I have friends that swear by BritIsh humor. As someone who loved “The Young Ones”, there is a decent amount of it that I not only get but that I also respect. The biggest problem I find is that British humor is such that if you don’t keep up with it, then when you come back into it (especially with a different show as I did with Little Britain: The Complete First Season), you can find yourself lost. Sadly, this is the state I was in while watching this show.
I guess my fundamental problem is that I honestly have no clue sometimes as to what is funny. American humor leads you in certain direction. I am very used to this. British humor is a bit more upper crust and if you aren’t able to get the nuances, then you will most likely find yourself confused about why something is funny. This show, which is an over the top look at the all the weird and “eccentric” people that inhabit a “surreal parallel universe” in the UK, only had me laughing in the parts that I understood. Sadly, since I am not coming to this show with any reference (so I am obviously not a fan), all the material on here left me wondering why am I laughing? Or, shouldn’t I be laughing more?
This isn’t to say that Little Britain: The Complete First Season is either good or bad. It just is a certain style of humor that if you are in tune with is probably hilarious. If you aren’t then you end up like me, parsing through all the information trying to figure out where the laughs are.
Pilot Episode and Deleted Scenes
Fans of this show are going to be beside themselves with the amount of supplemental materials being offered on this 2 disk set. In my opinion, the Pilot Episode really wasn’t too much different then the regular episodes that I had seen. This comedy is so dependent on the way words are inflected, or the looks and reactions of other characters that unless I followed this show with a fine tooth comb, I don’t know that I would ever notice that much of a difference. The deleted scenes have the same problem because in my opinion, what didn’t make it into the final episodes could just as well have.
Interviews and Commentary Tracks
Interviews with Matt Lucas, David Williams and Jonathan Ross among others. Truthfully, I didn’t notice too much of a difference between the interviews and the commentary tracks. These guys seem to always be on. They go out of their way to infect their viewers with their brand of humor and slyness. Had I been more well versed with this show, and had I been more open to this type of humor, I think things would have gone better for me. As a result, I found these guys to not be unlikeable, but also, not anybody I would want to spend any real length of time with.
Character Playlists and Sketches
There are playlists for all the main characters but the material just seems superfluous. Where do the sketches stop and the analytical material begin? Isn’t that the point of the extras? To further expand upon the ideas broached in the context of the main material. With sketches like “What Does Britain Mean to You?” and “How to Make a Little Britain”, the latter was actually my favorite of all the pieces on the disk. I was just happy to finally find something that I was able to follow, even if it was only in a cursory sense.
Again, I went into this already not into the concept of humor that they were going to be putting across. So I think it’s safe to say that I was already predisposed to not like Little Britain: The Complete First Season. That said, the fans of this show are really in for a treat.
Presented in 16:9, this show has a very washed out look to it. I am not really sure how else to describe it. I just didn’t go for all the costumes or for how “out there” this show seemed to try to be. Even The Young Ones, which was made years ago, looked better then this. I guess the best way to describe this show would be “busy.” There is so much going on, so much happening that I just wasn’t able to really follow along and as a result was left out of the joke.
Stereo. Okay, my complaint here is really more of a cultural one then it is anything else. I just had a very hard time hearing what the people were saying. Even with the subtitles activated on my DVD player, things moved at such a quick pace that once I read half of one thing, the words on the screen would disappear and the show moved on to something else. Again, this is a cultural thing. As an American consumer of TV, I am used to the setup. Whereas British humor seems to be all about the punch line, with the subjects and the surroundings being the setup in and of themselves.
There is a lot of white on this cover with the characters from the show standing on a British flag that I believe is also doubling for the country of Britain. Just looking at this cast of characters on the cover, I knew this show was going to be a hard pill to swallow. The back features some clips from the show, a general description of what the shows are about (another red flag, for me anyway), a special features listing and some minor technical specs. This two disk set comes economically housed in a regular DVD case and as a result won’t take up too much space in a prospective collectors collection.
This show just seems like an improv in a drama class that has gone on too long. Having taken 4 years of theater in High School, and also spent my fair share of time around actors, I can tell you when I think the joke has gotten old. Little Britain: The Complete First Season, as a show suffers from the fact that I think their jokes and sketches get old very quickly. The fact that this show is comprised of these short sketches, only underscores it’s inability to hold my interest. I like my comedy shows to have have a plot. To be telling a story that hopefully goes beyond comedic antics. Yet, when it does that it never strays from the comedy entirely.
Sadly, I just think that Little Britain: The Complete First Season, is a show that is so hellbent on being funny and outrageous that it precludes real audience involvement. So, maybe I am just an ugly American, but I just didn’t get this show. There are obviously people that do and those are the people who should buy this DVD.
Little Britain was released .