Cole Moreton: These Limeys may be too slimy for the States

Share
Related Topics

We have stood shoulder to shoulder through times of war and crisis, but now the special relationship between Britain and America faces its biggest challenge yet. Can it withstand Little Britain USA? The show starts there tonight on HBO, but advance screenings have had the critics howling with dismay and indignation.

Shoulder to shoulder? Like a man startled by his neighbour at the urinal in a Little Britain gag, America is staring down at us and saying, "Oh my God! Is that for real?"

Matt Lucas and David Walliams have not, it is fair to say, taken a subtle approach in their attempt to conquer the New World. There is piss. There is puke. There are penis jokes a-plenty, as the LA Times pointed out: "They are everywhere: in the skit about the petulantly gay prime ministers and his attempts to 'seduce' the American president, or the one with the law enforcement officer whose erection grows ever larger as he shows off his gun collection, or the bikini-line-trimming friendship between steroid-maimed locker-room buddies."

If you're a fan of the show thinking that description is mistaken, it isn't: Sebastian Love, former aide to the Prime Minister, has now been elected leader himself and gets a bit too friendly in the Oval Office. Which seems to be a real problem for some Americans. A black president they may be ready for, but a gay one? No. They seem to like their homosexuals safely camp and cute, not invading the personal space of "ordinary" people like the Commander in Chief.

Some people, it seems, are taking all this as a direct insult to all they hold dear. Who are these goddam Limeys, anyway, to make fun of the fine office of the president? Or the Great American Cop? Or his gun? Or jocks, those sporting icons beloved of the nation? They're outta line!

The new, all-American characters are the really contentious ones. Otherwise, familiar faces have been relocated to new settings Stateside, but their behaviour is pretty much the same. It's crude, the critics are saying. It mocks stereotypes. Er, yes. That's why people here loved Vicky Pollard, because she was filthy and stupid but also horribly truthful.

It is a high-risk strategy, going over there and taking the mickey out of them – and not ourselves, in the usual look-at-us-quaint-Brits way. They don't try it here. When Joey bought a union flag hat from Richard Branson in the execrable episodes of the otherwise mighty Friends set in London, the joke was on American tourists, not us. (There is a link, by the way, because David Schwimmer – or Ross – is directing some of the sketches. There are a few example of American stars relishing the chance to go further than their audience normally allows. Rosie O'Donnell, for example, allows herself to be asked by Marjorie Dawes of Fat Fighters: "Were you a lesbian before you were fat or did you become one when you were fat because no men wanted you?")

Even Homer Simpson, when he came over, made of the Queen in an affectionate and respectful way: she didn't have Hillary Clinton's tongue in her ear. The Americans wouldn't dare do that. But that's their mistake, not ours, because if they had we probably would have laughed.

Back at the urinal, Britain and America will still be standing shoulder to shoulder after tonight. But we'll be looking at our shocked neighbour, saying: "Yeah, it's for real. Gross, isn't it?" And laughing. Because that, Mr President, is the difference. We can laugh at ourselves. On this strange little eccentric island, what other choice have we got? Now, give us a kiss....

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Workers clean the area in front of the new Turkish Presidential Palace prior to an official reception for Republic day in Ankara  

Up Ankara, for a tour of great crapital cities

Dom Joly
Rebekah Brooks after her acquittal at the Old Bailey in June  

Rebekah Brooks to return? We all get those new-job jitters

John Mullin
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future