Monday, July 7, 2008

Do Americans understand Foxy Morons?

As cringe-worthy as it is, Kath & Kim has become engrained in our national culture because there are so many truths in it. Don't tell me you haven't watched it and seen a bit of your mum/sister/daggy uncle/neighbour or heaven forbid, yourself, reflected in it. How then, will it sit with the Yankees? Obviously they wouldn't understand the original, considering a fifth of them can't even locate their own country on a map (thanks, Boston Legal), or name a country beginning with U (thanks, Chaser), so the chances of them "getting" the Aus version are pretty slim. As slim, say, as Selma Blair ,who plays the "chubby" American Kim:

I'm not completely convinced that ye olde muffin top will be making an appearance in this series. And, gosh Kath looks SO wacko, man. Gumnut earrings? I think not. Ok, in all fairness most Americans probably wouldn't wear gumnut earrings, but series (serieses? series'?) like Kath & Kim work in societies that, in the mainstream, can laugh at themselves. Unlike, for example, Americans, who generally project an image of being so self conscious about being "perfect" that regardless of how poor/deranged/in the shit a character in movies/tv shows are meant to be, they still have new outfits each scene, they're above-average looking at least, and everything turns out ok in the end. The US version of The Office is, at best, horrific. Britons have enough self-deprecating irony and dry sense of humour to make it work. Americans, apparently, do not. At least the stars are prepared for the inevitable onslaught. Says Blair: "Some people are really protective and horrified that we're doing it in the United States. It's a case of, 'How could you? Oh my god, you might ruin it'. But what's to ruin? You're still going to have your great show in Australia - we're just paying homage to it. Nothing takes away from the original." Fair call, but I guess the general question in Oz is: why? Why do they want to adapt something so Osstralian and try and mould it to fit their own culture? I guess it was over in the States where Ugg boots first became fashionable, rather than simply comfy slippers as originally intended.

The writers of the US Office needed to rework the show so the jokes were obvious. Perhaps they considered some hilarious pie throwing incidents. It's so far from the UK Office that you have to wonder why they bothered anyway. And can you imagine an American Sharon? Nope. And thus it is clear: if Americans can't appreciate the humour of the original, then why develop another?

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