BBC America: Please Play More British Sitcoms

Lately, it seems as if the BBC America channel has turned into the Top Gear and Gordon Ramsay Channel, with a little Doctor Who thrown in just for kicks. It's appalling. Though reality television is increasingly popular, there are some who still like fiction.

Watching British sitcoms is like stepping back in time, or getting a postcard from that time period, or another place. Their humor is timeless and distinctly British. Take, for example, Monty Python's Flying Circus. That show as well as its subsequent films and specials have been beloved by generations of people across the globe. (Who hasn't laughed at "Olympic hide-and-go-seek?") The same is true of other British sitcoms such as Mr. Bean, which has been broadcast worldwide and made into both a cartoon and two feature films, My Family and even Absolutely Fabulous - anytime Edina goes down the stairs.

The fact that the BBC, which boasts "the biggest names in British television," isn't showing the legends of British comedy such as Jennifer Saunders of Absolutely Fabulous, Adrian Edmondson of The Young Ones, Monty Python's Flying Circus's John Cleese, and countless others is like not showing I Love Lucy, Seinfeld, or Friends on a UK-based television station that plays only imported U.S. sitcoms. They are part of British pop culture, which Americans seem to adopt.

If something's funny, it should be able to translate well across any cultural barrier. The Office is a good example. While the British version is written by Ricky Gervais (who plays David Brent), the U.S. version is produced by Gervais.

It would be nice to see some of the more recent sitcoms, such as Miranda, a comedy about a socially awkward woman who works at joke shop. And we'd like to see reruns of French and Saunders, which pokes fun at Madonna and other cherished pop culture icons such as Titanic and Baywatch.

The BBC America needs to air more sitcoms. Look at how many British shows have been adapted into hit American television shows: Steptoe and Son (Sanford and Son), Till Death Do Us Part (All In the Family), Man About the House (Three's Company) and even Whose Line Is It Anyway. Likewise, American television has spawned many British remakes such as That 70's Show (Days Like These), Married.....With Children (Married For Life), The Golden Girls (The Brighton Belles) and Who's The Boss (The Upper Hand).

While some of these adaptations weren't successful, it still shows the cultural exchange that both British and American television share. It would be nice if BBC America would show more of that exchange.

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Christina Lynn
Contact: Christina Lynn