Comedy Does Not Always Travel Well

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all-in-the-family

Some shows travel well, mainly US adaptations of UK comedies such as ‘Till Death Us Do Part’ becoming ‘All in the Family.’ In part, it is the actors who make the show a hit.

Another major factor is that the audience can see the humor; a good case is the Swedish series Fallet; the series is about two inept police officers, one from Sweden and the other from the UK, trying to solve the killing of a British citizen on holiday in Sweden.

To most British viewers, the humor will be lost in the opening episode when the Swedish officer says she is in pursuit of Olof Palme’s killer, and in trying to apprehend him, she kills him.

I can hear viewers in the UK saying, who is Olof PalmeUnless you are into crime/politics/mysteries, you will have no idea who Olof Palme was or why the killer is so important. Prime Minister Olof Palme is to Sweden what JFK is to the USA, shot in 1968 as he left a cinema in Stockholm. To this day, the assassin has not been found.

If you need to think about the jokes, the humor disappears quickly. US comedy does not always do well coming to the UK. A good example is when they tried to transport The Golden Girls from Florida to Brighton.

The actresses involved in the UK version were well-known and respected, but the USA’s cultural influences are not the same as those in the UK.

To me, the question is not so much who killed JFK; for me, it was the man on the knoll. Lee Harvey Oswald was, as the Americans would say, a “patsy.” A man set up to take the fall, that is why he was killed by Jack Ruby, who died shortly after, so he couldn’t talk.

The question for me is, who paid for the hit?

There were so many possibilities; I can name several, including both families, the CIA, the Army, even Lyndon Johnson, the Vice-President who was about to be subpoenaed for misuse of part funds.

To me, the people who can be ruled out are the Russians, as they had more than enough troubles with their satellite countries to want to cause more.

To laugh at a joke, the crossover humor has to be instant. Another type of comedy that fails is humor set in a period, as I witnessed when I revisited the series Drop the Dead Donkey, set in the late 1980s. The jokes were not funny; always having one character telling everyone to ignore him, then getting in the way does not help.

This is one reason I have not opened my first season of the series Soap the hit US comedy of the 80s. I may find it not as funny now.

I have seen shows from many countries, and some I cannot get into; as far as I can see, Germany has little humor, and as Danish comedy is Germanic in nature, I find it hard to see the funny parts. Swedish humor can be fun, as the movie Kopps shows. The film is about a group of inept police officers who need to create a crime wave in their area to keep their jobs.

One series that I cannot imagine is funny; it starts with a Mounties officer accidentally shooting his horse in front of a group of children.

I like French humor, and I am now getting into some funny films from Spain. One is called La Communidad and is about a lady trying to hide a lottery win from some flats block tenants. The other is a film called Spanish Affair. The humor here is about the differences in culture between Basques and Andalusians.

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