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July 28, 2014

British comedy

Spaced on Hulu! Now you have no excuse to be uninformed

by Annie Wu, posted Jul 24th 2009 1:03PM
Spaced
Hulu has been making all the right, super-sweet moves lately, at least in my book. Not only is the site streaming the marvelous British comedies Peep Show and Green Wing, but now Spaced is on Hulu, too. Spaced! You can tell I'm excited because I put an exclamation mark on it. The show has been available on DVD in the States for quite a while, but now that both seasons are online, there really isn't any excuse to not experience it. Is it obvious that I have a weird, almost evangelical need to spread the word?

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Sketch Comedy Saturday: Monty Python's Flying Circus

by Annie Wu, posted Jul 11th 2009 2:05PM
monty_python
I was going to save this extra-classic show, Monty Python's Flying Circus, for the later part of the Sketch Comedy Saturday series, but I just had to do this in light of recent, super-exciting news. As I hope most of you know, Monty Python will be having a reunion. Sure, John Cleese and Graham Chapman won't be there (for two, completely different reasons) but it will still be nice to see Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam get back together, right? Magic always happens when there's more than one Python guy around. Except that time John Cleese and Michael Palin tried to do "The Parrot Sketch" on Saturday Night Live a few years ago. That was just weird.

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Spike Jonze and David Cross take on British comedy

by Annie Wu, posted Jun 23rd 2009 9:04AM
david crossThere's no doubt that the names Spike Jonze and David Cross usually belong on the quirkier side of the entertainment world, but I still never would have expected something like this. Apparently, the two have created a comedy pilot for Channel 4. That's right: a British comedy.

The show, called The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret, will be co-written by Cross and Shaun Pye (you may know him as Andy's smarmy nemesis on BBC/HBO's Extras) and star Cross, Will Arnett and Spike Jonze.

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Sketch Comedy Saturday: Little Britain

by Annie Wu, posted Jun 20th 2009 5:48PM
little britain
For some strange reason, I was initially compelled to start this installment of Sketch Comedy Saturday with "Never fear, Little Britain is here!" I suppose there was a need for a campy intro. Then, I realized that there are actually plenty of things to fear in Little Britain: Matt Lucas wearing really tight shorts, old women violently projectile vomiting on everything in sight, more Matt Lucas wearing really, really tight shorts ... Really, the horrifying list goes on.

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Peep Show's on Hulu... No, not that kind of peep show

by Annie Wu, posted May 30th 2009 10:02AM
Peep Show
I recently -- and giddily -- posted about Hulu.com's inclusion of Channel 4's Green Wing, one of my favorite programs. Hulu is definitely on my good side right now, as they also have the first season of Peep Show online now. Those of you that don't have this in your list of British comedies to conquer, you should. Now. I mean, once you get over David Mitchell's extra-weird, giant, almost-black eyes, it's pretty enjoyable.

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Fox says "no, sweetie darling" to US AbFab

by Allison Waldman, posted May 14th 2009 5:27PM
ab fab duoRemember that American version of Absolutely Fabulous that Fox was so high on? Well, they are high no more. Fox has passed on AbFab after viewing the pilot. Now while I am not the kind of person to be happy about someone else's failure, this is an instance in which I'm thrilled that this show is going nowhere.

After seeing how some UK shows have been mangled in the American adaptation -- Life on Mars (although it had its fans), Worst Week, Coupling, Eleventh Hour -- I am glad that the only Ab/Fab I will ever have to savor will be the original.

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Americans! Green Wing is on Hulu!

by Annie Wu, posted May 11th 2009 6:29PM
Green WingYou guys, you guys (Americans, specifically)! Green Wing is on Hulu! Exclamation mark!

All right, let me back up. I am a British comedy nerd. Some of you more eagle-eyed readers may already know that one of my favorite shows is something called Green Wing, which aired on Channel 4 way back in 2004. It's one of those programs that perfectly blends the quickness and quotability of sketch comedy with the engaging story arcs of more traditional sitcoms. There is no laugh track (thank goodness) but a beautifully quirky score that heightens the comedy instead of fighting with it. Plus, it's just plain snazzy.

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Original IT Crowd finally comes to America - VIDEO

by Annie Wu, posted Aug 15th 2008 8:04AM
The IT Crowd
After years of reaching US audiences as only a series of forwarded video clips and teh internetz, the original Channel 4 British sitcom The IT Crowd is finally coming to American TV. The IFC Channel has picked up the series and will begin airing it September 29.

I had to make an extra point to specify that this is the UK IT Crowd and not the NBC remake starring original cast member Richard Ayoade and Joel McHale. No, no, that project is still dead. As much as I love Ayoade and McHale, I couldn't help but feel a little relieved that the show didn't take off. I'd rather get my fix from Garth Marenghi's Darkplace and The Soup than see them attempt to tip-toe through that dangerous territory of American remakes.

