(Ria Tesia is a writer living in London, giving us her take on pop culture from across the pond.)
It has been a busy time here in the UK, as an increasing number of British and US talent cross the pond to gingerly dip their toes into foreign waters. It is always interesting to see how home-grown talent performs abroad and last week was no exception as Stateside Brits hogged the headlines with varying degrees of success. The big story was Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes. His caustic brand of humour saw him fire a plethora of insults as he singlehandedly managed to offend Hollywood’s glitterati. Taking pot-shots at Charlie Sheen, Angelina Jolie and Robert Downey Junior, Gervais crossed the boundary into dangerous territory with his cringe-worthy performance. You cannot insult Johnny Depp and Bruce Willis and get away with it. Gervais’ firebrand strategy to shock and awe led to his disappearance for an hour during the filming break. Oh what I’d give to be a fly on the wall of that room where Gervais undoubtedly received a dressing down from stunned Golden Globe bosses. The tainted silver lining to Gervais’ nasty cloud is that his comments ramped up a record-breaking number of hits for the show (I guess it’s all good in the name of show business).
As Gervais threw caution to the wind with blatant disregard for his celebrated audience, Piers Morgan appeared on the other end of the spectrum, showing that us Brits can be polite and incisive without degenerating into petulant vilification. After taking over Larry King, Morgan had big shoes to fill and he certainly didn’t disappoint. Morgan erred just on the right side of fawning respectability. His Oprah Winfrey segment was a fun ego massage to watch whilst his easy manner made his interviews come off like a seamless chat. (As did his post-Globes interview with Gervais.)
David Crane’s offering as the American abroad, was the icing on the cake. Best known for Friends, Joey and The Class, the powerhouse producer’s latest offering is Episodes, a light, satirical drama starring the superb Matt Le Blanc, Steven Mangan and Tamsin Greig. The tight script and slick production will undoubtedly prove to be the jewel in the crown for the BBC which commissioned this fantastic, watchable series.
David, welcome to these shores of British television and I hope that the next series is in the offing (sooner rather than later please)..!