I had some issues with Little Britain USA when it debuted, but I don’t think I mentioned some of the positive aspects of it that I’ve noticed more in the second episode of the series. There are a lot of good things about it that American sketch comedy programs could learn from this show’s example, and it has nothing to do with naked Bubbles DeVere. That part I could have done without.
One of the best things about Little Britain USA is the pacing. This show is excellently paced, especially episode two. Since they’ve set up some of their recurring characters in the first episode, they can breeze right into those recurring sketches without a lot of palaver. This balances out really well with the new characters they introduced this week, making the show flow a little bit better than last week.
That’s actually one of the things this show does worlds better than American counterparts. On Saturday Night Live, the closest thing to Little Britain we have that isn’t made by Matt Lucas and David Walliams, the sketches tend to drag on and on, while in Little Britain, I guess because it’s done on tape and not live, they can get the skit set up, do the jokes, and get them out without much delay. Characters never seem to overstay their welcome.
Knowing when to wrap up a skit and how to not overuse characters is crucial. I, for one, was glad to see that the Gym Buddies weren’t present in this episode, as their gimmick is one that won’t hold up to multiple viewings. Carol Beer was back, which is good as she’s one that can show up every episode and maintain her bite. George and Sandra, the bitter married couple, are back as well and funnier than ever. Vickie Pollard also gets to make her American debut, this time being plopped down in a girls’ boot camp in Utah to try and reform herself.
Maybe it’s because this episode itself is less awkward, but the laugh track this week is significantly less obtrusive than it was last week. It’s more natural-feeling (or maybe I’m just more used to it now). I know I got more than a few chuckles out of this week’s show, and the half-hour seemed to pass much faster this time around. It feels like the show is starting to come into its own.
Of the new characters added to the program for the American version, I think my favorite thus far has been Phyllis Church and her pet, Mr. Doggy. Mildred, the 28-year-old grandmother is also shaping up to be a great character. Those are the only two we’ve seen more than once, but they’re also a source of pretty impressive laughs as their gimmicks haven’t gotten stale even after the debut. Phyllis is particularly laugh-worthy, thanks to Walliams’ facial expressions and dueling voices.
If the show continues improving at this rate, there’s going to be a second season of Little Britain USA for me to watch and review. Granted, that’s depending heavily on the ability of other Americans to get the show and its style of humor, but if you can’t laugh at a naked fat woman, what can you laugh at?
Read Ron’s review of the first episode here.