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January 5th, 2007


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02:01 pm - Are you 'avin a laugh? Is he 'avin a laugh?!
Hooray, BBC America's about to start showing the second series of Spaced next week! I'd stopped watching after they started programming nothin' but DIY shows and Footballers Wives back to back, but god damn I'd take time out of my busy schedule for one of my most favorite situation comedies ever ("Tim, I'm not going to buy you porn. You can get it from railway sidings like everybody else." "I can't, I'm an adult. I'm supposed to leave it there.")

Apparently Simon Pegg and Nick Frost's next series will be "La Triviata," about pub quiz teams. This kind of thing, however niche, could easily be adapted to a US bar trivia crowd, I'm sure, but we'll have to wait and see. The next movie from the Shaun of the Dead team is Hot Fuzz, I think I've already mentioned it looks great (the trailer is a spot-on parody of cop action movies, just a little too spot-on) and we're looking at an April release date in the US.

All this ought to make up for the admittedly well-done but ultimately disappointing second (and final) series of Ricky Gervais' Extras. Don't get me wrong, the "When The Whistle Blows" show-within-a-show was a terrific parody of every dumb, crass and puerile sitcom you've ever had to endure, but the show really strayed too far from its Season One roots -- a show about two hopeless professional film extras in search of their big break. When Ricky's character gets his big break, hooray, it's a nice payoff, but the second season deals with that break and it just wasn't the same. However, the irreverent celebrity cameos were still funny so there's that going for it.

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[User Picture]
From:giantfightbot
Date:January 5th, 2007 07:30 pm (UTC)
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I tried watching the first series of Spaced and I just couldn't get into it. I dunno, maybe I wasn't in the right mood for it.

Currently listening the heck out of the Ricky Gervais Show on both podcast and the archives of old xFM shows.

Though really, the later episodes should be the Karl Pilkington Show. Him and his enormous head, guest-starring Stephen and Ricky.
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From:derspatchel
Date:January 5th, 2007 08:11 pm (UTC)
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Spaced took some getting used to. The opening sequence of the first episode is very confusing if you go in without any idea of the characters -- the shots of Tim outside on the street breaking up with his girlfriend up in the window intercut with the shots of Daisy shooing away a bum on the street from her window-- at first I thought "Is this going to be a series about a relationship where we watch the breakup first and then see everything before?"

The series definitely gets better the further you get in. The episode in the second series where Tim leaves his job at one comic shop (because he's giving kids shit for buying Jar-Jar Binks characters) and goes to work for the competing comic shop is great.

I can't remember if that's the episode where we learn Tim was so disillusioned by The Phantom Menace that he burned all his Star Wars memorabilia, Jedi funeral pyre-style (with a snippet of the John Williams score in the background), but that's another great scene too.
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From:jossish
Date:January 5th, 2007 07:47 pm (UTC)
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Noooo, the second series of Extras is full of brilliance! Admittedly, I came to the second series first, which may have coloured my judgement. But seriously, when David Bowie is singing? Housemate and I literally fell on the floor and cried with laughter.

Tragically, the parody sitcom was actually much funnier than most real sitcoms showing here.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:January 5th, 2007 08:00 pm (UTC)

Tick tock, alarm clock, I'm going to be late!

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David Bowie was one of the best parts of the second series. See his pug-nosed face, pug! Pug! Pug! Pug! And I think I nearly hyperventilated when Daniel Radcliffe flung the condom at Diana Rigg and had to ask for it back.

But I started with the first series, and I got to like the characters and their situations and how they were struggling folks in an unusual career. When Andy got his break in Series 2 (the direct opposite of David Brent, going from top in Series 1 to bottom in Series 2) it was cool, but the sitcom-development show overshadowed the original series intent. It could have been its own backstage series, and I'd have enjoyed it. I missed Andy and Maggie's conversations while sitting around on the set, and when they finally brought some of that back, it was almost too late.

The parody sitcom's shining moment (besides the spot-on credits sequence and catchy theme I still can't get out of my head) was the incredibly offensive moment where they sang the Ching Chong Chinaman song as "traditional entertainment" for the Japanese investors. It was horrible, it was offensively racist, it was a cheap laugh, it was everything I hate about lowest common denominator sitcoms, and I must've rewound and watched it about five times in a row.
[User Picture]
From:jossish
Date:January 5th, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC)

Please may I have my prophylactic back... Dame Diana...

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I wonder how much of it gets lost transatlantically - like in the BAFTA one, I feel like you'd probably know who Ronnie Corbett is, but surely you don't really know Moira Stuart? Unless you get ITV News out there, which I would think is unlikely.

(I forgot her name and had to look up the episode which reminded me of Ian McKellen's episode which was The Most Brilliant Of All. His 'graph' of acting is making me laugh just remembering it. )
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From:derspatchel
Date:January 5th, 2007 08:22 pm (UTC)

...but it's too late, I've seen everything. I've seen it all.

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There's a lot that I didn't immediately get, but understood once I did a little research. Moira Stuart is a good example, and I got the joke when I learned of her reputation. I enjoy doing that kind of legwork.

The same kind of thing happened on Spaced when Daisy had her school flashback in the style of the Grange Hill comic-book title sequence. I wasn't familiar with the series, but I'd heard the theme before (probably while going thru nostalgia TV sites; at least one encompassed both US and UK kids' shows) and when I looked into the show, I saw the original title sequence and had to admit that yes, that was a pretty brilliant ref they made there.

My favorite Extras moment was Patrick Stewart's movie idea about a guy who has psychic powers but uses them primarily to remove ladies' clothing. The way he earnestly but skeevily explains the concept to Andy was brilliant.
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From:limax
Date:January 5th, 2007 07:50 pm (UTC)
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The only time I tune past BBCA is when they happen to be showing Benny Hill or Whose Line is it Anyway? They come on late enough here that the kids are already in bed. All the 'good' shows come on too early in the evening here.
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From:derspatchel
Date:January 5th, 2007 09:18 pm (UTC)
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Benny Hill and I share a birthday, and that's pretty much where the similarities end. Though I wouldn't mind a bevy of bikini girls who show up the minute we hear a goofy saxophone tune.

I'm glad the network recognizes good shows, though; I grew up enduring too many years of the high-brow PBS showing the low-brow Are You Being Served? as if it were the shining definitive example of British comedy. I've enjoyed the range of comedy BBCA has played in the past six years I've had the channel, from I'm Alan Partridge to Black Books.
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From:jimmystagger
Date:January 5th, 2007 08:13 pm (UTC)
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I know you're not insulting Footballer's Wives. It's not Dream Team, though...

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