“Little Britain USA”
Sundays at 10:30 p.m.
.5 out of 5 Stars
“Life & Times of Tim”
Sundays 11 p.m.
3 out of 5 Stars
What do a British sketch comedy and an animated short titled “Angry Unpaid Hooker” have in common? Not much. They both disregard boundaries, but only one succeeds in its execution.
In HBO’s most recent endeavor, the network premiered two offbeat comedies different from the usual crop of sitcoms. “The Life & Times of Tim” is a cartoon created for the fans of “South Park” and “Family Guy,” while “Little Britain USA” explores the differences between Brits and Americans.
“Little Britain USA” is a spin-off of the BBC’s successful “Little Britain,” and is rumored to have Paul Rudd, Vivica A. Fox and Sting as guests later in the season. Original “Little Britain” case members Matt Lucas and David Walliams bring their British characters to experience American traditions. Through their colorful characters, Lucas and Walliams comment on how Americans and Brits are different while poking fun at American culture. With critically acclaimed guest stars and a unique concept, you’d think “Little Britain USA” could be smart and hilarious, but something definitely gets lost in translation.
In 25 minutes, the show failed to elicit even a half smile; the only laughs heard were from the show’s laugh track. The English are known to have a dry sense of humor, but after seeing a police sergeant get a boner from his gun collection, that assumption is no longer valid. The sketches are far from dry and witty — they’re just crude. “Little Britain USA” is unimpressive.
Part of the show’s concept is to mock iconic American practices and stereotypes, but it does a poor job executing that. Picking the most popular American stereotypes (everyone is fat and Americans love guns), Lucas and Walliams take the easy way out by relying on innuendo and profanity. Even Tom Green — the master of infantile humor — could come up with wittier material.
Prostitution and rape aren’t laughing matters, but the politically incorrect cartoon “The Life & Times of Tim” touches on both taboos in a humorous light. Creator Steve Dildarian — the brain behind the Budweiser lizards campaign — doesn’t think anyone or anything is off limits.
The show has a similar premise to CBS’s sitcom “Worst Week,” except it’s original and actually funny. Tim (voiced by Dildarian) is a young professional who always manages to get involved with people who put him in compromising situations that either make him look pitiful or demented. Unlike the lead on “Worst Week,” you feel somewhat bad for Tim when he’s rumored to have been raped by a bum because he’s the innocent victim to a joke that went awry. However, when it’s revealed that a bum didn’t rape Tim, the show crosses the line when the cops force him to do just that.
“Life & Times of Tim” has potential, but needs to know when enough is enough. Unlike many other comedies, the show takes some risks. Though it lacks the intelligence of “South Park,” its brazen attempt to push the envelope deserves praise in a time when countless sitcoms rely on fart jokes and name-calling.
HBO halfway succeeds in its attempt to premiere two new shows. “Little Britain USA” has the potential to set itself apart from other comedies, but fails at every level. The show’s humor is so immature that even a 10-year-old wouldn’t find it funny. On a brighter note, “The Life & Times of Tim” at least has a few funny moments, even though it takes some subject matter too far. HBO’s new comedies don’t exceed rival programs like Showtime’s “Weeds” and “Californication,” but “Life & Times of Tim” is putting it on the right track.