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Add some geek love to the IT Crowd set - VIDEO

by Annie Wu, posted Aug 13th 2008 8:02AM
IT Crowd
The script for the IT Crowd's third season has just been completed, and folks from the show are looking for some help to dress up the set. Calling all geeks with decent knowledge in pop culture! If you've never seen the show before, it's basically the geekiest show about IT guys in the history of British programming. "Did you turn it off and on?" is a recurring joke, so that should say enough.

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Good news and bad news for Spaced

by Annie Wu, posted Mar 3rd 2008 7:00PM
SpacedLet's start with the good news, because I like ending on a downer. American fans of the British comedy Spaced, starring Simon Pegg, Jessica Hynes (nee Stevenson), and Nick Frost, are in for a treat because the Spaced Region 1 DVD finally has a release date! Expect the good stuff to come out July 23 of this year. I'm tempted to buy it just because it's something new, shiny, and Spaced-related, but I already splurged on the 3-Disc Collectors' Set and a region-free player that I got just so that I could watch the series. Why, yes, I am a sad little person.

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Spaced's Edgar Wright is pissed, and rightfully so - VIDEO

by Annie Wu, posted Nov 5th 2007 2:01PM
SpacedWhen I first heard the news of an American Spaced remake, I was outraged, just based on principle. How dare McG touch one of my favorite shows of all time? How dare he even entertain the very notion? "For shame, McG," I thought, "For shame." I then proceeded to the nearest Best Buy, where I collected all the copies of Charlie's Angels and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle and set them alight. I was then banned from entering any Best Buy ever again, but I think I made my point clear.

Spaced director Edgar Wright recently updated his blog with his own thoughts on this situation and now I'm even more upset. The gist is this: McG and FOX are planning to remake Spaced. Director Edgar Wright and writers/stars Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson were not contacted before the decision was made to pursue an American version. They will not be involved in the same fashion as the way Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant worked with NBC's adaptation of their creation, The Office.

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The Office's free love freeway lives on - VIDEO

by Annie Wu, posted Jun 26th 2007 3:38PM
Free Love FreewayI am so incredibly giddy about this news, I don't even know where to begin. As a hardcore fan of the original The Office, my heart fills with glee whenever I see a mention of the show or one of the cast members. It's not that I want a third series, I just still need little things to guide me through this four year case of withdrawal. Heck, I spent the entirety of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy being the only girl who wasn't swooning over Johnny Depp or Orlando Bloom because I was so happy to see gangly, wooden-eyed Mackenzie Crook onscreen.

Well, good news for anyone else who is still in need of some Office love. July 1st's Concert for Diana in London will feature a multitude of stars to celebrate Princess Diana's life. Among those stars will be Office stars Ricky Gervais and Mackenzie Crook, performing "Free Love Freeway" before introducing Sir Elton John.

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Stephen Merchant: In the Limelight - VIDEOS

by Annie Wu, posted Apr 4th 2007 5:21PM
Steve MerchantThe other day, I watched the latest season of Extras again and laughed just as hard as I did during my first viewing. It was also during this revisitation that I realized Stephen Merchant, who plays Andy's annoying agent, is still seriously under-appreciated. So, I did the only thing that a little blogger like I can do... Dedicate an "In the Limelight" profile to him.

Merchant was one half of the writing and directing team behind the original The Office. He appeared in the show as the Oggmonster only one and a half times (once during the Red Nose Day episode and another time as a voice over Gareth's speakerphone), so it was only natural that his writing and directing partner, Ricky Gervais, got all the attention as the star of the show.

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Richard Ayoade: In the Limelight

by Annie Wu, posted Mar 29th 2007 3:02PM
Richard AyoadeLast year, after multiple recommendations from my English friends, I got around to watching a few episodes of The IT Crowd. Unfortunately, it failed to live up to all the wild hype generated by my buddies, but something did stick in my mind... The crazy-haired, nasal Moss character, played by Richard Ayoade. There was something wonderfully weird about him and, since I was so intrigued by his strange voice, I decided to look him up. Well, as it turns out, his usual voice is really that weird and nasal, which just made him a million times more better in my mind. In fact, Ayoade's the only cast member who has been carried over from the original version of The IT Crowd to the American adaptation, reprising his role as Moss.

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Are You Being Served? star John Inman dead at 71

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 8th 2007 1:22PM

John InmanI have to admit that I've only seen a few minutes of Are You Being Served?, even though it seems to be on my local PBS station every other day. I don't know, I just never get into some British comedies. Sure, Monty Python and Fawlty Towers are shows I love, but some of the sitcoms I've never really given a chance beyond an episode or two.

But even I know who John Inman was. His face was unmistakable. Inman was one of the stars of the classic British comedy that was set in a department store. He played Mr. Humphries, whose catchphrase was "I'm free." Not sure of the context of that catchphrase, but Inman was voted both the "Funniest Man on Television" and BBC TV's "Personality of the Year" in 1976.

Inman died in London earlier today from complications of Hepatitis A.

[thanks to Jon for the tip]

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