattle last year.  Absolutely hilarious.  Just thinking the words 'crack fox' makes me giggle...and I have a wee crush on Noel Fielding.
  • Mock the Week:  it's a panel comedy/news commentary show.  Sorry.  I know that seems confusing, but I know of no other way to explain it.  Frankie Boyle (one of the *best*-though most offensive-comedians I've ever heard) made the show what it is.  This program is a perfect way to quickly get up to speed on what's going on in British news-and pop culture-all while laughing your arse off.  I love this show so much, I've applied for tickets to the studio audience.  Fingers Crossed!
Unfortunately, except for Mock the Week, all of the other shows are now off the air-unlike US TV, where shows are run into the ground-and usually on life support before they're cancelled, Brit TV (though woefully, just the good shows, it seems...) likes it short & sweet.  Two to three seasons is a good run.  Except for Mock the Week, all of the shows above were before my time, but I found them thru other people.  The least I could do is pass the suggestions along, and pay it forward.

Any other expats have any favorite Brit shows worth mention?


  1. The UK version of Coupling (before the US disaster) is really funny.

  2. Hulu has Black Books and Kingdom updated - both are great shows (and you'll recognize a bunch of people guesting in Black Books!) Plus, if you like Mock The Week, look up the mrmoody channel on YouTube. S/he has all of MTW, Argumental, Would I lie to You?, and Russell Howard's Good News, all of which are awesome and utilize many of the same people.

    P.S. My Mom and I saw the Boosh live when we were in London a couple years ago. I understand the Fielding love. I, howev er, am the tedious curmudgeonly sort who has a crush on David Mitchell. Don't judge me.

  3. @Sam: No judgement at all. There is a certain je ne sais quoi about him. Though I find it odd that even after loosing all the weight, his face is still quite plump. Interesting..