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Hoses of the Holy in the Parallel Universe

October 17, 2003

US version of Dinnerladies

I loved Dinnerladies, a strange experience for me (liking a British comedy), but there were some fantastic lines, especially the aphasia type ones, where she would think of an entirely inappropriate word instead of the one she was looking for.

The fatal flaw with a lot of British comedies is the have the writer as one of the stars. It's like tying one hand behind your back. You get some success, but then the writer/star doesn't want to do it any more (John Cleese, Victoria Wood, Ricky Gervais) and you're left with just the 12 or 16 episodes for the rest of time. Then in the case of some of them, you wish they'd stop doing more (Absolutely Fabulous) because it wasn't funny anymore after the first few.

A US version of dinnerladies would be set, not in a canteen, but in a top restaurant or coffee shop. Everyone would be gorgeous. The Victoria Wood character would be played by Courtney Cox. Nobody would nip out for a fag. Instead of toast and a cuppa, they'd serve coffee and muffins. Instead of Dinnerladies, it will be called Friends.

It was ironic when they re-exported Coupling to the US, since it was obvious Coupling was a failed attempt to do Friends in the UK. It's like playing babelfish translations or Chinese whispers with comedy formats. I mean, wasn't the Royle Family a sort of version of Married... with Children? Which itself was probably an update of the Archie Bunker US version of Till Death Us Do Part. Which was probably based on that Jackie Gleason thing.

In the end, everything is just revolving around or reacting to I Love Lucy and the Dick Van Dyke Show.


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