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'Crude' Little Britain is slammed by US critics just days before series launch


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'Crude' Little Britain is slammed by US critics just days before the series launches stateside


By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 3:20 PM on 26th September 2008


It seems that Matt Lucas and David Walliams aren’t exactly winning over the Americans.


The US version of Little Britain was mauled by critics who described it as ‘mostly just crude.’

Reviewer Brian Lowry was particularly unimpressed by the duo's offerings.


Unimpressed: US critics have slammed the American version of Little Britain as 'crude'

‘Little Britain USA is mostly just crude, revelling in mock condescension towards American stereotypes,’ he said.


The comedy duo's six-part series is set to air on Sunday evening in the States.


It sees the return of some of familiar faces, including Vicky Pollard, as well as fresh creations.








The first episode sees them simulate a homosexual sex act during a sketch in which they don body suits as two in-the-closet muscle men.


In another sketch Andy refuses a swim because he's sure ‘people p*ss in the pool.’


Bad taste: The pair appear in a sketch as two in-the-closet muscle men

Actress Rosie O'Donnell makes an appearance as a Fat Fighters spokeswoman who has a heated bust-up with Marjorie Dawes.


‘Were you a lesbian before you were fat or did you become one when you were fat because no men wanted you?’ she asks.


Friends star David Schwimmer has directed some of the episodes.



Walliams and Lucas have said that they took America's approach to comedy into account, but the pair were unsure their distinct brand of humour will translate Stateside.

Lucas said : 'We talked about American comedy being a little cooler and Britain being a bit sadder.'


Funny men: The comic duo discuss the new series during an appearance on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross which airs tonight

'I think we make ourselves look maybe stupid in Britain a little bit more than being cool,' added Walliams.

'But also we're not afraid to dress as women which is a little bit rarer in American comedy.'

It appears that it may take the pair a while to convince the Americans that this is a good thing.


‘The wit level of these over-the-top interludes seldom rises above what's scrawled on a middle-school bathroom wall,' added Lowry.


'Walliams and Lucas certainly owe a debt to Benny Hill and Monty Python, but their impulses invariably drift below the (freely exposed) belt, going for the easiest possible gag.



‘So there are plenty of drag bits, fat suits and gay jokes, such as Walliams' fey British prime minister acting like he has a positively giddy crush on the US president (Harry Lennix).’


‘The series is augmented by the strains of canned laughter that come across as forced each time one of the location bits falls flat.’

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People who dislike it because they claim its 'offending' seriously have a lacking sense of humour.

Lighten up people. It's just a show. And a damn funny one at that.


This article sums it up rather well.


I have never really liked Little Britain that much - unlike other catchphrase-oriented sketch comedy like The Fast Show, its menagerie of characters are practically zero-dimensional, while neither Matt Lucas nor David Walliams possess the acting ability nor the wit to make any sketch anything more than hammed-up pedestrian predictability. Virtually every comic element in the series is borrowed from another (vomiting old lady - Mr Creosote from The Meaning of Life; Marjorie Dawes - Pauline from The League of Gentlemen; people in fat suits - Russ Abbot was doing that fifteen years ago, for fuck’s sake). Add that to the simplistic crassness and toilet humour and you end up with something that’s not very funny, the odd surreal sketch from the first series notwithstanding.


Now, not being funny is no crime, but LB is much worse than that. There’s the sheer inevitability of what will you’ll hear from anyone trying to defend the show’s crassness - that it’s postmodern-faux-ironic, knowingly self-aware in its offensiveness, that it’s satiring homophobia/misogyny/racism, and if anyone’s offended by the poor taste, the joke is on them. If you’re thinking of adding a “come on, lighten up, see the funny side” comment along these lines - don’t bother. That kind of excuse has been knocking about for ten years, if not more, to justify any form of culture which is offensive to some particular group, from Marilyn Manson to South Park. Of course, for this argument to work, then the offensiveness has to be nuanced in some way; there has to be some sort of subtext or different level of alternate meaning conveyed. Problem is, Little Britain has none of this, although that doesn’t stop it from trying to hide its true ugly nature.


In fact, it desperately tries to wear its right-on attitude on its sleeve as much as possible, such as the attempt to paint Marjorie Dawes as a bigot, with her thinly-veiled patronising racism aimed at the Asian member of her slimming group. However, the moment Ting Tong, the mail-order Thai bride played by Matt Lucas, appears on the screen, the pretence to sophistication vanishes. Ting Tong is nothing more than the pathetic flogging of another crass racist stereotype - yellow makeup, dodgy buck teeth and an inability to pronounce one’s “r”s and you have a winning formula. It’s interesting to note that while Spike Milligan’s browning-up in Curry and Chips and The Black and White Minstrel Show have now been consigned forever to TV Hell (accompanied by lots of self-congratulatory back-slapping), Little Britain gets away with away with the exact same kind of thing. If you think I’m over-reacting, then consider this - is it any way likely that Matt Lucas would have instead dressed up as a Pakistani, put on a “goodness gracious me” accent, and done a sketch about arranged marriages?


However, I don’t want to go down the line that it’s the viewing public’s fault for willingly taking it. Although it’s interesting to question why, generally, racism against South East or East Asians is less controversial than that against South Asians or blacks, overdwelling on “the mob knows best” reasoning leads to an easy excuse for any kind of behaviour; it’s intellectually lazy and panders to apathy and conformism as the final arbiter of quality or taste, and is just as invalid when someone tries to justify the commissioning of all those awful 1970s sitcoms. Matt Lucas and David Walliams didn’t have to create that character, if they didn’t want to. They clearly did want to, and this makes them as much casual, ignorant racists as the characters they lamely try to send up.

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Hmm the main issue I have with Little Britain is not that it's crude, not bothered by crudeness it's just that this show is not funny. If it was crude and hilarious, I would love it.


You came back here after all this time just to say that??:P

You must be really incensed about it, then!!:rolleyes:

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