Little Britain: One of the most sneering, cold-hearted, nasty little shows ever seen on British TV

So said Barbara Ellen of the The Observer, Sunday 19 June 2011. Little Britain is ending and she is rejoicing.

“One of the most sneering, cold-hearted, nasty little shows ever seen on British TV,” said Barbara.

I want to laugh at good humour but I too had noticed that Little Britain seemed built upon snobbery and mocking of our society’s most vulnerable.

I found that I did identify with the frustration one feels when confronted with a ‘job’s worth’ unable to respond to reason, represented on the show by the person who repeats, “The computer says no.” But Barbara has been more observant than I.

More quotes from Ms Ellen

Rewarding middle-class, educated, comedy workaholics for lampooning people without any of their advantages, struggling on the margins of society – was this where we’d come to, a boorish festival of exploitation and contempt?

Walliams once gave an interview saying something to the effect of how he found “inspiration” just looking around ordinary streets and seeing funny little people leading their funny little lives. Hmm. One wonders why he didn’t just look around the private members’ clubs he frequented, where there were plenty of “funny little people”– specifically, vile media prats.

Speaking of the charity swimming of Mr Walliams she says:

Then again, how much swimming would a comedian have to do before they were cleansed of the karmic stench of having a hand in creations such as Vicky Pollard, who alone gave certain sections of the media a label for the disgust they love to express towards young girls spiralling downwards, due to poverty, illiteracy and teen pregnancy. By my calculations, that’s a lot of front crawl.

Perhaps you are wondering why I find this interesting? I find it intersting that Barbara Ellen did not just laugh without thinking, but she felt the moral disgust that she was being asked to mock the weak and vulnerable. Am I always as thoughtful I wonder?

See the whole article here.

3 thoughts on “Little Britain: One of the most sneering, cold-hearted, nasty little shows ever seen on British TV

  1. Miss Ellen had it totally wrong though. You were supposed to laugh at thestupidity of the snobs. She also misunderstood David’s quote. He was talking about being an outsider himself, not looking down on regular people. Also she left out the fact most of the show contained upperclass not lowerclass characters…

    • Humour is always a matter of opinion, and I am sure many would agree with the points you make.

      I still feel challenged that Barbara Ellen did not just laugh without thinking. I am still left wondering how often I am less thoughtful than I would like to be.

  2. What a very interesting take on a popular show. I too dislike it, but for a slightly different reason. From the bits and pieces I’ve seen the show includes upper-class characters as well, including a family in which an adult male is still breast-fed by his mother.

    In each scene it appeared that the humour was not coming from some new joke or clever use of language, but a repeat of the same punch-line, over and over again. For instnace, varioutions of embarrassment when a stranger sees the adult male being breast-fed.

    This seemed to me to be a very lazy style of comedy. It was, in short, nothing less than structured ridicule. If base ridicule is all the program-makers can manage then maybe it’s best for them to make way for some more talented comedy writers.

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