Little Britain

Little BritainAndrea suggested that I check out the BBC sketch comedy series Little Britain. She said it was funny, but also crude. She had no examples to delight me with how amusing it was, but she went to some length to gross me out. She’s like that. I don’t have much tolerance for this; I’m still freaking out over the 5 seconds of “two girls one cup” that some coworkers tricked me into seeing. (I have been told it gets much worse, but defecating into a cup is more than enough for me.) Little Britain has nothing this disgusting, although it does have, for example, painting with feces.

I got bored and checked out the series. I found it quite amusing and there was really nothing offensive in it. But it doesn’t stay that way, which I want to discuss. Matt Lucas and David Walliams create an amazing array of characters. In fact, for the first couple of episodes, I thought there were four actors. Matt Lucas is so convincing as a woman that when he plays a transvestite, they put a mustache on him. One of his impressive female characters is Marjorie Dawes, a woman who runs a “Fat Fighters” meeting. She uses her position to belittle the members, mostly for being fat even though Marjorie is too, but also an Indian woman, Meera, who speaks perfect English but who Marjorie claims she can’t understand. The following video is a good example of how Little Britain uses the same joke over and over but still manages to be funny; this is a compilation of interactions between Marjorie and Meera:

As awful as Marjorie is, there is a distinct difference in her character starting in the second season. She becomes so mean that, for me anyway, it stops being funny. The second season pushes the comedy to a new (and for me lower) level. Quite suddenly, Little Britain is filled with crude humor. Suddenly, every episode has at least two vomiting scenes. We get to see an adult man breast feeding from his mother and grandmother. A very lazy romance novelist in the first season, Dame Sally Markham, turns into Bubbles DeVere, an obese woman who uses her sexual “charms” to avoid paying for time at the Hill Grange Health Spa. All of these bits are funny at times, but there is far too much gross for my tastes.

My understanding is that the series only got more popular as it got more harsh and disgusting. I don’t claim to speak for the masses. But I do think the first season is well worth checking out.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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