Matt Lucas as Mark, David Walliams as Tom
When fans of the wonderfully offensive sketch comedy Little Britain heard that the dastardly duo of out comedian Matt Lucas and partner-in-crime David Walliams had been picked up by HBO for a Stateside version of the series, most wondered if the at turns scathing satire and juvenile, potty-mouthed rebellion of the original conceit would lose any of its bite, wit, or nastiness in the translation.
To answer the question, with the help of recent emigre Carol Beer, "Computer says no."
This Sunday Little Britain USA lands on HBO with a plop, a wheeze, and a hysterical giggle, bringing with it a dozen or so of the original series’ favorite characters and introducing a host of new, wholly American creations. AfterElton.com got a sneak peak at the first three 30-minute episodes and also had the chance to speak with funnymen Lucas and Walliams about the task of making their many creations work for a very different audience.
For newcomers, here are the basics: Little Britain USA takes a look at the many types of people that make up our great country, from the perspective of two Brits who play about fifty or so characters of various size, gender, national origin, and disposition. Through a series of unconnected, recurring vignettes, the show gives something of a picture-postcard tour of the American landscape … albeit a highly deranged one.
Lucas and Walliams at the TCA
As far as American characters go, we’ve got Bing Gordyn, who was the eighth man on the moon and intends to tell everyone he meets about it; Phyllis, a woman whose King Charles Spaniel, Mr. Doggy, uses his powers of persuasion to make her do terrible things; Mark and Tom, two overdeveloped gym buddies who seem a little too comfortable with one another; Ellie-Grace, a little girl who spouts off terms learned on the Internet to the horror of her doting mother; and Mildred, a Southern grandma who shares incredibly inappropriate details of her youth with her young grandson.
But it wouldn’t be Little Britain without a keenly British sense of humor, and to that end the creators have also opted to cart an assortment of their greatest hits Stateside to get their perspective. Welsh gay Dafydd Thomas is no longer "the only gay in the village", as he has come to the U.S. for college … where he of course insists that he is "the only gay on campus", despite all evidence to the contrary.