TITLE: This Country
STARRING: Charlie and Daisy May Cooper, Ashley McGuire
PRODUCTION COMPANY/DISTRIBUTION/COUNTRY: BBCii!
RATING: 🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕 of 5
WHERE CAN I SEE IT? Hulu
It took two recommendations from Britons for me to finally watch This Country.
Based on the title and description, I didn’t want to fall into the trap that I found myself in with Little Britain. You know how you can be bumbling along enjoying pop culture and then, during one particular episode or skit, you realize, “I shouldn’t be laughing at this. It’s really fucking mean.” But by then you’ve already bought the box set and recommended it to other people. Which makes you the asshole.
My theory is that Little Britain got mean because it’s creators, David Walliams and Matt Lucas got too famous and too sloppy in their comedy. They also seemed to disdain the characters they created with little room for finding them endearing. But based on interviews with Daisy and Charlie Cooper I’m guessing they really took to heart the writers edict, “Write what you know about.” Writing about two rural wasters is pretty much who they were before Daisy upped sticks, got a place at the prestigious acting school, RADA, and let her brother tag along to sleep on her floor.
A problem, I find, with comedy is that it’s hard to relate examples from a show that strike one so funny. This Country’s premise is the same as that of the U.K. version of The Office (the funniest version of that show): a BBC film crew has gone outside its usual London-centric orbit to film. The show is a mockumentary meant to illuminate how young people feel marginalized in rural areas, this time to the Cotswolds. It features many of the same inside-joke-gazes to camera that break the fourth wall as if to say, “Can you believe what I have to put up with?” when each character is actually as bizarre as the next.