An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Thursday, October 27, 2005

very little britain

It surprises me even now that things can still take us unawares. For the first time in an absolute age we sat down last evening "en famille" to watch a DVD. All of the usual suspects were present and Eddie was guest of honour so he got to sit on the sofa between D&G. With a pot of freshly brewed coffee, a clean ashtray and the dogs tucked up in their kennels for the night we were ready to enjoy the latest comedy sensation from the UK: Little Britain.

Reports of this new, award winning, comedy programme had reached us here in Kriti from the unlikliest sources: an article in Vogue, a piece in an eschatological Greek sunday magazine, Spymac chatter (back in the days when Spymac had a community) and this year's crop of house guests. We were prepared to be amazed and to laugh long and hard at this "hard-hitting", "no-punches pulled", "thoroughly irreverent comedy show".

We were prepared to laugh but what we had not prepared for was the derivative humour and characters and the seemingly endless repetition of obvious "gags" - as if we were too stupid to get the point first time around, the sight of a "posh lady" vomitting is either funny or it isn't and repeating it 6 or 7 times with her finally vomitting over the vicar will not change my mind as to whether I find it funny (I take that back, it was funny the first time, not funny enough to laugh though, but it wasn't funny the 2nd time nor any of the times thereafter.

We were prepared to be amazed by the clever and socially pointed humour. Some of us were even looking forward to that part. But we were not to be so entertained. What hadn't been cribbed from the League of Gentlemen (characters wholesale, situations likewise) and its ilk was schoolboy humour badly done. Even the plagiarism was done badly. We were reminded time and again of Inge's pointed comment that the thing was "irredeemably vulgar" and her insistence that there was an implicit promise that it would become funny if you watched long enough but that that promise was an empty one.

Shaun walked out after three minutes. Shem left a few minutes later. Eddie laughed once or twice and Farmboy managed to force a chuckle here and there, but more in sympathy with Eddie than genuine amusement. D&G kept looking at each other inquiringly. Embarrassment rather than entertainment was the order of the evening. I would only hope that the perpetrators of this sham are as embarrassed by it as we were but I suspect that that is wishful thinking.

If this is supposed, as we are assured it is, to be a commentary on Blair's modern Britain then all I can say is that we are glad to be out of it. However, it is not a clever critique. It is rather, a rehashing and cold-serving of the values that it purports to send-up. Not one for us then. And not one to be added to my Amazon wish list.

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