YOU have to hand it to the British – they are the connoisseurs when it comes to comedy. Look at iconic offerings like Fawlty Towers, The Vicar of Dibley, Absolutely Fabulous, Mr Bean, My Family and Miranda and you’ll understand why.
It also explains why the US often adopts the blueprint of successful UK shows. Sometimes it’s a hit a la The Office, Men Behaving Badly or Whose Line is it Anyway? and, at other times, a flop.
The Inbetweeners is a case in point of the latter along with Us & Them, which is a carbon copy of Gavin & Stacey.
In spite of bagging two talented actors – Jason Ritter, who has a slew of film experience under his belt, and Gilmore Girls’ Alexis Bledel – Fox canned the series after seven episodes.
This goes back to the unfortunate reality that sometimes the writing and specially crafted comedic situations can fall flat.
The Going the Distance-type of premise centres on New Yorker Gavin who finally meets Stacey, who is from Pennsylvania. They have been in a six-month online relationship and this meeting marks a turning point in their lives.
Sustaining their romance across state lines should be their primary focus, right? Not. Thanks to their meddlesome family and friends, their budding love story hits more than a few crazy complications.
Like his late dad John, Ritter has a knack for comedy. He has that breezy boy-next-door disposition that makes him an easy sell for this role. And Bledel isn’t without her talents, too.
What I admire about the actress is how she can switch things up by playing a more adult character or lighten things up to fill the shoes of a carefree adolescent with a rose-tinted view of the world.
As universal as the subject matter is, these two are done in by the script and a very green creator – David Rosen.
Sometimes a gut feel about a series pays off and, when it doesn’t, it’s best not to stray too far from “home”.
After all, Modern Family, Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, Mike & Molly and How I Met Your Mother have become the success stories they are by being original, refreshing and relatable. And sometimes, that is enough!
• Us & Them, M-Net (DStv channel 101), Wednesdays, 6pm.