Friday, February 04, 2005

Comedy continued:Britain & America

Casyn's comments on my previous posting nudged some reminders my way about my taste in comedy. Somehow I managed to miss out acknowledgement of the superb Scrubs - inspiration for the hysterical Green Wing, with the seemingly misanthropic Doctor Cox, who is actually deeply human and loveable. I also missed off the wryly amusing Arrested Development (this suffers from what British viewers call the "Seinfeld syndrome" - where programmes are arbitrarily pushed around the schedules until, surprise, only a hardcore audience remains). Those who know us, of course already know that Seinfeld was a big hit in the Cloud and Rullsenberg household.

Malcolm in the Middle, though I never seemed to be into it quite when everyone else was, has been another provider of mirth and delight: I must confess that I became more of a fan when I found out that Lois (the mother) was played by Jane Kaczmarek - a.ka. Mrs Bradley Whitford. What was not to love about a character given such verve by the woman loved by "Josh Lyman"?! Seriously though, her character - frustrated, anxious, opinionated - was just a joy to watch.

At one point, when we were better off and less stressed, Cloud and I had about two years with digital TV and grew fond of the Paramount Comedy channel. Whatever the ITV equivalent of the "Seinfeld syndrome" is, we saw plenty of examples of works that we knew HAD been purchased by UK terrestrial television but which had never taken off due to poor scheduling. Dharma and Greg - almost the antithesis of 'dark comedy' - was quickly a firm favourite. Becker - one of the few moments when I didn't want to hit Ted Danson - was fantastically misanthropic, but human despite all that [anyone spotting a theme here?] and I loved his umitigated frustration with human stupidity [as Cloud cites: "we have learned to live without it..." --- oh would that more humanity could do so...].

What often frustrates me about some British comedy is its resolute and disastrous desire to keep within the sitcom tradition. And don't even get me started on laughter tracks... I know that some of those identified above include them, but generally I just find them annoying. I'll know if it's funny. I don't need you to tell me...

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