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by Alison Willmore
October 16, 2012 5:06 PM
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Can Brit TV Rom-Com 'Gavin & Stacey' Translate Its Charm Into an American Remake?

Mathew Horne, Joanna Page, James Corden and Ruth Jones in 'Gavin & Stacey' BBC
While UK shows are mangled into unsuccessful U.S. versions often enough that there's a whole comedy -- Showtime's "Episodes" -- based on the premise, occasional such reinterpretations catch on. The U.S. "The Office" created a world and characters that stand on their own apart from Ricky Gervais' original, and "Shameless" and "Being Human" continue on in American/North American versions that, while not necessarily the equal of the shows that preceeded them, certainly have strong followings. (And on the reality side, plenty of transplants, from "Antiques Roadshow" to "America's Got Talent" and "The X Factor," are thriving.)

But it's hard to see the BBC series "Gavin & Stacey" doing well in a U.S. adaptation, one of which is now in the works at Fox, according to Deadline. David Rosen, the creator and executive producer of the late MTV series "I Just Want My Pants Back," will write the script in what will be the second attempt at adapting the show -- the first took place in 2009 at ABC.

The original "Gavin & Stacey," which was created by James Corden and Ruth Jones (both of whom also play supporting roles in the show) and ran from 2007-2010, charmed in part because its approach never felt particularly episodic. It's a romantic comedy about how Gavin (Mathew Horne) from Essex, England, and Stacey (Joanna Page) from Barry, Wales fall into a long distance relationship and bring their quirky friends and family with them, and the normalcy of its main characters is striking. They awkwardly hook up for the first time in a hotel room with their friends in the adjoining bathroom, they fight over where to live and fret over wedding plans and past relationships, and their aspirations seem very within reach (its their best friends, played by Corden and Jones, who shoulder more of the comic responsibility).

The whole series currently consists of 19 episodes with no immediate plans for more, but a U.S. incarnation could easily run through that in a single season, meaning the progression of the main relationship would either have to be padded out or extended into the future in what would presumably be a more typical fish-out-of-water domestic scenario. It's not impossible to imagine, but "Gavin & Stacey" certainly benefits from its relatively limited runtime, and transforming it into a more static sitcom would take away one of the brightest facets of the original.

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2 Comments

  • Robin | October 17, 2012 12:31 PMReply

    The transition almost never works but who knows, it's worked like 2% of the time so you never know. I just wish they would keep their hands off of Misfits.

  • george | October 16, 2012 6:29 PMReply

    Don't we have a similar idea with "Mike & Molly", and we used to have "Dharma & Greg". Having grown up in the UK, then moving back to the US... I agree there's usually something lost in translation. The US and UK are divided by a common language, and it doesn't always go well.