…By Henry George for TDPel Media.
According to Joe Thomas, one of the stars of the original British sitcom “The Inbetweeners,” the US adaptation failed because it did not cast “weirdos.”
The American version of the show, which aired on MTV, was canceled after one season in 2012 due to low ratings and negative reviews.
Thomas, along with former co-stars Simon Bird and Blake Harrison, discussed the show during a panel at Comic Con North East in Newcastle.
During the panel, a fan asked Thomas why the US adaptation had missed the mark.
He responded, “I think we can say it didn’t work.
I think the reason it didn’t work is because… I think it’s a very British show.
It’s ironic because actually in a way we were bouncing off that American genre of teen comedy.
They did it first and we were riding on their shirt tails or whatever.
There’s a sense of loserdom and failure in British comedy that kind of is represented in The Inbetweeners.”
The US version of “The Inbetweeners” had some notable credentials, such as Taika Waititi directing the pilot and Brad Copeland, known for his work on “Arrested Development” and “My Name is Earl,” as the writer.
However, according to Simon Bird, who played Will in the show, it was too glossy, and the cast was considered too handsome.
Joe Thomas agreed, stating that they should have cast “weird looking people” to capture the essence of the British original.
Other Failed British Sitcom Adaptations
“The Inbetweeners” is not the only British sitcom that failed to succeed in the US.
Here are some other examples:
“Gavin and Stacey”:
An attempt to adapt this beloved British sitcom resulted in a single series called “Us and Them” commissioned by Fox but never released.
It eventually found its way onto the streaming service Crackle, but there was no second series.
The pilot episode of the US adaptation is available on YouTube, but fortunately, it did not progress beyond that stage.
“The Thick of It”:
This British political satire failed to move past the pilot stage.
Creator Armando Iannucci described the pilot as boring, lacking the swearing and improvisation that made the original series successful.
While a series was produced, the explicit sexual nature of the show sparked controversy among US audiences, leading to its cancellation.
The British school comedy ran for four series on Channel 4 but only managed one season in the US.
Critics found it clichéd, and it was quickly canceled by NBC.
Upcoming US Remakes of British Sitcoms
Despite the history of British adaptation failures, US producers continue to attempt remakes.
Some upcoming projects include the US version of “Motherland” with Ellie Kemper in the lead role and the production of “Friday Night Dinner” starring YouTube star Daniel Thrasher.
Additionally, there are plans for a fifth attempt at creating a US version of “Peep Show,” which has been greenlit by FX and will feature Minnie Driver and Amandla Jahava in the cast.
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