With lead actors playing so many different parts that the Pythons themselves would be proud and humour so offensive that even the team behind South Park would probably back off a bit, Little Britain is one of my favourite British comedy shows.
For those of you not in the know, Little Britain is basically a look into the lives of several not-so-ordinary British people and the several quirky ways in which they go about their day. With some bizarre narrations by the always eccentric Tom Baker added to the mix, where could you go wrong?
The show primarily stars comedians Matt Lucas and David Walliams as dozens of peculiar characters of different ages, genders and even races. These characters include Andy Pipkin (Lucas), a man who pretends to be crippled and makes odd requests to his caretaker Lou Todd (Walliams); Vicky Pollard (Lucas), a fast-talking chav stereotype; Sebastian Love (Walliams), aide to the British prime minister (Anthony Head) on whom he has a massive crush; Daffyd Thomas (Lucas), a homosexual who stubbornly believes he’s the only gay in a small village in Wales, but is constantly proven wrong; transvestite Emily Howard (Walliams), blissfully unaware of how nobody believes “he’s a lady”; Carol Beer (Walliams), a rude and unhelpful receptionist; Marjorie Dawes (Lucas), a cruel woman running a weight loss group where the members are constant victims of her fat jokes; Anne (Walliams) a mentally retarded girl who acts inappropriately everywhere in public, with zero objection from the doctor at her asylum (Lucas); Bubble deVere (Lucas), a wealthy morbidly obese woman who enjoys to revoltingly flirt her way out of financial trouble and Mr. Mann (Walliams), a chap making increasingly insane requests to the owner of a local shop (Lucas).
The list goes on and there’s several characters I’ve yet to mention, like the actor so tiny you can hardly see him, the man who still breast feeds at 21, the eccentric owner of a Scottish hotel, the Thai mail order bride, the manipulative stage hypnotist, the student councellor who insults the appearance of all her students, the guy who falls in love with his friend’s grandma (irk..) and of course, the lady who vomits everwhere as soon as she hears anyone mention anything about black people or lesbians. There’s even more than that, certainly, but trying to fit them all into my text would create far too long a post, so what do I think of the show as a whole?
It is true that some jokes (in fact it’s pretty much the majority) rely solely on the characters’ catchphrases and several rehashed premises, but the sketches maintain a certain charm that make them enjoyable and amusing non-stop. Part of what makes the show so lovable and watchable is probably the fact that all the characters are played by the same two men. If that wasn’t the case, I think I wouldn’t have been able to rewatch Little Britain as often as I do.
Picking a favourite out of all these weird and outrageous characters is difficult but if you were to hold a gun to my head and ask me to give you an answer in 2 seconds, I’d probably have to pick Sebastian. I just love watching his desperate and not exactly subtle attempts to win the prime minister’s affection, without the prime minister ever figuring out what’s going on. Anthony Head’s performance and the way he works off of Walliams is just great.
The show got an American spin-off in 2008 titled Little Britain USA, taking place in the land across the sea and introducing new characters such as an old man who won’t shut up about being the 8th man on the moon, a little girl who knows too many swear words for her own good and a travelling couple that has seen better days. Did the new setting stop Walliams and Lucas from playing all the parts? No way! Even though the humour didn’t have as much of a British, Monty Python-esque feel to it as in the previous seasons, the spin-off was still fun to watch and hopefully we’ll see the duo return to these characters at some point in the near future. I’ve seen bits that new show they did that was basically The Office at an airport and my only comment is: stick to Little Britain, gentlemen.
Little Britain is mean-spirited, offensive and relentless in how it dishes out at just about every potential target there is. In other words, this is definitely a show for me. Check it out! You might just agree.