May 2001
Being British

By Scott D. Southard (Los Angeles)

Being British

I’ve decided I want to become British. This is not an easy decision and I’ve taken a lot from this country, but I’ve reached the final straw. No, it has nothing to do with last year’s election (Even though, I, like a majority of Americans, disagree with what happened); And, no, it has nothing to do with the recent surge of teen pop sensations (But I must admit they did give me a nice nudge). No, for me, the final straw was TOM GREEN.

Yes, Mr. Tom Green - Writer, director and star of “Freddy Got Fingered” - has convinced me to leave this continent. Ok, before someone points out the obvious that Mr. Green is Canadian let me assure you I’ve taken that into consideration. It was still Americans that believed he should be on our television and it was Americans that gave him the resources to make his first film. The Canadians may have created him, but it was our fine country that made him filthy rich.

So why England, do you ask? Well, I have reasons too numerous to state. Let’s start with Literature. They had Shakespeare, Dickens, and Austen; we have King, Grisham and Steele. Their writers are studied and analyzed all across the world. Our writers fill the cheap rakes of airports and are used by many to define a person’s level of intelligence.

Music? Pick up a list of the top-ten pop songs and see if you don’t grimace. There is Spears, Backstreet Boys, N*Sync and other such noteworthy acts. The British gave us The Beatles. The Beatles! And, not just them (Even though that would have been enough to put any country in the forefront of music), today some of the best music is coming from our over seas’ friend. A great example is the revolutionary Radiohead and my personal favorite vocalist and lyricist, Beth Orton. TV? One of the great things to happen to me over the last month was the arrival of BBC America on my cable. I highly recommend you ask your cable company for it, if you don’t have it. While we point to “Will and Grace” as supposedly good comedy, they point to “Red Dwarf” and “Black Adder.” While we make mini-series like Scarlet, they make classic mini-series based around classic novels (Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice to name a few)… And get this, when they adapt a classic for television, they don’t change the story or the characters!

And when it comes to film comedy England truly outshines us. We just can’t compete. Let’s start by looking at some of the big comedy moviemakers of the last few years. The Farelly Brothers? Well, no one will ever state that they are the kings of wit. I think they would be at a loss if God didn’t give us flatulence (I can probably sneak both “Nutty Professor” films in there too). “American Pie?” Not exactly the most original work (On a personal note, I’m allowed to be bias against this film since the screenwriter wrote about my hometown)…. It would be too easy to bring up “Dude, Where’s My Car” and “Joe Dirt” right now too, right? Their comedies (A Fish Called Wanda and The Full Monty) get nominated for Oscars, our comedies feel all the nominations at the Razzes.

The British gave us Monty Python, in my opinion the Beatles of comedy. In an interview on another website, Tom Green tried to compare himself to Monty Python. Well, Mr. Green can believe what he wants, but Monty Python never played with animal carcasses and bit off umbilical cords with their teeth. Mr. Green, you are no Monty Python. Granted, there are moments that Monty Python could go extreme (Like, Mr. Green, I have no problem with making my reference point Monty Python and the Meaning of Life), but the Python boys would always surround their humor in a fashion that did not spark of realism. Oh, yes, they were going to surprise you and sometimes disgust, but it would never be in a way that would feel like our world. It was the world of Monty Python. It is that fact that Tom Green doesn’t get. Monty Python doesn’t exist in our world. Their characters don’t intermingle with us. When Mr. Green is touching an animal in a personal manner, it is a real animal. When he hits a child with a car, it looks like a real child (By the way, all these things I mention do take place in his film). Monty Python had at least the intelligence and decency to step back and laugh at themselves and to make sure you could tell it wasn’t real.

So after turning off MTV and burning my paperbacks, I’ve decided to say good-bye. Soon I will be walking down the banks of Stratford-Upon - Avon, drinking tea, and eating crumpets… Well, is it ok, if I take Britney Spears with me?!