Summer can be a rough time of year. It’s hot outside, the neighborhood kids are out of school and terrorizing us, and most of the good TV shows are on hiatus. Usually, this drives us to watch summer dramas which get us hooked and then leave us hanging for a year (not pointing any fingers…The Killing!). But, if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, there are a bunch of great foreign comedies worth checking out, most of them available online or on DVD. Here are 10 suggestions.
10. Spaced- It’s hard to believe that foreign actors did other things before we claimed them as our own. Before Simon Pegg became a big name in the States for Sean of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, he starred in Spaced, a comedy about two losers who have to pretend to be a couple to rent out an apartment together. Why did they have to pretend to be a couple? Well, apparently there is one conservative left in England, and she happens to be their landlady. Like Pegg’s other projects, the plot is pretty out there, but still very funny.
9. Peep Show- If you’ve ever wanted to get inside some weird dude’s head, Peep Show is the show for you. Created by well-known British comedy duo David Mitchell and Robert Webb, Peep Show takes us inside the heads of the ill-at-ease Marc and his overconfident roommate, Jeremy, who spends his time working on crappy music tracks, which he thinks are genius. The show is narrated by their thoughts, which are often odd and out of touch (or normal, I guess, if you’re a dude). These thoughts then lead them into all sorts of trouble.
8. Skins- It may seem weird to include Skins on a comedy list, because we Americans are used to teenagers being associated with endless, mind-numbing, unrealistic drama. But unlike our teen dramas, which are filled with 20-year-old actors in expensive clothing, Skins actually stars regular teenagers and follows their adventures as they blow off school and their parents in search of a good time. Every two years, a new group of kids takes over, sparing us from following the same few story lines forever. The U.S. tried making their own version, but despite the fact that it was a complete, line-for-line ripoff of the original, U.S. Skins failed miserably. Apparently, the American public feels that teenagers are far too young to portray themselves.
7. Whites- There is a reason that we never go to restaurants and ask to be seated near the kitchen. Usually, there is all sorts of dysfunction going on back there that no one wants to eat around. It does, however, make for a great TV show. Whites takes place in a hotel restaurant run by executive chef Roland White (Alan Davies), who cares more about narrating his autobiography than actually being the boss. He usually leaves his sous-chef, Bib (Darren Boyd), to fend for himself and take charge of the incompetent employees while White hides from his manager and the hotel owner in his office.
6. Black Books- How stressful could running a bookstore really be? Well, if you’re Bernard Black (Dylan Moran), a nihilist cynic who hates everyone, I guess the customers would start to get to you. In each episode, Black’s lack of management skills put his business on the line. Luckily he has coworker Manny (Bill Bailey) and neighboring shop owner Fran (Tamsin Greig) to help him out. Otherwise, he would just lock himself in the store and drink all day.
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